You want to live a long, full, productive life with the energy, focus and confidence to succeed in all levels. But, sometimes, on this path, maintaining your health drops on the list. “Someday,” you say, “I’m going to get my health back on track, after this next project,” or “when the kids get a little older…” C’mon, you know your list of reasons – or what I call EXCUSES – better than me. Look, if you’re waiting for some magical day to appear, you just may be waiting forever. I have identified 5 critical areas, or bad habits, that many people mindlessly follow. Each and every day of your life that you do not reverse these dangerous trends you get farther and farther from your ultimate goal of living a fulfilling life? Take a look at each area, determine how you stack up and then fix your bad habits starting TODAY.
1. Stealing from Sleep
Studies show that a minimum of 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night is essential for health. Sleep is the time when your body repairs and recovers from all of the metabolic processes that your body performs every second; it supports healthy weight management, raises growth hormones and heals the adrenals. If you are watching TV, working on your PC, or otherwise stimulating yourself so that you are unable to go to sleep by 11 p.m., then establish the Power Down Hour and turn to more relaxing activities like baths, light novels, or cuddling with a loved one (or pet!) at least an hour or two before bedtime. Then…retrain yourself to sleep through the night.
2. Skipping Breakfast
How many times do you find yourself dashing out the door to start your day, only to discover that you forgot to eat? Your body has just “fasted” overnight, and in order to fuel yourself for the day (and lower stress hormones), you must eat a balanced meal that includes proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Otherwise, your body will turn on itself for fuel and it isn’t fat but muscle that it’s going to target… which will cascade into a very nasty sequence of health consequences that will make you fat, old and tired before your time.
3. Blowing Off Exercise
If you think you can manage your health and weight through dietary means alone, it won’t work. Period. Exercise is crucial for stimulating proper physical and hormonal response necessary for building muscle and bone, burning fat, letting you sleep, keeping you young, giving you energy…the list is endless. More important is the CORRECT type of exercise, which involves high intensity interval training, along with resistance workouts. If you can’t find 20-30 minutes a day to incorporate these exercises into your life (oh yeah, that is ALL you need, by the way), then you can kiss your health goodbye.
4. Noshing At Night
Strapping on the feedbag in the evenings basically signals your body to hold off on burning existing fat stores, raises stress hormones before bedtime, and screws up your body’s natural digestive processes at a time when it should be ready to shut down and repair. If you are eating in a hormonally-balanced way during your evening meal, there is absolutely no need to munch afterward.
5. Not Counting Your Beverages
One of the craziest things I encounter in my work is the lack of consideration of high calorie, high sugar drinks in the diet. Yes, those healthy “Jumbo Juices,” designer coffee slurpees (hey, they may as well be, given all the sugar in them), and those harmless little cocktails every night, especially those fruit-flavored martini and tequila drinks, can really pack on the pounds in a hurry. Make the switch to healthier options like iced green tea, or, my favorite, Emergen-C in some sparkling mineral water for replacements that not only satisfy but fuel and nourish, too!
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