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Fit for Life: Cost-Free Ways to Get Healthier

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Stop drinking your calories

Stop shopping for the whole week
Stop serving family style
Move a little more

Unless you are juicing 100% organic vegetables, I do not advise you to drink your calories. 

Unless you want to gain weight. Even juicing, people get carried away and add too much fruit and calories to their juicing and smoothies. Juicing is a great way to get concentrated nutrients into your system, but it is easy to consume too many calories at one time. I see it daily at the gym, people workout, then hit the smoothie bar and purchase a protein drink loaded with artificial sweeteners, sugars, and all sorts of "add ins". I see graham crackers and Oreos as options. C'mon man…although consuming high calories and simple carbs after an intense workout is beneficial, and absorbed into muscles more rapidly, due to low glycogen stores, I believe quality carbs such as sweet potatoes and brown rice, or quinoa are better choices for sustained energy. Even sport drinks and low calorie "diet" drinks cause setbacks when you are seeking optimal health and performance. Stick with pure clean water, and you will save lots of money and calories. By the way? Coffee has minimal calories, until you add cream and sugar, so keep that in mind. 

Stop buying in bulk for the whole week.  

Just stop it.  Go back to times when we put thought into our meals and stopped at the market a few times a week – a bag at a time – that way you aren’t loading up on things that tempt you – even if you want them, tell yourself, oh, I’ll buy them the next time I come in – and then, don’t.  Try doing this and I think you’ll find that in total you will spend less, eat healthier, and get some exercise, too.  And please don’t even think about the big box discount food places.  Avoid at all costs. I find that marketing – stopping at a fresh air market – roadside stand – specialty store – also helps transition from work to home – good for your mood and mental health, too.

Eat with your family, but don't eat "family style". 

It is very difficult for anyone NOT to overeat when there are large bowls of food on the table in front if you, especially if the food is delicious. It is very easy to grab an extra spoonful of potatoes, rice, meat etc. if it is within reach - and wham! - 150 extra calories that you didn't need nor wanted – and you just ate it because it was available. Instead, always plate the food in the kitchen, and leave the remainder in pans on the stove. Place 1/2 plate with vegetables, 1/4 with wheat-free grain, 1/4 with your protein - and serve. Save the leftovers for a healthy lunch tomorrow. Or you could serve buffet style – try being the server for your family as they come up to the counter, so you can control portions, especially for children who may have eyes bigger than their stomachs - or bigger than their stomachs should be eating.

Move a little more.  

Always free and always beneficial. Let's face it folks, it gets really easy to be inactive with all the luxuries we provide ourselves. We sleep, hopefully for 8 hours, then sit for breakfast, sit on the way to school or work. Sit at work, sit for lunch, sit for dinner, sit and watch TV, then the cycle repeats itself. I say break the cycle. Wake up do some stretches/ push ups/ etc. park a little further away from the door instead of waiting for the front spot.  Take the stairs.  Stand up and stretch every hour. Get on a program and make movement a priority in your day. It stimulates circulation, stretches tight muscles, strengthens weaker ones, and gets you out of a seated slumped over position, saving your posture. Now get up – do it now! - and move.


Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. 


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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