Last week we looked at tips 1 and 2, here's tips 3, 4 and 5.
3. How to sleep well - it's vital!
Sleep is very important for your overall health and studies show that sleep deprivation correlates with many diseases, including obesity, heart disease and anxiety and depression. It’s highly recommended that you make time for good, quality sleep.
If you can't sleep properly, here are several ways you can try to improve it:
Don’t drink coffee late in the day.
Don’t eat late in the evening .
Try to go to bed and wake up at similar times each day.
Sleep in complete darkness, with no artificial light.
Keep your bedroom cool.
Turn off the television, dim the lights, sit, relax and be calm for five or ten minutes before going to bed.
Power down. The soft blue glow from a cell phone, tablet, or digital clock on your bedside table may hurt your sleep.
Don’t watch television in bed and avoid smartphones, laptops and tablets in the bedroom.
Make your bedroom a place of rest .
Include exercise in your daily routine.
Try our new Sleep and Revive - a delicious and soothing turmeric latte
It may also be a good idea to see your doctor. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are very common and in many cases easily treatable.
4. Dealing and avoiding stress - the X factor.
A healthy lifestyle, as I have written, involves a wholesome diet. Yes, quality sleep, and regular exercise.
So what is the X factor? NO it's not a Television show. It's more the way you feel and how you think. It is so very important as being stressed and anxious all the time is a recipe for disaster. Excess stress can raise cortisol levels and severely impair your metabolism, damage your sleeping patterns, increase junk food cravings, deposit fat in your stomach area and raise your risk of various diseases, cancer and heart disease to name just a few. Studies also show that stress is a significant contributor to depression and anxiety, which is a massive health problem today.
To reduce stress, try to simplify your life. Trust me, I know its hard, but you need to exercise, take nature walks, practice deep-breathing techniques and maybe even look towards meditation, yoga, tai chi or similar.
If you absolutely cannot handle the burdens of your daily life without becoming overly stressed, and your anxiety is increasing so much so that your very life is affected then you must consider seeking help. It's not a matter of battling on or giving in, even pride and embarrassment are insignificant. It's your life that matters. See your Doctor, health professional or a psychologist. Not only will overcoming your stress make you healthier, it will also improve your life in many other ways. Going through life worried, anxious and never being able to relax and enjoy yourself is such a big waste of life and subsequently time.
5. Eat REAL food to really nourish your body.
The simplest (and yes I mean really simple), and most effective way to eat healthy is to focus on food, and I mean real foods! Choose unprocessed, whole foods that resemble what they looked like in nature. Place the emphasis on plants then add — meat, fish, eggs, but worship those vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, as well as healthy fats, oils and high-fat dairy products (yes I said high fat ).
If you’re healthy and active, eating whole, unrefined carbs is absolutely fine as it will help you to be leaner. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes and whole grains such as oats, rice, quinoa, etc.
However, if your overweight, obese or have shown signs of metabolic issues such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome, then cutting back on major carbohydrate sources can lead to dramatic improvements. By carbohydrates, I mean processed carbs. People can often lose a lot of weight simply by cutting back on processed carbohydrates because they subconsciously start eating less.
Whatever you do, make an effort to choose whole, unprocessed foods instead of foods that look like they were made in a factory. Eat real food, not too much and mainly plants. That’s the secret.
Take home message?
You really need to stick with it for life. It's not for 5 minutes. It’s very important to keep in mind that a dieting mindset is a bad idea because it almost never works in the long term. Dieting was once described as like being in prison and most prisoners want to break out!
For this reason, it’s critical to aim for a lifestyle change. You can't change your genes but you can change your lifestyle, wich is a more powerful predictor of your health than your genetic disposition.
Being healthy is a marathon, not a sprint. Think of the race between the hair and the tortoise. In the lifestyle race it's best to be the tortoise - slow and sure.
It takes time and you need to stick with it for life. Yes, life not a day, or a week, or a month. Your life!
Dr Phil Sheldon