The old saying, “Treat your body right, and it’ll treat you right,” refers to more than just getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours a night for most of us), exercising and managing your stress levels.
It also means carefully considering the foods you’re eating to fuel your body.
You know that fatigue that knocks you off your feet in the middle of the afternoon? That cracked tooth? Or that moodiness that randomly strikes and results in an ugly spat with your spouse? Could be that your body is out of whack and missing out on important nutrients; all the more reason for you to eat a well-rounded diet.
1. Your Teeth/Bones Need: Calcium
Why You Need It: Ninety-nine percent of the body’s calcium supply is stored in the bones and teeth, where it supports their structure and function. But since our bones are continuously remodeling themselves, they need a constant supply of calcium to reabsorb into new bone. The balance between bone reabsorption and deposition changes with age.
Where to Eat It:
- Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt and cheese
- Broccoli, spinach and other green leafy vegetables
- Tofu with added calcium
- Soy-based drinks with added calcium (soy milk)
- Orange juice with added calcium
Who Needs It Most:
Postmenopausal women, people with lactose intolerance or an allergy to cow’s milk, women with history of prior stress fractures. 2. Your Eyes Need: Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Omega-3s, Vitamins C and E, Zinc, Beta-carotene
Why You Need It: Nutrition plays a vital role in your overall eye health as you age and helps replenish nutrients that decline as a result of the normal aging process. Where to Eat It: Registered dietitian Kerri Gans says that kale and spinach are both packed with lutein and zeaxanthin. You can also add berries to yogurt in the morning for extra vitamin C. Other sources:
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes and broccoli
- Vitamin E: vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts and legumes
- Zinc: oysters, beef and other meats, nuts, legumes and dairy from plant sources of zinc
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, corn, colored bell peppers, goji berries and Brussels sprouts
- Omega-3 fatty acids: fish oils from cold water fish like salmon or tuna
- Beta-carotene: carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and spinach
Who Needs It Most: In a review titled “Nutrients for the Aging Eye,” Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., a nutrition researcher at Tufts University, and Helen Rasmussen, Ph.D., R.D., an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University, found that Americans over 50 are not getting recommended amounts of important nutrients that support eye health through their daily diet. The eye is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage, and the key nutrients can help diminish the oxidative stress that lead to eye disease as we age.
At age 19, I weighed more than 220 pounds. I was fat, unfit and my self-esteem was shot. I hated my body so much I couldn’t enjoy being in it, let alone invite someone else to enjoy it.
At 21 I hit rock bottom. Newly single, sleeping on a friend’s sofa, obese, isolated and unemployed, my sense of self-worth was below zero. As in the classics, this provided fertile ground for a sudden inspired decision to change my life. So I joined a gym, learned about nutrition, lost 90 pounds and moved to London.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot about how to both gain and drop unwanted weight, as well as the emotions, addictions and behaviors involved in all stages of the journey. Obviously, “eat healthier and move more” is fundamental advice, but it’s not the end of the story. If it was, we wouldn’t be living in a nation with ever-increasing obesity statistics.
In order to make lasting change, you need to address the underlying subconscious beliefs driving you. Although you know you’d like to be strong, fit and healthy, all the willpower in the world won’t override deeply stored beliefs and programming forever. As both a hypnotherapist and a fat girl, I’ve learned a lot of methods to help you change those beliefs and make some lasting changes to your health and fitness. Here are six you should always remember.
15. Easy Ways To Treat Your Body Right
1. Come from a place of love.
Most of us who battle with our bodies come from a place of “I hate you body, so I’m going to punish you and deprive you until you look good enough for me to love you.” Imagine if you spoke to a lover like that — how do you think that would go? Instead, try: “I love and appreciate you, so I’m going to nourish you and protect you so we can work together to create a better life.”
2. Choose your words wisely.
The words you choose to say to yourself and the world make more difference than you imagine. Try replacing these common body- and weight-related phrases with the alternatives and see what happens.
- I hope, I’ll try —> I choose to, I will
- I should, I shouldn’t —> I could, I don’t need to
- I’m on a diet —> I’m making healthier choices
- I can’t eat that —> I choose not to eat that
- Exercise —> Movement
3. Practice affirmations.
Most of us are familiar with affirmations, but beware … your unconscious mind won’t accept them if they are too far-fetched. Check what you’re telling yourself. If it’s “I’m fat and ugly,” using an affirmation of “I’m thin and beautiful” isn’t going to work. Instead try something like, “I make positive choices so I become more healthy and attractive every day.”
Do reps each morning and night, or stick them in places you’ll see them often.
4. Make movement fun.
If you hate going to the gym, you won’t do it. I like to speed-walk while listening to high-energy music, and I measure the BPM to coincide with rapid footfalls (120-150bpm). The music keeps me moving at a pace that gets my heart rate up AND puts me in a great mood to start my day. I combine this with a pedometer so I can measure my progress and hold myself accountable.
5. Learn about food.
Learn about the nutritional value of food and what it does for you. When you look at a green smoothie, think “this will give me vitamins, minerals and lasting energy, and help my cells regenerate.” When you look at chocolate ice cream, note “this is high in refined sugar and lactose, will encourage weight gain and make me gassy.” It’ll soon become second nature, and you’ll be able to make choices based on this information.
6. See a hypnotherapist
Yup. Nobody can help fix those unhelpful patterns like a hypnotherapist. It’s what we do. Find one who specializes in weight loss, and preferably understands and addresses your emotional needs and root causes.
7. Stretch For 5 Minutes When You Get Up In The Morning
Most of us hit snooze about fourteen times before we actually get up, causing us to jump out of our beds and scramble for the shower. This puts our minds and bodies already in a state of panic before we’ve even started our day. Stretching for five minutes each morning will keep your body limber and start your day with a more relaxed mind. Your mental health is also an incredibly essential part of your well-being.
8. Drink Your Coffee Black
Have you heard the news? Dunkin Donuts has a *~new~* cookie dough iced coffee! Now you don’t even have to wait till the afternoon to start eating your dessert. Seriously, when I was living in Chicago I would have an iced coffee from DD every damn day and I quickly gained ten pounds from it. I was all concerned because I was walking everywhere and still wondering what the fuck was going on with my body. As soon as I stopped drinking my milk with a little bit of coffee, I went back to what my body was like before.
Not loading your coffee with sugar and milk will make the crash you get a few hours later way less intense, plus you quickly get used to the taste!
Also, this type of coffee looks incredibly cool.
9. Bring Your Breakfast To Work
Did you know you could get a delicious bagel in NYC with vegetable cream cheese for only $2? Incredible, I know. However, I’ve recently discovered that eating a bagel is probably tantamount to swallowing three pieces of bread in a single sitting. In order to clean up my life I’ve resigned from buying breakfast out and bring an apple to work instead.
10. Take The Stairs Instead Of The Elevator
Even taking one or two flights up makes a difference! Now I get winded less and feel more prepared to literally run away from commitment.
11. Have One Healthy Snack
Instead of popping over to the vending machine for some pepperoni pizza combos, try some vegetable smothered in the hummus of your choosing. I’m the worst offender of poor snacking choices, but an energetic snack mid-day will keep you from over-indulging on lunch or dinner.
12. Taking A Victory Lap
Sitting at a desk all day burns about 30 calories a day, I image. So every once in a while I take a long walk to the vending machines on the other side of the building and stare at all the Pop Tarts I want to buy but won’t allow myself to. Getting up and getting your blood flowing will keep you energized and alert.
13. Less Salt
I recently discovered that people put salt on salads? Is nothing sacred to you people? Although most health regulations make it almost impossible for 99% of the world to adhere to their recommended sodium intake, it wouldn’t hurt to be more conscious of how much salt you consume. Too much sodium leads to things like high blood pressure (which is, unfortunately, the leading risk factor of death among women in the US) and contributes to bloating and weight gain. So try to avoid putting it on extra things that probably would be delicious and flavorful without it…like salad.
14. Office Pushups.
Every hour or so, try doing about five pushups or a minute of jumping jacks. If you’re lucky enough to have your own office—perfect! If not, this routine will not only get you a little more healthy, it will ensure that your coworkers think you’re insane and will never invite you out for another happy hour! Now you won’t have to come up with lame excuses like you have to go home to water you plants when you really just want to hang out with the bae (read: Netflix).
15. The “One Less” Rule
Starting today try to have one less beer, one less cigarette, one less bag of chips. You don’t have to completely revamp your life, but just having one less of something unhealthy makes you feel accomplished. It gives you the courage to keep going, and soon “one less” will turn into kicking the habits you want to.
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