5 easy tips to feel healthier now:
1. Each morning, drink a tall glass of water with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice. You’ll feel noticeably less “puffy” within two days. (Warning: if you also drink a morning jolt of java, the acidity may get to be too much, so eat a little breakfast and consider skipping coffee.)
2. Stop what you’re doing and take ten deep breaths. Concentrate on drawing the breath up from your kidneys; visualize pushing it down into your stomach as you exhale. Feels great.
3. Don’t get overwhelmed – think in terms of “relative nutrition“. This is my term for putting health information in perspective. Getting healthier can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out or are recovering from an illness. Yes, hitting the gym, meditating, and eating organic, raw, pure food all day long and tossing out the microwave would probably be ideal (in some universe). Instead, think in terms of healthy as it relates to your current habits.
I suggest that you concentrate on taking 4 or 5 steps and applying them consistently. You can change and add more healthy habits as you progress, but even a handful of simple modifications can do a lot of relative good. I’m not advocating a “make half your grains whole” approach like the Food Pyramid – that’s irresponsible public health guidance when we know that refined grains are so unhealthy. But, don’t expect immediate perfection of yourself – it’s unrealistic.
The important thing is to work gradually towards that paradigm shift (moving from merely accenting with healthy foods or behaviors to practicing health as a lifestyle – the “cheats” become the accent, as they should). You’ll get a lot of healthy mileage out of just a few basic changes: for example, tossing the sodas, switching to salads for lunch every day, and making a point of going on a walk after dinner each night will improve your mood, help you drop a few pounds in just two weeks, and help you sleep better. Who wouldn’t love all that?
4. Toss the sodas! (And the sugary lattes, “juice” drinks, and milk shakes…) Don’t drink your calories. Craving a sweet beverage? You may simply be dehydrated.
5. When you dine out this week – as most of us do at least 30% of the time – just say no to the starchy sides and bread basket. Ask for vegetables as a substitute. You’ll cut hundreds of calories, lower your blood sugar, and actually be less hungry later on.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Peanut butter isn’t the ideal food anyway (it’s fine in sauces and on fresh fruit, but a PB&J sandwich is no healthier than a donut). Girls still smell better. As far as Donald is concerned, we think his hair would make a great nest.
Here’s the breaking clickativity:
1) Restless Legs Are Not News
Restless legs have a cure: movement. Restless leg syndrome is a modern phenomenon borne of obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. It is NOT a disease needing a cure. The cure is to move around once in a while.
Here’s an incredible expose on how pharmaceutical companies literally create diseases so you’ll take their drugs – and how the media are complicit in spinning the lies.
2) Expect Plenty of Bad Leno Jokes Tonight
So Kentucky and West Virginia are overweight, heart-disease-ridden states. Before you gloat (or feel bad if you hail from these states), keep in mind that all 50 of our states are a giant collective embarrassment.
We are the fattest, sickest, soonest-dying, most diseased industrialized nation. Pretty pathetic, considering we’re leaders in medical research, have no shortage of nutritious food, and are the richest nation…on earth. But the media are covering this non-news like white on rice. Basically, we’re preschoolers comparing the size of our crayon boxes while everybody else has moved on to markers.
This is the kind of irritating health news we have to draw attention to, simply because it’s so stupid. It’s a good example of how the media alternately scares the living daylights out of people and reports frivolous non-news as “news”. Will anyone care about this in two weeks (or two days)? Will anything be done? Where are the investigative pieces and exposes that actually produce some change?
3) Bees Dying
This makes us very sad. And it could actually be a huge problem for crop production this year.
Core strength – everyone is talking about it. Core is just a buzz word for your midsection, and it’s very important to maximize your core health. A healthy, strong core is the “core” of good health.
A few key steps:
- You must shed that spare tire to naturally improve core health (cut out that sugar, folks).
- Get both resistance and aerobic activity several times a week.
- Do one or two torso-focused exercise sessions a week. The midsection doesn’t need much time: 10 or 15 minutes is enough.
- Maintain good posture.
- Implement some stretching and balance exercises into your workouts.
Trainer Russ Suchala and I were discussing this “core” topic the other day – here’s why you must take care of your core if you want good health:
“Training your core will result in tremendous benefits in a relatively short amount of time. This is because a strong core improves your posture, decreases your chance of injury, increases your power and functionality, and gives you a great-looking lean midsection.
Core training is rapidly gaining popularity for one specific reason: sitting leads to a weak core. Sitting? Yep, sitting.
Think about your typical work day. If you are like most people then your day starts with a 30-60 minute drive to work, followed by 8 hours at your desk and then another 30-60 minute drive home. That’s a lot of sitting. And it all adds up to one thing: a weak core.
The muscles that make up the core play a unique role since they provide stabilization for your entire body.
Core training seeks to strengthen the muscles of your abdominal and lower back using coordinated movement. A strong focus is put on contracting your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine throughout the exercises to ensure that your core muscles are engaged.
Unfortunately many ailments stem from having weak core muscles. You may be personally acquainted with the most common ailment…lower back pain. Other problems include poor posture, being injury prone, having minimal strength and (drum roll please) a bulging waistline.
Alleviating persistent back pain is one of the most welcomed benefits of a strong core. An increase in strength and protection from injury are also nice, and who doesn’t love to lose inches from their waist as a result of tightened muscle?
Everyday motions such as lifting, squatting, reaching, twisting and bending will become less challenging after strengthening your core. While you may not immediately see the value in this, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry – who really wants to throw out their back while taking out the trash?”
Thanks, Russ. Apples, stick around for more fitness tips in future posts. It doesn’t take much to improve your health and physique – just commitment to action. As I always say, putting on the sneakers is 90% of the battle.
We’re as sick of mad cow as you are (just feed them grass and keep them clean!), but we promised to find out who was behind the crazy study to breed mad-cow-free cows. Ladies and gents, we present Hematech. This outfit uses cows to research and develop all sorts of human disease antibodies. In a bizarre example of how this corporate world works, Hematech is owned by none other than Kirin Brewing Company. As in, the beer.
Drop in later for Mark and Russ’s chat on core fitness, today’s Smart Fuel, and the weekly roundup!
Admit it: half the reason we all watch Lost is because the main characters are just so great looking. They all have those ripped abs and defined arms that every guy and gal wants. Guess what? It’s not as tough as you’d think to look like Kate or the Doc (oops…lest I start yet another “which guy for Kate” debate, Sawyer, too).
The big myth about getting a sleek, jelly-free belly is that you have to do endless stomach exercises. Hence the never-ending procession of rollers, riders, crunchers and other fitness gimmicks that never give you the washboard you want.
You cannot roll, twist, or squeeze your way to a sexy stomach, no matter what the infomercials tell you.
Here’s why: you already have abs! They might not be as developed as the dude on the cover of Men’s Health, but you already have abs. The problem is that fat is covering them up. Get rid of the fat, and your abs will show up just fine. Believe me, they are there.
Doing stomach exercises is important for further developing those muscles and building core strength (more on that in a moment), but the best thing you can do as far as your torso is concerned – not only for improving confidence, your looks, and your comfort with your body, but your health – is to shed fat. Midsection fat is the most harmful kind of fat to your health and is a critical indicator of stress.
Flex your stomach – even if you’re a couch potato, there’s a little muscle there. Now, if you are flexing and you can still grab abdominal fat in your hand, that’s exactly how much is surrounding your precious internal organs – and that’s a dangerous thing. Fat on your backside? Not so much.
So by all means, crunch away – but your middle will actually get bigger if you don’t simultaneously shrink the fat. Spot toning without overall fat reduction is the wrong approach to getting flat abs, but it’s what most people do. (And notice, nothing changes much, and we all have to suffer through yet another magic abs infomercial with way too much spandex.)
I’m a big proponent of taking care of your torso, not so you can look like a Lost extra (though that’s not a bad thing), but because a healthy middle means reduced chances of obesity (duh), diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and sleep problems.
I’ll be bringing you tips on cutting fat in upcoming posts, but here’s a quick suggestion: cut out all refined carbs, sugar and alcohol for two weeks. I guarantee you’ll see a major reduction in bloat and midsection fat. Although excess calories are what adds the poundage, sugar is the culprit that goes right to the gut. It’s incredibly difficult to have a spare tire if you are primarily getting your calories from protein and produce.
Be sure to check in tomorrow when I’ll be posting a discussion I recently had with Russ Suchala, a fitness colleague of mine and top L.A. physical trainer. You’ll get tons of helpful insights on core health and yes, getting those ripped abs.
My secret: I never do a sit-up. I just think about having great abs, and poof, there they are!
No, no, just kidding. I do a lot of ab work, but 90% of nice abs = avoiding excess weight from empty calories.
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