This is the first segment in the six week series on Energy Management.
The subject of this blog will be the E for Eating well and Exercising
There is no question in my mind that when you feel better physically you feel better mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It extrapolates to all areas of your life and helps you to build momentum. The physical is the foundation on which all other aspects of your life are placed. To feel better physically you must be eating well and moving your body. No matter where you are starting from or how many years of bad habits you have behind you can change your body and life through small steps.
Basic eating well guidelines
Eat whole foods such as grains, fresh veggies and fruits.
By ingesting foods that trigger a less inflammatory state we can improve our health and energy and decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and premature aging. Research has shown that many of the age related diseases as well as much of the normal process of aging is triggered by inflammation. Diet can influence this inflammation. The food choices we make can kick us into a pro-inflammatory state or an anti-inflammatory state. Knowing which foods trigger inflammation will arm us with the education needed to avoid them and possibly prevent some age related diseases.
The three main components of any diet are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. There are specific guidelines to follow in our consumption of each component that can help us to decrease the level of inflammation in our system. The two diets most commonly linked to increased health, vitality and longevity are the Japanese diet and the Mediterranean diet. These diets follow the anti-inflammatory theme with inclusion of fish, lots of vegetables, no processed foods and very little red meat. Dr. Andrew Weil discusses this anti-inflammatory diet extensively in his book Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being.
The following rules will help you to avoid unhealthy fats that lead to inflammation:
- Never eat products with partially hydrogenated oil
- Don’t use vegetable shortening
- Do not eat margarine. Use butter or olive oil
- Avoid fried foods in restaurants
- Minimize the use of polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn or sesame oil
- Never heat oils so they smoke
- Use extra virgin olive oil
To choose healthy carbohydrates do the following:
- Know the glycemic index for foods and gravitate towards those with a low glycemic index. This means less bread, potatoes, crackers, chips and pastries and more grains, beans and vegetables.
- Eat less refined and processed food
- Eat less fast food
- Eat fewer things made with white flour
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup
To ingest protein that does not promote inflammation do the following:
- Eat less meat
- Eat more vegetable protein like soy, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts
- Eat fish that is low in toxins
Other Eating Tips
- The easiest way to follow this diet is shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. All the real food, the good stuff is on the outside.
- Also do everything in moderation. Have a cheat day one day a week (I pick Saturday) where you can eat whatever you want. It is so important to not deprive ourselves of the things we love.
- Drink water about 64 oz per day for the average women. That is 3 large water bottles worth per day.
- Eat every 4 hours to stabilize blood sugar.
Basic guidelines for Exercising
Move. Simple yet effective.
I started doing an exercise system called Tabatas that are great to boost energy when you are crunched for time. Dr. Tabata from Japan devised this system that can be applied to any cardio workout or exercise. You go hard for 20 seconds and slow or rest for 10 seconds and then go hard for 20 seconds and slow or rest for 10 seconds. This makes up one minute of exercise repeat x 4 and each Tabata takes just 4 minutes.
I have adapted this interval routine to a cardio workout on the stationary bike, holding a plank position or doing squat presses. You can really take almost any cardio or resistance exercise and do it as a Tabata. If I choose 3-4 exercises I can have a very productive workout in 12-16 minutes. This very effective interval training keeps your metabolism kicked up for the day.
The other issue with exercise is motivation you need a big enough why to do this and make sure the why is compelling for you. Saying you want to healthy is not enough. What is healthy? What does healthy mean to YOU. It must be compelling and move you whether it is looking great for the 50 year grad reunion or being able to chase your grandkids make it something tangible in the near future that you really really want.
Action Steps for Eating Well and Exercising
- This week try eating broccoli, apples, blueberries and tomatoes at least once. These foods are high in phyto-nutrients and do not promote inflammation in your system.
- Drink 3 sport water bottles full of fresh clean pure water per day (approx. 64oz)
- Make a commitment to move your body for 20 minutes at least 4 times this week.
- Try a Tabata it only takes 4 minutes.
Make sure you go easy on yourself. Lean in to your wellness. Set rules that work for you and your schedule.
*Please consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program
Come back next week when I will discuss the second component of the Energy Management system, Living in the Now and being Mindful.