1. Fast food in fast food out but the toxins stay
Many things people put in their bodies are downright toxic, but a lot of the times we only think about the bad things such as cigarettes, excessive alcohol, abusive drugs, as well as overuse of prescription and many over the counter medicines. Not only are they not good for us, they’re also highly addictive, making it hard to give them up or avoid them. If you have a problem with one of these substances, then diet and exercise is not on its own your answer. You need help and quite simply you must ask for it, so see your Doctor or health care professional. Help is out there and I urge you to seek it.
Now while alcohol is fine in moderation for those who like it, and a glass or two of red wine has shown many interesting health benefits, MODERATION is the key here. Binge drinking is a major health hazard, it puts you at risk of many diseases, especially cancer. Now tobacco and abusive drugs are bad for everyone. I am sure I do not need to tell you that.
However, in my opinion, and what many professionals feel is an even bigger and an even more common problem today is eating unhealthy, disease-promoting junk foods. If you want to gain optimal health, you need to minimise your consumption of these foods. Probably the single most effective change you can make to improve your diet is to cut back on processed, packaged foods. This can be tough because many of these foods are designed to be extremely tasty and very hard to resist. They can be as addictive as many of the considered deadlier addictions. When it comes to specific ingredients, added sugars are among the worst. These include sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. When consumed in excess, both can wreak havoc on your metabolism, though some people can tolerate moderate amounts. In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid all trans fats, which are found in some types of margarine and packaged baked foods.
The thing is you really cannot be as healthy as you should be or want to be unless you address these issues. It’s simple to say ‘don’t put toxins in your body’. But we think of toxins as pesticides and industrial chemicals not the additives, colourings, and other chemicals which are in fact foods that are sold to us, especially junk and fast foods.
As a wise man once told me ‘if you eat enough junk, then your body becomes JUNK’. Or as the New York Times best-selling author and health and food Guru Michael Pollan said ‘don’t eat anything that your great grandmother would not recognise as food’.
2. Move it and use it before you lose it
Moving your body and using your muscles is extremely important for optimal health. The thing is while lifting weights and exercising can certainly help you look better (and joining a gym can be great - if you keep going), improving your appearance is just the tip of the iceberg. That tip is 9/10ths under the surface - it’s not just about looks, it’s about living a healthier life.
You also need to exercise to ensure your body, brain and hormones function optimally. And not just Aerobically (that’s running, bike riding, power walking, etc), you need to work those muscles. Lifting weights lowers your blood sugar and insulin levels, improves cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. It also raises your levels of testosterone and growth hormones, both associated with improved well-being. What’s more, exercise can help reduce depression and your risk of various chronic diseases, such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes, which is becoming an epidemic and can also be a gateway to many other diseases, plus many more.
Additionally, exercise may help you lose fat but not just the fat you see, but also the fat you can’t see, especially in combination with a healthy diet. It doesn’t just burn calories, but also improves your hormone levels and overall body function. Fortunately, there are many ways to exercise. You don’t necessarily need to go to a gym, even though it can be very motivational and there are lots of 24/7 gyms now. Or you don’t need to buy expensive workout equipment. It’s possible to exercise for free and in the comfort of your own home. Do a search on Google or YouTube for "bodyweight workouts” or “calisthenics,” for example. Going outside to hike or take a walk is another important thing you should do (even get a dog - they make you feel guilty if you don’t take them for a walk), plus you can get some sun while you’re at it (for a natural source of vitamin D) but careful not to get sunburnt! Walking is a good choice and a highly underrated form of exercise. The key is to choose something that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run (that’s not running a marathon).
If you’re completely out of shape or have medical problems, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a qualified health professional before starting a new training/workout program.
Next week we’ll look at tips 3, 4 and 5.
How to sleep well - its vital for life
Dealing with and avoiding stress.
Eating real food to nourish your body