Posted on Jan 06, 2020, 6 p.m.
Over the holiday season, or any event it is easy and rather common to let one’s self overindulge in food and drink. But this practice is not good especially for those who care about their fitness and those with conditions that should care about their fitness more.
Now that things are starting to wind down, it is important to get back on the health wagon and this may include creating a healthy living plan. January typically brings about the time of year when many people make promises to lose weight, get fit, and live healthier, which is why detox and cleansing programmes are popular this time of year, to add to this fad diets and drinks making health claims seem to be everywhere trying to catch your eye.
Please don’t get caught up in clever advertising and statements making magical claims, stick to the basics and fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle and you will have better and more sustainable results. Trends and fads will come and go, there is no single cure all, there’s no magic formulas, there is only the basic fundamentals that involve some work and time:
- Practise time restricted eating, such as intermittent fasting and don’t eat between meals
- Make sure to drink plenty of clean water and stay hydrated
- Do not overeat, learn your limits and avoid eating to that bloated feeling
- Avoid added sugars and sweeteners
- Limit sodium and things that are very salty
- Eat real whole foods, organic if possible, and even better if you can grow it
- Eliminate or avoid highly processed foods which includes take out, dining out, as well as frozen and packaged premade meals.
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid being sedentary, get up and move more
- Try to keep stress in check
- Get some fresh air and sunlight onto your skin
It probably can’t be stressed enough how important sleep is, but one of the worst things you can do for your health and well being is to stay awake when you should be resting and rejuvenating. You must prioritise sleep as studies have well documented that sleep is the master regulator of hormones.
Being awake when you should be sleeping is disruptive to your internal clock and can increase your risk for certain lifestyle related diseases; for every hour you spend staying up watching TV or scrolling your news feeds on social media production of melatonin is suppressed by 30 minutes. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that begins to be secreted as darkness falls, blue light from electronic devices suppresses the production of melatonin and confuses the brain which contributes to disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm. You may be unknowingly sending mixed signals to your brain, in addition, sleep deprivation has been shown to disrupt appetite regulating hormones that can cause unnecessary weight gain.
Stress is often underestimated as to the harm it can promote, and it can do weird things to the mind and body including making it hard to sleep and increase hunger; incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine may be beneficial to overall health. One study of 21,563 subjects found systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and pulse rate decreased significantly after only 6 cycles of deep breathing exercises.
Simple taking a few minutes to do 6-20 deep breaths throughout the day may have a beneficial effect on your health and well being, and really there is no excuse not to try deep breathing exercises as they can be done for free, at anytime and in anyplace. Take the time to try some deep breathing exercises, the only thing you have to lose is stress.
Coming up with a strategy that works for you may take some time, and what works for you today may not work for you say in three months. But if you stick with the fundamentals you will be able to adjust and tweak your strategy as needed.
In your journey to better health you may experience some setbacks, but this is not failure. Setbacks are only little speed bumps, they provide an opportunity to learn, rethink, adjust, and continue your progress forward to your goals. The only failure is if you actually give up. Never give up, not only can you do it, but you are well worth the benefits of living an anti-aging healthy lifestyle that includes extended healthspan and longevity. YOU ARE WORTH IT!!
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.