What good is wealth if you have no health? What good is money if you are constantly sick, unavailable and in bed? At the extreme end of having no health, you would be dead. Your physical health – maintaining a healthy body is a vital ingredient to wealth.
In my life, one of my biggest challenges has been maintaining my physical health. I was overweight for almost 10 years. I went on numerous diets and dietary programs to keep in shape. I read books and magazines to get tips. I listened to friends and tried what others had done. I even read gossip magazines to see what the stars had done. There are a plethora of diets and ideas out there making it difficult to choose. Over the years I have tracked some of the common messages when people talked about health. Here are a few guidelines that I find helpful:
1. Get on that scale. The first step to physical progress is to know where you are, then to find out where you should be. Avoiding the scale doesn’t help.
2. Eat portions no bigger than your fist. Your stomach is about the size of your fist and is therefore a good indicator for the amount of food you should eat. Eating more in one sitting is excessive and adds to your weight.
3. Eat less, but eat more often. You will find that eating fist-sized portions makes you hungry more often. This is not bad. Your metabolism will speed up and burn more of what you consume and will use your stored body-fat for any reserves it needs.
4. Eat a little less than what you think you need. Of all the things the mind is capable of, the ability to relay the message to us that we are in fact ‘full’ is the slowest. We seem to be about five minutes behind stomach time. You should stop eating when you still feel a little hungry. After five minutes those hunger pangs will have disappeared.
5. Drink lots of water. Your body is 90% water and so it needs water to keep going; to flush your system and to replenish moisture loss from activity during the day. Usually, when you feel hungry, your body actually needs water. Therefore, the more water you drink the less hungry you’ll feel and the less you’ll eat.
6. While dieting, give up alcohol and coffee. Alcohol has lots of sugar and calories. Coffee can cause dehydration and it usually has a couple spoons of sugar added. Whenever I’ve dieted and tracked my eating habits I’ve made the most progress when cutting alcohol and coffee from my diet.
7. Give up white food. White rice, white sugar, white bread and most other white foods have been refined and stripped of their nutrients. Although they taste good they aren’t good for you.
8. Give up junk food. If you’ve watched the movie Super-size Me, I rest my case! Junk food, although easy on the lips, is forever on the hips. It contains loads of calories and has very little nutritional value. Junk food includes all fizzy drinks, which are extremely high in sugar.
9. Eat mainly during the day. When you eat late at night, your body is ready to rest and it simply stores the food to use later. Try and stop your food intake 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
10. Get enough rest. When you sleep your body mends itself, checks itself and your metabolism slows down. It still needs energy though so it uses your fat reserves.
11. Exercise. Not only does exercise release endorphins that physically make you feel better, you also burn excess energy, or fat. Your body stores excess energy in fat, and burns it when you exercise. I hate going to the gym but always feel better afterwards. Fast walking is the cheapest and most effective way to lose weight. You need to do at least 30 minutes three times a week to get results. I find that exercising for more than 30 minutes at a time helps significantly in the quest for zero-defect.
12. Think about GAINING health. Nobody likes to lose friends, family, games, money or time. Our minds love gain, so instead of thinking, “I am losing weight,” rather think, “I am gaining health.”
13. Buy what you should eat. Don’t buy what you want. If you only buy what is healthy for you, when you find yourself in front of your open refrigerator all your options will be healthy ones.
14. Plan your eating program. Plan menus for a week at a time and store portions in Tupperware so that your meals are ready in advance. This will prevent you from being tempted to grab a takeaway, eat out or skip a meal.
15. Get support. Join a group. Ask friends to join you. It is best to consult a nutritionist or personal trainer, expert in the field of physical health, who will work out a program that suits you specifically.
When you focus on something you give it more attention and spend more time thinking about it. This means its importance in your life increases. When something is important to you, you want to do more about it. When you focus on health you think more about health. As part of your day to day way of living, think about your health, make your choices and take action accordingly – you will think, feel and function better.
Please note that I am not in any way a health or a nutritional specialists, so please do consult with your doctor or nutritional expert before you start implementing your physical health plan. Working on your health is a life-long focus and it requires your attention to detail. I still have to regularly focus on living healthily.
So, if you have any tips, tricks, tools or links that you recommend for improving your physical health, please take a moment to share below in the comments. Your feedback may be the solution to someone else’s current health challenge.