Ten Steps to a Healthier Body

Are you ready for a healthier body?  Here are 10 steps to help you get there: 

  1. Sit down when you eat.  This helps you be mindful of the eating process, to slow down and enjoy your food.
  2. Fill your plate half full with fruits and vegetables before you add any other food. This helps you increase fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant intake, and it automatically creates portion control for the rest of your meal.
  3. Get your body in motion at least 3 -5 times each and every week.  If you are new to this practice, be sure to check with your doctor first.  Then start with 5 minutes a day, adding another minute every week. Include movements that will increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles, too.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids, including 4 cups of water each day.  Don't worry about the exact number of ounces you drink.  A good way to monitor hydration is to drink enough to keep your urine clear or pale colored.  If it's dark yellow, you need more fluids.
  5. Eat fish or seafood at least 2 times each week. The omega-3 fatty acids you find in fatty fish can't be beat for healthy fats.  Fish also deliver a wonderful source of protein. Try salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, or tuna. 
  6. Eat healthy fats daily. Let go of the idea that  eliminating as many fats as you can is healthy.  We need mono- and poly-unsaturated fats everyday. Reach for olives, avocado, flax seed, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and vegetable oils.  Try olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, sesame, and nut oils.
  7. Eat at least 3 servings of whole grains each day. Breads and grains are not bad for you. Look for popcorn, corn, brown rice, quinoa, bulgar wheat, barley and oats among many others. Find bread and crackers made with 100% whole grains for the biggest nutritional bang for your buck.
  8. Stretch daily.  Have you ever noticed what a dog does as soon as it wakes up?  Yes!  Dogs are great role models for stretching.  Stretch to loosen tight muscles, increase range of motion, ease tension, and reduce the risk of injuries.  The best stretching is done after your workout or when your muscles are warmed up.
  9. Try to sleep 7-8 hours each night.  Rest is recovery time for both body and brain, yet many of us cut ourselves short. Studies have shown lack of sleep increases your risk of accidents, death from all causes, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, forgetfulness, depression, stress, appetite, cravings for high fat and high carbohydrates foods, and even ages your skin. Sleep deprived individuals are also much more likely to be obese.  Too little sleep results in low levels of leptin, a hormone that tells the body to stop eating, and higher levels of ghrelin, which signals fullness. Sleep is critical for all aspects of health.
  10. graur codrin/freedigitalphotos
  11. Get regular check-ups with your doctor.  Preventive medicine is a big key to a healthy body!

How many of these are you accomplishing regularly?  Which ones do you need to start working on? Use those as your mini goals this week...

And now it's time for YOU to take the first step!