1. Drink Water – Our bodies are 50-75% water. The most common reason people are sluggish in the afternoon is due to dehydration. If we don’t drink enough water our bodies do not work properly; we become tired and do not metabolize food properly. Diet soda does not count. Nor does juice, sweetened teas or energy drinks. It is a must to get your water in. Water also helps us feel clean, healthy and refreshed. Begin every a.m. with water and a slice of squeezed lemon. (Lemon in water helps detoxify the liver keeping it in greater health to metabolize foods we eat). I know water doesn’t always feel so exciting — you can also use unsweetened tea, seltzer and mineral water and count it towards your water intake. Take a tea break for green, black, white or herbal mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
2. Eat Empowered – Feel empowered putting the most nutrient rich food in your body. This is all attitude. So, it’s not “I can’t eat the dessert.” It’s, “I can eat these delicious blueberries!” When you focus on how good you feel fueling yourself with the best foods you will continue to be motivated to eat these foods. The benefits from skin health to weight loss, and all that’s in between, will follow.
3. Exercise – Aside from burning calories, exercise is important because when you exercise your body releases endorphins, which make you feel good and motivate you to eat well, do your job well and simply be happy! Weight bearing exercises increase muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories even while you are sitting on the couch. Interval training is also important to help rev your metabolism for hours after you have left the gym.
4. Pamper Thyself – Treating yourself to something special can have emotional and physical benefits. Simple small indulgences, like a manicure, massage, or bubble bath can make you look and feel great. The time that you spend caring for yourself physically can reap huge mind and body rewards.
5. Sex – Is there a link between low libido and weight? Absolutely! The good news is that not only does losing weight help your sex life, but having sex also helps with your weight loss! First of all, while it’s not (usually!) as strenuous as an afternoon of tennis, sex does burn calories. Second, researchers know that oxytocin – a hormone released after orgasm in men and women, through cuddling, and even by simply holding hands – acts as a soothing antioxidant and may make it easier for people to stick to their healthy eating style.
6. Sleep deep – Research is really getting stronger in this area — we now know that people who sleep more tend to be healthier weights. When you are well rested you make better food choices, have more energy to go the gym, walk to work or take time for your favourite activities. When you are not well rested, your defenses are down and you are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices. Lack of sleep causes your levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, to rise. Get better zzzz’s by practicing a calm ritual before bed. Try dimming the lights in your bedroom and reduce stimulation by turning off the TV, computer, and yes even your phone!
7. Stress Less – Stress increases the amount of cortisol in our bodies, a hormone which makes our bodies crave carbohydrates and store fat around the tummy. So, even if you don’t eat more due to stress you can still gain weight due to stress! To make matters worse, stress also causes an increase in appetite… We all know what that does! Make time in your day to unwind and reset. Take 5 minutes to sit quietly and practice deep breathing or go for a walk outside for a breath of fresh air.
8. Your World – The environment around us can impact both our mental and physical health. There are some things that we can’t always control – like the traffic or the construction down the street. But there are plenty of factors that are within our reach and can make a big difference in our lifestyle and mood. For example, make a clutter-free zone in your office or home or turn off the TV when you aren’t really watching.
I always tell people to start with what is easiest, and move on from there. Does it seem simple enough to drink a few more glasses of water a day and switch your mocha to a green tea? Start with that. Once you conquer your first simple, attainable goal, reward yourself with new music on your iPod, a new novel or a movie. Then set your next goal. See that? You’re already on your way to living your most nutritious life.