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Of course exercise and eating right are the most important factors. Some of these are hold some weight (no pun intended) as well. I put together a list of what I do to combat these 5 factors and my take on each.
#1 Take Probiotics. Probiotics have received a lot of attention lately when it comes to weight-loss and improving mood. I definitely believe healthy gut bacteria are important to a fully functioning digestive system. I started taking probiotic supplements about a year ago to help *cough* stay regular. I almost never feel bloated anymore. I highly recommend them to everyone!
#2 Eat Organic. The idea of added hormones in our food scares me, especially when it comes to what I feed my son. We try to eat organic when possible especially when it comes to dairy, meat, and the dirty dozen. But then I don't even thinking about it when we are eating out or having a fun treat at home. In my opinion once it a while is ok. It's the stuff you consume every day that matters. Regular healthy habits allow for unhealthy moments.
#3 Banish extra chemicals from your home. Of all the things on the list, this one unfortunately tends to get the least attention. Common household cleaners are major sources of chemical exposure that can lead to an accumulation of toxins in your body. Many are known as endocrine disruptors and interfere with their normal hormone functions. I banished these harmful chemicals from my home almost 2 years ago. We clean, wash dishes and do laundry with natural products. While you can make your own, I found a great brand that a trust to handle it all. I feel like they work better (and smell better) than the homemade stuff, plus it saves me the time to make it (I'm all about efficiency).
#4 Let yourself have the real sugar. I'm all about real sugar in moderation. IF I sweeten my coffee at all, I put in a small amount of real sugar and cream, and then drink water for the rest of the day, and have a Le Croix as a treat a night. As this article describes, artificial sweeteners just make you want to consume more sweet things (in addition to all the other negative side effects that come with some of them). I say either have the sugar or don't, there is no in between.
#5 Find healthy alternatives. Duh, junk food is bad for you! However, if I told you I never ate it that would be a total lie. I do try my best to stick to healthy snacks. My go to snacks are: fruit, cheese, nuts, popcorn (no butter, esp. no artificial butter), and granola.