My 8 realistic and not-crazy fitness tips

Yes, it’s kind of cliched to write about ‘motivational fitness tips’ (or according to the blogosphere, ‘fitspo‘). But after two solid months of traveling and jet lag messing up my eating and sleep schedule, I’m ready to get back on the fitness path I was on in New York. If you travel a lot like me, make sure to keep plenty hydrated! Flying really can screw up your metabolism.

So, here are my own personal mandates for fitness.

1) Don’t watch TV after dinner

I am so grateful for DVDs and streaming. Now I don’t have to sit through all the food commercials on cable. Naturally, the more TV you watch, the more commercials you will see. Majority of commercials are for fast food. This will make you hungry. Avoid this.

It became especially bad when I was hooked on cooking shows like Chopped and Iron Chef. It’s probably the worst thing in the world to flip to the Food Network at 10PM and find yourself drooling over 10 different courses of lobster.

Those ihop commercials are the worst. I’ve never even seen an ihop in Toronto but they make me wanna go so badly!

2) Do digestive activities after eating

Either go for a walk, or do some gentle stretching. My favorite is the yoga ‘diamond pose,’ or the vajrasana if you’re one of those crunchy types, which is supposed to aid digestion and manage blood sugar levels. Also, it’s a killer stretch for your knees and ankles. Super easy digestion without even moving!

Diamond pose

3) Drink room temperature or warm drinks instead of cold drinks

Cold drinks go down easier, while room temperature or warm drinks fill you up. This will stop you from drinking your calories. Just imagine how much quicker you’d down an iced venti mocha versus a hot grande mocha. Apparently, cold drinks also keep the fat around your midsection and upsets your stomach’s natural equilibrium. (I used to have acidity problems, which is how I know from experience!)

Watch those after-work drinks! Alcohol metabolizes as sugar, meaning that your white wine translates to a LOT of extra empty calories.

4) Break one sweat a day

This is much easier than it sounds! I always try to get in at least one good sweat somewhere, whether its taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a brisk walk with the dog, or simply doing a 10 minute ab workout from Youtube. (Cassey is my new fave fitness guru!)

5) Drink lots of water

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard this before. But did you know that 37% of people mistake thirst for hunger? Sometimes I’d be halfway through a bag of chips before realizing its because I’m actually dehydrated.

If you’re hungry, drink water first. I’ve got my bottle of room temperature water on hand, always.

6) By the hammer of Thor! Keep a food journal if you must, but don’t count your calories

Tried it, hated it. Also it turns you into some kind of crazy person. “I can’t have this croissant because it has 300 calories!”

Don’t be that person. It’s just plain exhausting – for yourself and the people around you.

If you’re very concerned about eating healthier, I suggest you keep a food journal instead of counting calories. Calories mean nothing – nutrition is far more important. Eat your fruit and veggies!

7) Smaller plates and bowls go a long way

It’s all psychological anyway! A bigger bowl or plate means you want to fill it up, even if you don’t need it. Having a smaller dish prevents you from overeating, and you can always get seconds if you’re still hungry.

Yes, I’ve heard that chopsticks supposedly help you eat less because you pick up less with each bite. Being Asian, this doesn’t work for me. Not by a long shot. But if you can’t use chopsticks, they’re probably a pretty decent diet tool.

8) And finally: be happy! Stress messes with your metabolism big time. Smile!

Got your own fitness tips to share? Put them in the comments!

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