Most people eat right and exercise with the goal of losing weight. That's a great goal, but weight loss is a long term goal and it takes time. Results are what keep us motivated, it's just human nature, and if you're waiting for weight loss results to do that, you risk losing that motivation and quitting.
Plus, diet and exercise have so many more immediate benefits other than just dropping pounds. Focus on those to stay motivated until those long term results start rolling in.
Exercise boosts your metabolism, both during your workout and after. When your heart rate goes up and your circulation is increased, your body gets the message that something special is happening. In response, your body starts producing neurochemicals. Neurochemicals not only boost your mood, but it also boosts your metabolism. This effect can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and depends on what type of workout you do. Cardio has the least amount of after burn, and strength training has the most, causing you to burn calories at an accelerated rate for hours after your workout is over. Plus, the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism is around the clock; this effectually takes your calorie-burning to an even higher tier.
Regulate Blood Sugar
When we exercise, our body first turns to blood sugar, or glucose, to fuel us. Insulin is a hormone we produce that regulates the amount of glucose in our blood stream. Exercise naturally regulates blood sugar, because it improves your body's ability to use the insulin you already have. For most people, this means a regulation in appetite and energy levels. For diabetics, this means they may be able to rely less on medications to control their insulin levels.
Lower Blood Pressure
There is a reduction of your resting blood pressure for 24-48 hours after exercise, especially for those suffering from high blood pressure. As we age, our blood vessels become less flexible, which raises the pressure at which our blood pumps through those vessels. The hormones released during exercise make those blood vessels more pliable, similar to the way blood pressure medications do, lowering that pressure. You may not feel a difference, but if you suffer from high blood pressure, know that exercise will give your blood vessels a much needed break without meds.
Feel Less Stress
Exercise floods your body with endorphins. Endorphins are your feel good hormones, so when they surge through your body, during or following your workout, you feel like a million bucks: depression and stress levels drop, your confidence skyrockets, and you are better able to handle your day and anything else that may lie ahead.
You would think you'd be exhausted after a tough workout, and while your muscles may want to lay down on the couch and not move, your brain is wired, wide awake. Those same endorphins that give chase away your stress will also give you a boost of energy. Try to find a way to be active everyday to keep those energy levels up.
Calories don't keep you full, nutrients do, specifically fiber, protein and healthy fats. When we eat junk food, which is usually refined carbs that don't have any of those nutrients, our body continues to feel hungry and crave food because it's searching for those nutrients. After a day or two if healthy eating, you'll notice a huge difference in your hunger levels since your body is fueled the way it was meant to be. This is why eating quality foods, not just cutting calories, is so important to your success.
Junk Food Cravings Disappear
Sugar and junk food addiction is real. Any time you introduce chemicals into your body, like those found in processed foods, your own body reacts accordingly. Junk food causes you to crave more junk food. When you clean up your diet, and eliminate those craving inducing chemicals, you will lose your taste for them. Foods you used to love, like ice cream, donuts and fried foods, will lose their appeal. They literally won't taste the same to you. You will have to white knuckle it for a few days while you detox, but it'll happen sooner than you think.
Your Belly Flattens
Belly fat is caused by diet but junk food, especially simple carbs, brings on belly bloat as well. Cleaning up your diet can take inches off your stomach instantly, by getting rid of that bloat. Eating high fiber foods like fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains feed bloating busting microbes in your gut. If you don't eat enough fiber, those healthy gut microbes starve and the unhealthy microbes that live off sugar and bloat you up come out to play. Eating fiber keeps your good-belly stuff happy and promotes regularity- a sign your body is running efficiently.
Stronger Nails and Hair
You are what you eat. Everything you eat gets digested and chemically transformed into something to repair you (and the tiny fraction you can't use is, ahem, released). If you are eating the right balance of nutrients, you repair stronger and healthier than ever. You'll notice it almost immediately in your nails, hair and skin, especially if you are keeping well hydrated.
More Energy, Again!
Food is fuel for your body. If you fill up your tank with junk, that's how you're going to run: sluggish and unreliable, while emitting gross fumes. While exercise floods you with energy during and after your workout, eating right ensures you run at peak condition around the clock. Combine eating right and exercising, and you'll never need coffee again.