Dr. Daryl Rich of Core Chiropractic

10 Habits of Healthy, Lean People

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10 Habits of Healthy, Lean People

Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.
[CORE] Chiropractic and Wellness

Study after study shows that people who are regimented about their diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle have the greatest fitness outcomes. They are leaner, healthier and have more energy than their less predictable counterparts. They do the same things every day and create rituals around healthy behavior. You don't have to understand or even believe in these principles but simply emulate them as close as you can to be effective.  Small improvements consistently followed and given enough time can make huge changes in your body and overall health.


Everyone sleeps, but not everyone reaches the point of restfulness. During sleep the body restores and rebuilds muscle, burns fat and resets hormones to prepare the body to be energetic, motivated and ready to make good healthy choices the next day. When we get little sleep, we are more likely to use stimulants and sugar to get us through the day, and may forgo exercise because we are too beat.

Your optimal sleep times start at 10:30pm so make sure you are in bed before then.  If you have trouble falling asleep look to a gentle supplement called GABA for some help.  If you have trouble staying asleep a 2-5mg dose of Melatonin may be a good remedy.

Eat Breakfast

This is a no-brainer. Eating in the morning will get your metabolism revved up for the day. Even though you may not feel hungry in the morning, skipping breakfast (and perhaps opting for a lone coffee instead) will make you hungrier later, less motivated, less energetic and it’s almost guaranteed you will consume more calories and sugar later in the day. Eat larger portions at breakfast, filling up on protein, fruit, and old-fashioned oats to keep yourself satiated for longer and give you an energy boost right out of the gates.

Try these healthy pancakes, they are so moist, you won’t even need syrup!

In a blender, mix the following:

1/2 cup liquid egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (dry)
1/4 cup almond flour
1.5 scoops vanilla whey protein powder                                                
1tsp ground cinnamon

Dash pumpkin pie spice

Blend well and pour into PAM-sprayed saute pan, and make like pancakes. Makes 3 large pancakes (3 servings).  Each pancake has 19g of protein and only 16g of carbohydrates, YUM!

Weight Train

Cardio alone will not cut it, literally. Cardio alone may get you bigger or smaller, but you will stay the same ol’ shape– weight training is the #1 way to change the shape of your body. Besides, there is only so much cardio and calorie-burning you can do in a day.

Do Metabolic Conditioning style weight-training (rest-based), short-duration and high-intensity, to increase hormones that help burn fat long after your workout is over.

Try 20 minutes of intervals on the recumbent bike with a moderate to high resistance interval levels.

Perform a 5-min warm-up and then:
20 sec at level 18, 40 sec at level 1
30 sec at level 16, 30 sec at level 1
40 sec at level 14, 20 sec at level 1
60 sec at level 12, 60 sec at level 1
Repeat the above intervals 3 more times until you complete 20 minutes

Adopt Lean "Dining-Out" Etiquette

First, make sure you can eat fairly healthy where you decide to go– this rules out Golden Corral, Bojangles, and any pizzeria, among others. Second, decide what you are having before you get there– if it’s lunch, you are having a grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the side. If it is dinner, you are having a lean piece of chicken, steak or pork with green veggies only. You get the point. It will still feel like a treat because someone else is making it and serving it! Third, before it even comes, ask them to not bring the breadbasket. Yes, this can be painful but luckily, it only lasts a second! Do it! , no soda– try sparkling water with lime or water with lemon.  You will have better luck fulfilling these steps a local restaurant but if you are on the go and need a chain restaurant try Chipotle or Moe's.  Do the bowl and not the burrito and hold the sour cream and cheese but get the extra guacamole!


Sounds like common sense, but walking should be part of any fit lifestyle. It may be tough to take a 60-min walk on a weekday, but every weekend should include at least 1-2 long leisurely walks. You will be amazed at how rejuvenated it makes you feel.

Taking a walk after dinner can help you lose weight, and not just because walking burns calories. According to one Mayo Clinic study, light, post-meal exercise—like walking—can lower your blood sugar and prevent your body from storing fat. Don’t have time for a walk, you say? Not a problem. As long as you keep moving after you eat, you will reap similar benefits. Even doing the dishes or completing other household tasks can help.

Eat An Early Dinner

Experts have gone back and forth on whether eating late leads to weight gain, but a recent study published in the journal Obesity found a solid link. Northwestern University researchers looked at the eating and sleeping patterns of 52 adults and found that those who regularly ate after 8 p.m. ingested the most calories and carried the most body fat. An easy-to-follow rule of thumb: Stop eating four hours before you hit the sack. Then, while you sleep, your body is better primed to burn fat instead of creating more.

Limit Prolonged Stress in your Life

A certain amount of stress is good for us to live efficiently. Too much stress…well, you know the answer.  When you stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes abdominal fat storage. If you find yourself overwhelmed in your work or personal life, try incorporating stress-reducing activities into your day. Join a yoga class or go for a jog, and when you start to feel stress coming on, pause and take deep breaths.

My recommendations for helping control stress:

--regular exercise
--laugh often and don’t take yourself too seriously
--learn to relax by using tools such as music, deep breathing, walking, massage, meditation, etc.
--have a grateful attitude
--focus on positives and not negatives
--disassociate yourself from negative energy vampires in your life

Eat To Keep Blood-sugar Level

A great goal of any eating plan is to avoid spiking your blood-sugar.  Spiking your blood-sugar leads to fat gain, insulin resistance, and increased inflammation.  

Here are two ways to keep your blood-sugar level during your day:

A. Eat Protein With Every Meal

A study in Nutrition Metabolism found that dieting participants who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their overall diet ate roughly 450 fewer calories throughout the day and lost about 11 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. Eating protein increases lean muscle mass,     which keeps your metabolism running on high.  Protein also keeps you full, making you less     likely to overeat or eat carbohydrate laden foods. For maximum health and weight-loss benefits, aim to include protein in all of your meals and snacks. The best options? Lean protein sources like fish, eggs, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.

B. Eat Snacks

Snacking sometimes gets a bad rap, but planning good snacks throughout your day can actually keep you skinny. A recent study released by the Nutrition Journal found that consuming low-sugar, high-protein snacks promotes weight loss. The reason: Healthy snacking keeps your blood-sugar from spiking, preventing hunger pangs, cravings, and body fat storage. An ideal snack choice? Nuts. The balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats is sure to keep you satisfied between meals.

Be a Beverage Snob

Soda is on the way out; you heard it here first. Regular sodas rot your teeth, spike insulin and enhance fat storing. Diet sodas containing artificial chemicals, make you hold onto water, displace water consumption and increase sweet cravings. Make yourself some beverage rules:

  1. Drink 2-3 liters of water per day.

  2. Drink a plain, green tea in the afternoon (to help burn fat)

  3. Alcohol on the weekends only and choose red wine if possible.

  4. No soda? Remember drinking urine is safer than drinking soda! Just look at the ingredients. I am telling you, stop the soda, increase water intake and watch yourself shed a ton of water and get your sugar cravings under control.

  5. Avoid the healthy imposters too.  Fruit juice, milk, and sports beverages are all laden with copious amounts of sugar.  Avoid these at all costs.  

Supplement Savvy

Supplements can be very useful once you get the diet and exercise pieces in line. They are not a fix all though, you have to have the healthy eating component implemented as well.  Supplements like fish oil, Vitamin D3, L-tyrosine, L-glutamine, Whey Protein, and GABA can all be an important part of your overall health plan.  Talk to Dr. Rich in what supplements might help you the most and how best to take them.

For sure, you don’t need fat burner supplements, weight loss pills, or multi-level marketing programs to get results. They don’t work long-term. Spend your hard-earned money to buy whole, natural foods and simple supplements to give you the sustainable path that you need.

BONUS - #11

Get a healthy, managed meal plan and comply with it at least 90% of the time --  If you are trying to burn fat and lose weight,  a plan is critical.  A written nutritional plan, a weekly menu, a common healthy grocery list, and healthy recipes are a must for someone trying to change their dietary behaviors.  You can take the time and sit down with your family and write down this plan.  Tweak it over the next few weeks and then post it on the fridge so everyone sees the new path that has been laid out for the family.

And if you’re in the Southwest Virginia area and considering chiropractic care, call us (540-344-1055) to schedule a consultation at [CORE] Chiropractic and Wellness Center. Our office is located in Downtown Roanoke.

For more information visit us at CoreRoanoke.com.

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