Eddy’s five health tips

| December 2, 2013

With the year coming to an end, celebrations with overeating and –drinking are common. Edwina Griffin shares five things everyone can do to stay healthy and feel and look great.

The start of the festive season means plenty of celebrations, champagnes and canapés, so how do you stay healthy through all that? Thankfully the warmer weather makes it easy to jump out of bed in the mornings and head out for a walk or run at your local beach or park. Making conscious choices every day around food, exercise and allowing for some down time can create the balance you need to stay healthy and look fantastic throughout the holiday period.

1. Spend at least five minutes per day on your mindset and focusing on your goal

It takes two to three weeks to establish a new habit, therefore visualising your goal every day enables the neural pathways for a healthy lifestyle to be strengthened. It takes approximately 28 days for a new neuronet to be created, so keeping the mind focused in the first month of setting your goals is very important. In the same way that your muscles get stronger with exercise, neural pathways also become more efficient when the same thoughts are repeated. Strengthening positive neural pathways is an important step towards successfully achieving goals.

2. Consider your carbohydrate, protein and fat ratio in both meals and snacks

Health & Wellbeing teaserMany busy and tired people have a diet high in carbohydrates, and this is partly due to the convenience of carbohydrate snacks. Aim for 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% essential fatty acids in your diet and to have a higher source of plant fats than animal fats (with the exception of fish oils). It’s a good idea to have high protein and essential fatty acids (EFA) in your breakfast (e.g. Chia seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, animal fats, nuts, eggs or protein shakes) for insulin control, high energy and brain food. Eating complex carbohydrates with some protein at lunch is a great option as you will burn that energy through your day, and dinner should be mostly protein and vegetables. Aim to keep snacks balanced in proteins and carbohydrates to maintain stable sugar levels.

3. Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is often mistaken for fatigue. Water is needed for all the chemical reactions in our body and brain function. Our brain uses 30% of our water intake with 5% dehydration reducing brain efficiency by 30%, and 10% dehydration reducing it by 50%.  You may have thought your lack of focus was due to being tired or stressed when the main contributor was dehydration!

It is recommended you have 39 mm (0.6 ounces) of water per kilo of body weight.

4. Consider the acid/alkaline balance of the foods you eat

It is a widely known fact that western diets are highly acidic due to the high number of meats and processed grains we eat. High acidic levels will contribute to fat deposits around the stomach and increase the risk of disease in the body.

Starting your day with lemon juice in water or a green vegetable juice is a great way to bring alkaline foods into your daily diet. Other alkaline foods are papaya, apples, pineapple, blackberries, raspberries, lemon, grapefruit, lime, cranberry, passion fruit, kiwifruit, cherries, citrus fruits and green vegetables.

5. Exercise according to stress levels and mix it up!

It’s important to factor in your current stress levels when working out your exercise regime. If you are stressed and not getting enough sleep, then choose yoga and meditation with a good diet over exhausting yourself with an intense workout. An intense workout when you are highly stressed will only contribute to high cortisol levels and stress on your body. On the other hand, if you have a bit of stress and need to shift that mood, then punching a boxing bag or going for a run can be the best medicine!

When stress levels are normal and you are ready for a good workout, choosing the most effective exercise depends on your own physiology and exercise history. The body becomes efficient at any one movement pattern; therefore to keep getting results in weight loss and fitness improvements, you want to keep changing your exercise regime.