Everyone today is looking for a “quick fix” to lose weight, “get healthy” and become happier. Guess what guys, I have a secret, and there is no “quick fix” to anything! Nothing happens in life without a little effort and some work. If you want to get healthy, don’t wait till the new year to do it. Every day is a new day with a new opportunity for you to cease and for you make better decisions about your health and your lifestyle. These are my four “secret” tips to lead you to a much happier, healthier and more peaceful lifestyle.
1. Diet is everything
Nutrition is everything. We are what we eat, so every time we eat something that is has no nutritious value, we will feel it instantly. You may not feel it right now because all you eat right now has no nutritious necessity to your body. Regardless of what fad “diet” you are currently following or not, you need to eat what will give you the most energy so you can accomplish all the things you need to throughout the day.
My personal favorites; make sure you eat enough protein at least 60grams/day. If you’re vegetarian make sure you’re able to find good protein substitutes. I encourage you to limit your soy products as they can increase your estrogen levels over time and more and more studies are showing it’s link to breast cancer, although controversial.
You want to eat Fats. The once “low fat” diet has made us more obese and Diabetes has become more prevalent because we over substituted with sugars. Incorporate olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, virgin and organic are better. Now I will say be mindful how much oil you’re using because more than 2tsp/day will definitely add on the lbs!
Limit your sugar intake to less than 6tsp/day. Avoid Refined and processed sugars that have no value to us. Instead get your sugar fix naturally with fruits and vegetables. Sugars increases your risk of diabetes and will make you gain weight. Just an extra 200 calories/day will make you gain an 12lb/year. Scrap the sodas, juices, candies, and processed foods as they are only wearing you out. Avoid the fructose and corn syrups and artificial sweeteners as well as learn to enjoy food with less sugar. Over time your body will thank you! Also, limit your carbohydrate intake and ensure you’re eating foods with ow glycemic index especially if you don’t have problems with grains.
I highly encourage you to eat a lot of plant based fiber, at least 30-35g/day. Although you can easily get fiber from grains, a lot of grains are not as pure as they used to be. If you’re eating grains, be sure they are whole grain and organic as possible. Limit Genetically modified organisms.
Last but not least, please stay hydrated. Hydration is the key to saying healthy and not dehydrated. Majority of my patients are always under hydrated. Just drinking a 3L (13 8oz cups) a day for men and 2.2L (9 8oz cups)for women will do the trick. Of course, in extreme heat, and increased physical activity be sure you increase your fluid intake.
2. A restful Night can rejuvenate you!
If you’re not rested at night, how can you ensure you will have a good day the next day on top of all the things you have to do. You need to ensure good quality rest for at least 7hours/night. A recent study in Australia showed that adolescents who have insomnia are more likely to be depressed and anxious. I’m sure we can generalize the study further to adults as well. Who isn’t happy when they don’t get enough sleep?! Going to bed early, sleeping in the dark, cutting off caffeine by noon, having and maintaining a good sleep hygiene are things you can do to ensure a good night’s rest. (Please refer to my Sleep “Tips for a Sleepless night” blog for further information)
3. Exercise is a Must
According to the American Diabetic Association, everyone should get about 150 moderate exercise/week or 75min vigorous activity with some heart rate variability, with strength training 2xweek alternating upper and lower body. This is so you incorporate both strength training and cardio together. Choose your poison (running, walking, biking, tae-bo, pilates, yoga to name a few) however you want to do it, breaking it up with moderate exercise throughout the week or a couple more intense vigorous workouts on the weekend. It’s important to find an activity that you enjoy and will continue to do. Changing up your regimen is also important every 4 weeks. Your body gets used to the routine and your muscles need to be challenged; however, anything is better than no exercise as all.
4. Find the Peace within
The goal of meditation is to silence your mind and restart it. Often we worry about the past, future and everything in between. We do not know how to let go and live in the present. Clearly, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. That is why I meditate at least 10minute a day. As a physician on the go, it’s hard to do more than that but if I don’t get in at least 10 minutes I feel the lingering effects throughout my day. Your mind needs to just be still. One day it will click when you realize that it is not as bad or hard as it may seem. Learn to just sit still and monitor your breath and before you know it you’ll be an advanced yogi.