Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all be fit & healthy and live a long life? It is far more difficult to love yourself and life when health and fitness become challenging. Irrespective of your age, practicing the art of healthy living is vitally important. It is never too late to start living the life you deserve and taking good care of the body you have been given. You only have one life. Live it right!
The first step should be to create the right frame of mind to succeed. You must want it bad enough. The mind is a powerful tool and you must learn to use it wisely when it comes to making choices about how you live your life. Take responsibility for your own choices. Stop making excuses for all the unhealthy stuff in your life. Have a realistic plan for your diet and prioritize fitness. Making lasting changes will take commitment and a lot of hard work but set a target of making the healthy things habit.
Know that your body requires a balanced diet because this is the fuel it needs to function properly. Become a conscious eater – choose fresh foods high in nutrients and regard all the processed convenience foods high in sugar and additives as poison. Always think about quality as you want the best grade fuel for your body. Eat for hunger and nourishment and not because you are bored, looking for comfort or feeling stressed. Make breakfast your most vital meal and never skip it. Be aware of portion control and give your body small meals that will not leave you feeling overfull and uncomfortable. You have a handbrake – learn how to use it! Give your body lots of fresh water as part of your diet as this helps to cleans and hydrate.
Make fitness a part of your daily life. Aim for 60 minutes of planned exercising at least 3 times a week and keep activities fun and varied. You need to include aerobic exercises for endurance, strengthening & toning of muscles and stretching for flexibility. Change your sedentary ways and get your body moving at every given opportunity. Walking is a great place to start!
An active body needs time to recuperate and re-energise and this is where sleep becomes very important. Heard the old saying ‘Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’? Take a look at your sleeping habits and make necessary adjustments so that you get a healthy 7-8 hours of sleep every night. You will then feel refreshed and able to cope with multi-tasking and getting it all done in a day without feeling fatigue.
Being healthy is not only about food and exercise. They impact on your physical health but your emotional wellbeing is just as important. Be optimistic and learn to love & accept yourself first. Feel comfortable in your own skin. A positive mind and outlook on life will enable you to nurture, love and provide for yourself as well as motivate & inspire family and friends. Don’t live in isolation. Get out into the world, be optimistic and stay connected with all that is positive and healthy. Always strive to be the best “you” you can be. Accept that loving yourself and living a healthy lifestyle is easier said than done. Not many people have perfected the art. But, take up the challenge and for every healthy habit you develop, your body will thank you.
Healthy skin tip #1:
Your skin can tell a lot about your physical and mental health. So, give your complexion a little boost with these basic but important tips:
CLEANSE – HYDRATE – NOURISH – PROTECT – EXFOLIATE – MOISTURISE
Healthy skin tip #2:
Keep daily cleansing gentle. Use lukewarm water, avoid strong soaps/detergents & rather choose mild cleansers, massage to improve circulation, pat dry after washing, and make moisturiser your new best friend.
Healthy skin tip #3:
Hydration starts from the inside out, so drink lots of water and give your skin a regular blast of moisture. It is a natural way to rejuvenate dry skin.
Healthy skin tip #4:
Eat a healthy diet. There is a strong association between the condition of your skin and what you eat.
Healthy skin tip #5:
Protect your skin from prolonged sun exposure to prevent wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, painful sunburn, aging & skin cancer. Use a good SPF and cover up when outdoors to avoid skin damage from harmful UV rays.
Healthy skin tip #6:
Uncontrolled stress can trigger skin problems and make your skin more sensitive. So, keep calm and manage your stress effectively.
Healthy skin tip #7:
Avoid smoking as this bad habit contributes to wrinkles, loss of elasticity and aging of skin.
Healthy skin tip #8:
Limit your caffeine intake as it strips your skin of moisture and may cause premature aging if consumed in excess.
Healthy skin tip #9:
Get some good sleep and your skin will look noticeably better. It provides vital repair & regeneration so that you don’t look washed out with those telltale black rings or bags under your eyes.
E – EXERCISE is a great way to gain health benefits, feel good & have fun. Inactivity is a health risk, so get smart and include regular exercise into your life. Any activity that gets you moving, gets your heart rate up and gives you enough pleasure to do regularly is good for you.
A – Having a positive mental ATTITUDE will help you achieve weight loss goals. It requires patience and commitment. Focus on “getting healthy” instead of “being on a diet”. Say ‘I can do this, this is easy and I feel good about the changes.’
S – Be SELECTIVE & SMART with your diet. Make good food choices. Avoid junk food & over-processed foods that have no nutritional value. Go easy on high-sugar eating. Instead eat foods that are whole, minimally processed, fresh and nutritious.
I – Are you INFORMED? Know what you are feeding your body. Learn to read food labels so that you can choose healthier options.
S – Don’t underestimate the importance of SLEEP. There is a strong diet-sleep-fitness connection. Eat smarter – Sleep better – Get fitter!
L – LESS is best! Downsize to a food serving that is a healthy portion. Learn about portion size because it matters. Know how much is too much. Stop over-eating and gain diet success.
I – Adopt an ‘I can & I must’ approach to slimming. Aim for the IDEAL body weight that is the healthy range based on your height, gender and age. Be realistic about your goals.
M – Stay MOTIVATED & committed. Stick to your exercise and eating plan. Be driven by the positive benefits. Make your lifestyle changes become habit. Remember only you can make it happen and visualise a healthier you every day.
Looking for a natural sweetener to use as a sugar substitute? Stevia comes from the leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana. It has a long history of use in South America where it has grown wild for centuries and been used to sweeten drinks, food & in traditional medicine. Stevia extract can be 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. Nature has given us a powerful combination of a zero calorie sweetener with a plant-based origin.
Stevia extract has some unique properties:
- It is a non-carbohydrate glycoside compound that is calorie free
- It sweetens without triggering a rise in blood sugar
- It won’t cause a sugar rush & crash typical of sugar addiction
- It will increase energy and aid digestion
- It does not cause tooth decay
- It has a long shelf life, can tolerate high temperatures (ideal for cooking/baking) and is non-fermentative
- It passes safety tests for human consumption with flying colours
- It is ideal for people with blood sugar, blood pressure or weight problems
Stevia has a bright future as it becomes accepted as a natural alternative to sugar and the sweetener of the future. It is making a greater appearance in supermarkets and is being widely used in the food & beverage industry.
Want to lose weight and improve your health? Cutting your sugar intake is a good place to start. The human body is not designed to consume excessive amounts of sugar. Unfortunately it is so abundant in our everyday diet. Foods that are high in added sugar are often not high in nutrition. They contain a whole lot of calories with no essential nutrients. It adds empty calories to your diet and replaces the more nutritious foods you should be eating. Are you ready to say goodbye to sugar? Here’s why you need to make a commitment to give up the sweet stuff.
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates will cause weight gain and might ultimately lead to obesity. Be warned – sugar can make you FAT!
- Sugar can become addictive as it causes a large release of dopamine in the brain. The more you eat, the more you will crave. This ‘feel-good’ fix can turn you into a sugar junkie. The sugar fuelled highs and lows will leave you feeling constantly tired and desperate to reach for your next sugar loaded boost to renew poor energy levels. Your sugar rush will become a sugar crash.
- When you eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes.
- Your body will still feel hungry even when you are overeating because chronic fructose consumption can cause leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that controls appetite by signalling when you are full. Cravings occur because the body never becomes fully satisfied.
- Consuming large amounts of sugar in your diet can raise cholesterol and is a major risk factor for heart disease.
- Sugar is a big contributor to mood disorders.
- Sugar can wreak havoc on your skin.
- Sugar is bad for the teeth and causes cavities & tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on simple sugars, creating acid that destroys enamel.
- Large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver, overloading and damaging the liver. This could lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Your immune system is your defence mechanism for fighting infections. A sugar loaded diet will compromise the ability of your immune system to fight illness.
- Chronic disease development (Cancer & Alzheimer’s) is also being linked to too much sugar consumption.
Warning bells should be ringing. Sugar can be toxic, addictive and deadly if consumed in excessive amounts.
As a general recommendation, keep your intake of added sugars to a maximum of 25-30 grams for adults per day. This equates to about 6-7 teaspoons of sugar which will be about 100-120 calories.
Learn to read packaging. Look on the nutrition label for “Carbohydrates (of which sugars)”. Anything over. Below 5g is low. Some sugar words to look for are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, corn syrup, invert sugar. Make sure the product you are buying has the sugar listed low on the list. If it appears at the top, avoid it!
Think before you eat sugar-laden foods and gulp down sugary drinks. Your body has no need for all that added sugar. Give your body nutritious, fresh home-made meals instead.