Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Healthy is the New Hot!

Too often, the quest for weight loss is tied to vanity. And granted, your perception is your reality. When you see fit, vibrant individuals, it is not uncommon to want to emulate what you see. You may want to wear the same brand of jeans they wear or rock the same hair style. You could be drawn to that confidence or covet the attention they receive. You may long for the waistline you used to have (or maybe never had). Ultimately, your focus is on what you perceive to be wrong with you. The energy is placed on getting what you don't have at any cost. This kind of thinking may lead to taking some drastic measures to achieve a new look. Contrary to popular belief, 40 isn't the new 20. People who look great at any age are committed to taking care of themselves.

Consider this: Your outward appearance is indicative of your current state of health. I am not saying that every person who is thin or looks good is living right. Crash diets, plastic surgery, compression garments, eye creams, and hair dyes are all quick fixes for cosmetic flaws. Eventually, bad habits will catch up with all of us. If you consistently eat foods that have little to no nutritional value, then the empty calories will clog your vital organs/systems, adversely affect your skin, hair, and, nails, dull the whites of your eyes, interrupt your sleep patterns, and result in unwanted weight gain. Smoking kills lung tissue and weakens the heart. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, can elevate blood pressure, stresses the liver and kidneys, and increases body fat. Bad habits age you. The bottom line is that your lifestyle will either increase or decrease your longevity. Being healthy radiates beauty from the inside out. If you want to turn back the clock, then make some healthy lifestyle changes.

Here is a list of simple lifestyle changes that will make being healthy your new "hot":

1)  Drink more water. Drinking more water improves liver function, which then permits the body to utilize fat stores for energy. The average person requires up to 12 glasses (96 oz.) of water per day plus an additional 8 oz. for every 25 pounds he/she is over the ideal weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, but your ideal weight is 150 pounds, then your fluid intake should increase to 14 glasses per day. Eating more water-laden foods like soups and fruit will help meet that goal.

2)  Exercise more. Staying active and engaging in dedicated exercise most days of the week improves cardiovascular health, helps the body metabolize fat, removes waste from the body more effectively, reduces stress, improves immune function, increases bone density, improves sleep quality, and improves mood. If you do nothing else, walk for at least 20 minutes, 4-5 days per week.

3)  Clean up your diet. Make a commitment to yourself that over the next 30 days you will avoid fast foods, refined foods, and excess sugar. Increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat less meat and more plant-based proteins like navy beans, lentils, brown rice, broccoli, and spinach. At the 30 day mark, get on the scale and then rate your energy levels. Then, take it up a notch!

4)  Turn off all devices and go to bed. Getting adequate quality sleep is critical for healing and recovery of the body. If you are not getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, everything from your mood to your performance will suffer. Oh, and the bags plus the dark circles under your eyes will only get worse. So try to maintain a consistent bedtime and rest well!

5)  Cure what ails you. See your doctor about those nagging pains and symptoms that afflict you. Your quality of life will go through the roof once your attention can be placed on what you can do as opposed to what slows you down.

6)  Let go of the baggage. Forgive. Forget. Move on. Holding grudges and obsessing over old hurts halts progress. Make peace, atone, and get back to living. Doing so will surely put a smile on your face. Let that be your best accessory!

Be good to yourself! More next time...

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