FIRST OF ALL, START WITH A POSITIVE BODY IMAGE. British singer/songwriter Adele spent the last two years losing 100-lbs. and the remarkable thing was, that wasn’t her goal. Her goal was to beat anxiety, which wreaked havoc with her mind, and exercise worked for her. “I was body positive then,” she said about the time before she lost weight, “and I’m body positive now.” She exercised three times a day, ate well, and arrived in a good place, a great place, because she got healthier. And that’s your goal: not to lose a bunch of weight, not to stick to an unrealistic diet, not to exercise to the point you can’t keep it up. It’s about living healthier. It’s about longevity. You can do it. Here’s how:
EAT BETTER, EAT SMARTER
- Shop Smart, Shop Fresh. That means, when you go to the grocery store, shop around the perimeter, not down the aisles where processed foods line the shelves. You’ll find fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy, eggs, meats, fish are along the walls. Shop fresh.
- Become a Foodie. Educate yourself: go online, to the library, or your local bookstore and start reading cookbooks. Follow your favorite on TV—Gordon Ramsey? Mary Berry? Nigella Lawson? They, and many more cooking celebrities, will show you “how to.” Learning to prepare—and enjoy food—is one of the great pleasures of life.
- Get Snacks. That’s right! You don’t have to deprive yourself to eat healthy. Whether it’s a bag of banana chips or raw pumpkin seed, a handful of almonds, a bottle of organic tea, there’s a plethora of healthy, organic snacks to choose from.
- Listen to Your Body. Eat, but eat smart. Reduce your serving sizes: a rule of thumb for meat or fish is the serving size should be about the sized of the palm of your hand. Sure, you can have a second helping—salad, any fresh fruit or vegetable—and anything else, in moderation…
- What About Ice Cream, You Ask? The secret to successful dieting is not what you eat but how much you eat. Yes, you can have ice cream—but one scoop, not three, and not every day but once a week, as a treat you look forward to. Pizza? Yes! Make yourself a healthy pizza with broccoli, low-fat mozzarella, fresh tomato, and thin crust. Remember, healthy eating is smart eating. Eat smart.
If you have a gym membership, go three or four times a week if you can. Rest between workouts is important because it allows the muscles time to revive. Do you have a treadmill at home? A half-hour a day is transforming—body and mind. Mind? That’s right, when you exercise, your body releases serotonin and melatonin, which improves your mood, increases your energy, and helps you get a better night’s sleep. Above all, the perfect exercise is walking. Twenty- or thirty-minutes of walking outside, every day. You get exposed to sunlight, and the ultraviolet radiation in the sun boosts your endorphin levels, which elevates your mood. Put on sunscreen, wear proper footwear—walking shoes or sneakers that give your arches solid support. Breathe in fresh air and give your lungs a cleansing. And smile. Nothing raises the spirits better than a smile—yours, and the person you smile at!
EMBRACE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
The pandemic has been hard on a lot of people and keeping a positive attitude when you can’t be with family and friends can be difficult indeed. If you used to work in an office and enjoyed the camaraderie of a productive work environment, working at home is a real change, and can be confining and depressing. Pushing yourself to diet and exercise also can be hard. So, what’s the answer? How do you keep a positive attitude? The answer’s in one word: acceptance. Accept yourself. Accept that you are special. Accept that you are worthy. Accept your circumstances and know that tomorrow will be better because you have the power to make it that way.