“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
This is the second blog focusing on the body in our 3 blog series Mindy, Body and Soul…Here are 5 simple steps to improve your body’s health.
“Mens sana in corpore sano’” is a Latin phrase, usually translated as "A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body.” Taking care of our bodies is as equally important as taking care of our minds. It helps us maintain a healthy and clear minded awareness of how we feel.
STEP 1 – EAT WELL
Food is fuel. It is important to keep your body full of the right things! Focus on natural, wholesome, and varied foods to nourish you and meet your daily caloric requirements.
If you are living in Whistler as a seasonaire, I understand it isn’t always easy getting good food into your diet. Groceries are expensive and having such a spontaneous lifestyle can sometimes lead to a lot of food wastage and a short space of time to cook healthy meals. I have found it helpful to do the following:
Buy food that lasts a long time. For example, stock up on beans and lentils, dried herbs, grains, frozen fruit, nuts, and eggs.
Buy fresh vegetables and cook them either the same day or the next. (This way you have quick meals prepped.)
I usually freeze meat until I need it, so it doesn’t go to waste. (I tend to spend a little bit more on meat and vegetables because I have made it a priority of mine to be more conscious of the food that I put into my body.)
A quick reminder about priorities: if having money to spend on alcohol or your next big night out is higher on your list than spending an extra couple of dollars on organic or antibiotic-free meat or fresh vegetables, then this could be an example of a change you could make in both your priorities and budget.
Here is a sneak peak of some of the information on my Nutritional Guidelines for my personal training clients.
CLEAN EATING: The Basic Principles.
EAT WHOLE FOODS
Whole foods are defined as “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances.”
Eighty percent of the food in our grocery stores didn’t exist 100 years ago. If we didn’t eat it then, we shouldn’t eat it now! Instead, we should eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
Processed foods are “food that has been packaged in boxes, cans, or bags. They often contain additives, artificial flavorings, and other chemical ingredients.”
READ the ingredients label. (If it contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable words, you should reconsider before buying!)
ELIMINATE REFINED CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGAR
Refined refers to “forms of sugars and starches that do not exist in nature. They do come from natural whole foods, but they have been altered in some way.”
Get MOTIVATED (Challenge yourself to go “sugar-free” for 2 weeks.)
DON’T eat or buy packaged food. Instead, make your own snacks at home. (You will save money, plastic, and be healthier.)
One of the most important things you can do to help you eat well is being organised with meals. If you don’t have meals and snacks on hand, making decisions becomes hard! This often leads to going for something quick and easy, which isn’t usually something healthy. Keep your cupboards and fridge full of healthy options and plan ahead, so you know what you are going to eat for that day and the following week. If meal prepping isn’t for you, just think about your meals and snacks whilst at the supermarket and purchase accordingly!
STEP 2 – SLEEP LIKE A BABY
As you sleep your body regenerates. We need 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night! Avoid using any electronic devices, caffeinated drinks, and heavy, rich foods after 6 pm. Try reading a book instead!
“Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting.” – Dr. Matthew Walker (Sleep Expert and Neuroscientist)
Here’s a few interesting facts from Dr. Walker about the effects of sleep deprivation:
If you are dieting, but not getting enough sleep, 70% of all the weight you lose will come from lean muscle, not fat. Our body becomes resistant to giving up fat when it’s under-slept.
If you’re getting 6 hours of sleep or less, you will reach a physically exhausted state 30% faster.
People sleeping 4 - 5 hours per night will on average eat 200 - 300 extra calories each day. (This equates to 70,000 extra calories each year, which translates into 10 - 15 lbs of extra body mass.)
Click here for the Podcast
STEP 3 – EXERCISE DAILY
Move your body. Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones.
Find something you like to do that is active. For example, you may enjoy skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, or snowshoeing in the winter. In the summer, you can hike, climb, or swim. Being active doesn’t always have to be the gym! However, sometimes these fun activities don’t target every muscle. In order to maintain overall strong muscles and bones, it is important to work out your whole body. Training in the gym is a great way to insure you target neglected muscles and give yourself a full body workout. If you cross train in the gym while still practicing an active hobby like the ones listed above, it can make working out more enjoyable because you will feel the positive impact it has on your other activities.
STEP 4 – HYDRATION
Your body is comprised of roughly 60% water. Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body.
Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Drinking it helps maintain the balance of bodily fluids, energize muscles, and flush out waste and bacteria. Often hunger is a signal that we are thirsty. The next time you’re feeling hungry, think about when you last had something to drink. This can help you feel full and avoid grabbing an unnecessary snack.
Read more about the benefits of drinking water here
STEP 5 - FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
Making a commitment to lead a healthier lifestyle holds great rewards. You’ll feel better in everything you do! Everyone knows ways in which they could change their lifestyle in order to be healthier, but we don’t always have the motivation to make those changes.
How do I get motivated?
Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little boost to get things done. Remind yourself WHY you want to get healthy. Say it out loud or write it down. Tell yourself the benefits, e.g., “I am going to the gym right now because I want to get fitter.”
Break Down Tasks
By breaking down your day into smaller chunks, things can become easier to deal with and you often end up with more time than you think! For example, “I have work until 2 pm, then I am going to have lunch and read my book. Then it will be time to head to my Group Fitness Class at 4 pm.” Planning your day ahead can help you prioritize tasks and get things done, while still leaving plenty of time for general life duties!
Make Activities Fun
If you are dreading an activity or task, it can be difficult to start. Find a way to make it more exciting. For example, work out with a buddy! Find a gym partner and help motivate each other. Or put together a gym playlist with all your favorite workout tunes to motivate you whilst in the gym.
Give Yourself Breaks
Too much work can make you less productive. Schedule occasional breaks and allow yourself time to rest in between tasks. This will help to avoid burnout and make you more productive during activities.
Tell Yourself “You can do it!”
Positive affirmations throughout the day can help you push yourself to do what you need to do. Remember you can get this task done if you put your mind to it!
Find an accountability partner - someone who checks in on you from time to time to see how you are doing with your goals. Ask a friend, colleague, or hire a personal trainer. Having someone to answer to other than yourself can sometimes give you motivation to get things done to avoid disappointment or failure.
Following these steps is the easiest and most effective way to make your life healthier and probably happier! Making positive changes to the way you treat your BODY after or whilst preparing your MIND for fitness, will lead you to a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, some of these tips overlap with my previous blog. This emphasizes the importance of each of them and the many benefits they have!
I would like to remind you that in order to make a long-term, maintainable change to your lifestyle, you must remember that it is a process that will take time and require some effort. These changes can be made one step at a time, so don’t try and do too much at once. Making drastic changes often leads to unsustainable ones!
Yours in health,
Robyn Carney - Personal Trainer
firstname.lastname@example.org | 604-932-1984 | @robyncarneypersonaltrainer