I’m not an expert on nutrition and certainly not as educated as a nurse or doctor or nutritionist–but I do know my body, and I do my research, and I Pay Attention to people, and my former clients’ experiences. Personal Trainers run the gamut of education and training but often we know our “business” through personal experience and research along with whatever educational training we experience. See your doctor; talk to a nutritionist; do your research. However, there are some things you can do easily on your own, and can reap the healthy benefits.
- Get off your butt throughout the day. Studies show that even if we exercise regularly, we aren’t realizing the full benefit to our health if we sit most of the rest of the time. Yes, exercising regularly is good for us, but so is moving our bodies throughout the day. Find ways to remind yourself to rise to your full height, stretch, walk about. Your body will love you for it. And, if need be, so will your waistline.
- Eat an apple every day. For a healthier heart, for whiter teeth (though don’t expect miracles—but chewing crunchy apples does help produce saliva that will “wash away” bacteria). As well, the fiber binds to cholesterol and out it goes from your body—no, not all of it; you must eat well and be mindful of your family history. Apples are filling and can help satisfy a sweet tooth—often, I will cut up an apple and put it on my plate first, then put something sweet that I’ve been craving; I’ll eat less of the sweet part when I have that entire apple on my plate. There are more benefits to eating apples, so rush to the store and purchase some. Honeycrisp are my favorites.
- Get more sleep. I can hear some of you laughing: you call this easy, Kat? Maybe, maybe not. But aside from the nights where our minds won’t shut up, there are the nights when we do the “just one more thing” thing. Or we stay on our phones/tablets instead of leaving our bedrooms dark and cool and comforting. Sometimes it is our own fault we aren’t sleeping well! Research over the years said we should have 7-8 hours, but actually, new research shows that at different ages we require different amounts of sleep—it could be even that different people at the same age require different levels of sleep. Perhaps 6-9 hours is a nice range for this or that person, right? Tune into your body–it’ll tell you. People underestimate how important sleep is to our health and well-being. While we sleep, our brains work out the stresses and activities of the day; otherwise, we’re just tossing around with circuitous thinking, right? As well, sleep helps with weight loss: there’s a hormone called leptin that helps to make you feel “full;” leptin levels will decline without enough sleep. Better memory, better sex, clearer thinking, better mood—it’s worth it to figure out a way for a good night’s sleep.
Eat less refined/added sugar (and less processed foods!). When you purchase a “pre-packaged” product, look at the ingredients list. Often you may be surprised at how much sugar is in that product. The listed ingredient order tells you a story: ingredients are listed from most to least. Try to find foods that have fewer ingredients, and where sugar isn’t listed as 2nd or 3rd on the list–better yet, find those that do not have added sugar. If you must purchase processed foods, do your research—pay attention! Find out just what is in that food and in what amounts. Sugar is a sneaky ingredient—it’s in the savory as well as in the sweet. If you purchase something that has fruit in it, the sugar content may be higher, but how much of that is “refined/added” sugar and how much is “fruit sugar.” Some may say, “all the same” but I do not. If I buy trail mix with raisins in it, the raisins are the “sugar” part that will satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthier way, but if I buy trail mix with raisins and M&Ms in it, there’s that refined/added “bad sugar” that will make me feel a tiny burst of energy and then quickly sap me of it. Best thing: the less processed white-four sugar-filled foods you eat, the better you will feel, the more energy you will have, the less weight gain you will experience, etc. etc. etc.!
Find something or someone that/who gives you joy. We spend too much of our lives chasing after some dream, working hard to achieve that dream, running full speed ahead to whatever lies ahead of us. I will tell you that when you reach a certain age, you often look back and think, “Well, dang—where’d that time go? And why did I wait so long for such and so?” While I understand we often must work jobs, raise families, and do the “shoulds” of our lives, it is important to take time out for those things that are OURS only—the thing/things that often make you feel guilty or selfish: well, you are not selfish! If you are unhappy and stressed, then it not only effects/affects you, but your loved ones. Take a moment to breathe and figure out what makes you and only you happy/contented and then go for it. And if it is a person or place who/that makes you happy–then what are you waiting for? Time isn’t banked like money, y’all.
Now, go do this day right, eat an apple, move, stretch, and get a good night’s sleep tonight. So let it be written; so let it be done.