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10 steps to feel like a million bucks!
  Health & Fitness - June 2008

Step One: Retrospect

The first step is to take a look at what your diet and health have been like for the last 12 months. Think about questions like these and write down your answers in a notebook so that you can look back them again a year from now:

·         How does your weight compare with a year ago?

·         Do you feel healthy and have a lot of energy or are you tired all the time?

·         Do you take vitamins or other nutritional supplements?

·         Do you eat at home most of the time? If so, what types of foods? Whole fresh foods, boxed foods or TV dinners?

·         If you eat in a restaurant, what types of restaurants do you go to and what types of foods do you choose?

·         How physically active are you? Do you exercise regularly?

·         Do you eat healthy size portions, or do you stuff yourself with every meal?

·         Do you smoke?

It is important to take an honest look at your health and dietary habits in order to set goals for your health and diet.

Step Two: Fitness and General Health

Healthy nutrition is just part of a healthy lifestyle. Another component of health and fitness is exercise. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you need to get out and get moving. Walking, running, aerobic exercise and weight lifting are all great exercises. If you want to lose weight, it is important to increase aerobic activity like walking or running. If you need to increase your strength, then you need to start resistance training such as lifting weights. There are health clubs, gyms, personal trainers as well as at-home equipment to get you fit and healthy.

Do you smoke? If so, you will really do yourself a favor by quitting. Smoking has been connected to so many chronic diseases, plus you will save a lot of money over the next year if you quit smoking.

Step Three: Reduce Stress

Stress is detrimental to your health. Stress includes daily events like constant deadlines at work, long drive-times with excess traffic, more activities that time to do them, as well as emotional trauma like death or divorce.

Step Four: Start Your Day

Stretch in the Shower
The hot water will loosen up your muscles, so it’s easier to get a good stretch. The act of stretching will help to release stored tension and enable you to start the day feeling more relaxed, at peace, and ready to handle what comes your way.

Eat a Balanced Breakfast
For those of you who start the day on a donut and coffee, read this! Breakfast is known as ‘the most important meal of the day’ for a very good reason: a healthy meal in the morning can balance your blood sugar levels and give you the sustenance you need to handle physical and mental stress. Without it, you will be less resilient, both physically and mentally. Be sure to have plenty of protein and fruit, not just caffeine and empty calories!

Drink Green Tea
Sipping a warm cup of tea is a soothing activity that will help you prepare for the day ahead and feel nurtured. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, so it’s a delicious and healthy lifestyle choice.

Step Five: Get Enough Sleep

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep. You feel refreshed and ready for the day. But did you know that during sleep you are enhancing your learning and memory? Did you know that you would probably do better on an exam if you had a good night’s sleep versus pulling an all-nighter? How Much Sleep Do You Need? The body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per day; 6 hours or less triples your risk of a car accident. (Interestingly, too much sleep, more than 9 hours, can actually be harmful for your health; recent studies show that those who sleep more than 9 hours per day don’t live as long as their 8-hour-sleep counterparts!) The Effects of Missed Sleep: Sleep is cumulative; if you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss adequate sleep several days in a row, you build up a ‘sleep deficit’, which impairs the following:

·         Reaction time

·         Judgment

·         Vision

·         Information processing

·         Short-term memory

·         Performance

·         Motivation

·         Vigilance

·         Patience

 

 

 

Step Six: Love Your Body

Loving our body means caring for our body so that they look and feel their best. It’s good to take pride in your body, to be the best you that you can be. Let yourself be beautiful; enjoy feeling feminine, pretty, and sexy.

Step Seven: Shake up Your Salts

Too much sodium and too little potassium can boost blood pressure. Aim for less than 1.5 grams of sodium a day, and at least 4.7 grams of potassium from fruits and vegetables.

Step Eight: Eat Small and Right

Eating should be based on three main meals and few healthy snacks. Eat small quantities at one go. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast. Go for vegetables, fruits, grains, low-sugar cereals, low-fat dairy foods. High-calorie, low nutrition snack foods no-no.

Step Nine: Snack Wisely

Replace one packet of chips with a healthier apple or low fat yoghurt. A shared snack is better than a full order. You can go for an occasional treat if you are confident that you would be in control.

Step Ten: Drink Lots of Water

Do not go in for empty calorie liquids such as colas, sweetened beverages. A glass of fresh water or natural juice will satisfy you, keep your body hydrated and bring that magical glow on your face.

 

 

 
 
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