You want to live a long, full life — to be young and lean forever. But you could be doing yourself more harm than good.
“Someday,” you say, “I’m going to get my health back on track, after this next project,” or “when I get back from my cruise,” or “when the kids get a little older” … C’mon, you know your list of reasons — or what I call EXCUSES — better than I.
Look, if you’re waiting for some magical day to appear, you just may be waiting forever. These days do not “show up”; you show up for THEM. I have identified five critical areas, bad habits that many people mindlessly follow. Do you realize that 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 make the fix today:
1) Stealing from sleep: Studies show that a minimum of seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep (at night) are 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. Sleep supports healthy weight management, raises growth hormone, 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 PM, 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? Listen, 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 — for some sparkling mineral replacements that not only satisfy, but also fuel and nourish!
JJ Virgin, PhD, CNS is a celebrity health and nutrition expert, author, public speaker and media personality. She is internationally recognized as the creator of the Weight Loss Resistance Revolution™ and trains other health care professionals in her program. JJ is the President of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, nanp.org.