Lately, many of my clients have been asking about the importance of sleep, water, healthy foods and exercise so I thought it would be useful to write a post today about How To Stay Healthy in our hectic, busy lives…
“Will I really see results if I stop drinking soda and switch to seltzer? “…”What’s so bad about my 5 1/2 hours of sleep each night?”…”But I love fast food and Starbucks moca-frappachinos with whip cream”…”I don’t have time to work out and I’m bored with my step class”…
Well, look no further than right here because the answer is Yes, you will see a difference if you change your lifestyle by increasing your exercise, sleep, water consumption and nutrient-dense foods. So, what are you waiting for? Read on for some of my tips on how you can stay healthy all year round. And feel free to send me your questions or comments about your lifestyle and changes you would like to make–I’d love to hear from you.
Getting a good night’s rest is essential to our health. When we sleep, our body recharges and builds up our immune system as well as fights depression and anxiety. We should strive for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to feel energized and alert throughout our day. Getting enough shut-eye can also keep your body from storing fat. Studies show that those who log less than 6 hours of sleep are more likely to gain weight than those who get 7 to 8 hours. Furthermore, sleep deprivation causes your body to produce more cortisol (the stress hormone), which is closely linked to belly fat. Aside from the increase in cortisol, not logging enough hours in bed increases cravings for starches and sweets. Yikes! To reap more time in the sack, turn off your computer, television and lights 30 minutes before you tuck in. Also, try to relax in your bedroom with light reading and soft music to relax your body and mind. Even turning in10 minutes earlier for a week can have profound effects…give it a try and see how you feel. Personally when I get an extra 10 minutes of sleep, my next day is pure bliss.
Healthy eating is another major component of good health. We’ve all heard ‘You ARE what you EAT’ and I couldn’t have said it any better. If you fill your belly with junk, processed foods, fast food and ‘fake foods’ such as high fructose corn syrup and chemical-laden ‘diet’ sweeteners— you will feel and look awful. However, if you feed your body with the proper fuel and nutrition, you will feel amazing and have glowing skin. Keeping your blood sugar at a steady level throughout the day will keep you feeling energized; try to have something to eat every 3-4 hours to keep your blood sugar steady. If you go too long without eating, your body will signal starvation mode and reach for the candy bars and soda in the vending machine. I enjoy 5 to 6 mini-meals each day with an additional snack or two, as well. Keeping your diet full of fresh, wholesome foods that are as close to the source as possible is key to achieving a healthy body. So, opt for nutritious fare such as whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean proteins and heart-healthy fats such as nuts and avocado in a variety of mini-meals throughout your day–I assure you, making the switch to wholesome, nutrient-dense foods will have a profound effect on your health and appearance. A healthy diet will make you look better, feel better and give you the sustainable energy you need to power through your day.
As we all know, water makes up a large percentage of our bodies, therefore we must be sure to replenish our storage of pure fluids. Many people do not drink enough water, leading to constipation, hunger, headaches, fatigue and dehydration. It’s recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of water each and every day, but don’t freak out…this doesn’t have to be: You + Plain Water = Boring…get creative and incorporate water-rich fruits and vegetables, tea, seltzer and smoothies into your day to bump up your water consumption. Just be sure to watch your sugar and sodium levels; don’t reach for fancy Starbucks frappes, processed sodas or energy drinks, which are chock full of empty calories, sugar, sodium and countless other scary additives. Yuck!
Furthermore, if you are exercising be sure to hydrate before, during and after your workout. By logging onto www.bottledwater.org you can click on the hydration calculator and discover how much water you need based on the your workout and body weight. Keeping yourself well hydrated with the right fluids will keep your skin beaming and youthful!
And I’m not just talking about the gym. Believe me, I am not a gym-person; I tend to get incredibly bored and find myself mindlessly doing ‘nothing’ on the elliptical machine. So, how do I stay active? It’s easy; I engage in activities that I enjoy such as walking the city. I walk everywhere…grocery shopping, errands, to and from work, etc. I also take long walks in the peaceful and quiet hours of the early morning before breakfast or late evening after dinner. Whether it’s walking, practicing yoga, hitting tennis balls or playing a game of soccer, as long as your heart is pumping and you’re feeling those good ‘endorphins’ flowing…you’re all set.
Many of my clients find it difficult to find time to exercise, therefore I suggest incorporating small bits of activity throught the day such as taking the stairs, walking around the office, taking a leisurely lunchtime stroll, walking the dog or playing frisbee in the yard. Any exercise is better than none so keep moving and have fun–take a dancing class, sign up for pilates or take a spinning class. Depending on your personality, fitness type and level – you can search numerous activities and enjoy yourself while breaking a sweat.