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10 Steps to Optimal Health

Part of aging successfully is healing your body through exercise and diet. As we age into our twenties, we find that it isn’t as easy to maintain a thin body as it once was. Our metabolism changes, our desires, likes, dislikes, are all changing as we age. Adjusting to that change can be hard. Am I eating too much sugar? Drinking too much coffee to stay awake at my full-time job? Am I spending enough time exercising, do I sweat enough and work hard enough when I do?

Each and every one of us is different. We could start a popular “diet” and find that it doesn’t work for us, but our friend lost 10 pounds. Who is to say that when we end that “diet” we won’t fall back into our unhealthy ways? Making a complete lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet is proven to be more successful, as it is permanent and you will change your diet as your body ages and responds to what it likes and dislikes. Emptying your pantry of Oreo’s, Doritos, and candy is a start. I am going to share “10 ways to optimal health” with you, and you can start there along with the advice of your primary care doctor, dietitian or nutritionist.

1. Understand what you’re eating: read labels. Look for things such as added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn products, or unwanted chemicals. Processed food, even ‘organic’ foods in the frozen section will not provide proper nutrition. Think FRESH! Shop at your local farmer’s market, and purchase foods that are growing in that season. Purchase meat from your local butcher, ask what the animals are fed. Stay away from corn fed animals.
2. Eat a balanced diet: Eat proper proportions to your body’s needs. Eat from each food group as your doctor advises, and replace gluten noodles with healthier grains such as legumes, quinoa, or lentils.
3. Don’t skip breakfast: some people might believe that skipping breakfast will keep you thin. False! Eating in the morning will help boost your metabolism. Starting with hot lemon water prior to your food will give you added metabolism boost and it’s great for your blood stream.
4. Read the small print: again, read your labels! Read for portion sizes, saturated fat contents, and other nasty ingredients. Obey the portion sizes. As Americans, we tend to overeat as our portion sizes are too big for what our bodies need!
5. Keep active! Stay as active as you can. Keeping a food journal and an activity one can help motivate you and show you where your flaw may be.
6. Eat the right nutritious calories: avoid eating empty calories that just fill your tummy. Have good proteins, fiber, fats, and minerals that will give you a healthy energy boost in between meals.
7. Cook from scratch: eat with variety! Eat the rainbow! Have a wide range of veggies, lean meats, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs, low fat dairy! When we eat out at restaurants, many times we have no idea where our food came from or what our calorie intake will be; be mindful.
8. Sleep well: get enough sleep for your body! 7-8 hours a night!
9. Eat variety: don’t eat the same thing for breakfast over and over again. Be mindful of the vitamins coming from what you eat, you can over-do it on the good ones too!
10. Drink more water! Always!