a special feature from Debra Orringer*, Nutritionist & Health Coach
Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Yep…Spring is in the air, and no doubt you are just dreaming of the days ahead as they lead into the next season and bring forward a trove of blissful possibilities. But, what good is it all if you don’t or haven’t taken time to take care of you – the real you – the one you see in the mirror every single day. With the months behind us of a holiday season long gone, and those promised new year’s resolutions, you might ask yourself, “Remember I said I was going to…” Well, that’s just the point here. Don’t be so hard on you, because every day is a good day to start anew, start fresh, and change habits that are counterproductive to your health and living.
We seem to put these enormous pressures on ourselves that often sets us up for failure as opposed to success. Just understand this: being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, and I mean it truly.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking to yourself that you feel great and your clothes are perfect looking so why continue to read if you don’t feel you need to change? Here’s a couple of things to think about….
Our bodies and minds are a delicate machine that need to be recalibrated often. We brush our teeth daily to keep them at their healthiest, we get our oil changed in our car every so many miles to keep it running efficiently, and we shower daily so we stay as fresh as we can. This concept is best applied to all of us throughout the year.
We don’t need a New Year or a new week or even a new day to get back on track for a healthier you. You have the power to change whenever and how ever you would like. Remember putting an emphasis into a healthier lifestyle doesn’t just mean food or fitness; there are other factors in play here too. Our financial health, for example, which is closely tied to our career fulfillment. Have you ever looked at your social life and the strength and health of your relationships? When we blend all of these topics together the question becomes, “How can we infuse health and happiness into our lives as a whole?” Enjoy these eight tips on how to feel better from the inside out:
- BREAKFAST – How often throughout our lives have we been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day by our mothers. Well, they were not wrong. Moms are never wrong! To think about it logically, if we have been sleeping for seven to eight hours, our body has been in a period of fasting. Our bodies are rested and ready to refuel. What you fuel your body with at the beginning of the day really helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. Do you start with high sugar, processed cereals, or do you start with some eggs and maybe steel cut oats with walnuts and blueberries? If you start with a power breakfast, you will have a powerful day both mentally and physically, where as if you start with a sugar rush, this will lead to a sugar crash and then a rollercoaster of energy throughout the day. Which sounds healthier to you?
- SLEEP – Sleep is a part of life that assists with the “rest and digest” phase of seven to eight hours. So often in our lives we are on the go. We run from place to place, always connected via our smart phones or computers and never have any downtime. When we have this sense of urgency the majority of the time, our bodies are in a constant state of stress. Chronic stress is not good because our bodies are then in a continuous state of “Fight or Flight” and we need that “rest and digest” that we get from sleep to reset our bodies’ systems and release those heart healthy hormones.
- HYDRATE – Hydrating or getting enough water is something we also hear over and over. But how much water should we really get? Think about this equation, “Half body weight ounces water daily”. So if you weight 150 pounds you would want 75 ounces of water. If you exercise daily, then add 20 ounces for every hour of fitness. If you don’t feel like counting ounces, an easy rule of thumb is to make sure your urine is clear, the darker yellow the more dehydrated you are. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness and even confusion. Our bodies need healthy blood flow to feed oxygen to the working muscles and organs. So, drink up!
- MOVE MORE – According to the American Council of Sports Medicine, we should all be moving at least 30 minutes every day. That doesn’t have to be a formal gym workout, because that doesn’t work for everyone. But getting off the couch and going for a walk with friends or doing some gardening can be fun. If you want to give back to the community, there are a lot of events that can keep you moving and helping out at the same time. Community garden cleanups, soup kitchens, charity walks to raise money, and walking with a furry friend are all examples of ways to keep active.
- BREATHE – This may be a little repetitive, but as a society of people constantly on the go, how often do we take a moment to recognize our precious, present moment? Most of the time we are thinking of the next appointment we have to get to or the next event we are planning. Simply taking ten minutes a day to sit in a quiet space, breathing and erasing the noises of the mind will help bring an awareness back to our bodies and brains, releasing those feel-good hormones that help to fuel our bodies and our brains.
- SUNLIGHT – Sunlight can be intoxicating in such a delightful way. Moderate amounts of sun exposure help our bodies to metabolize Vitamin D. Vitamin D in the body has many benefits. Vitamin D works in conjunction with calcium in the body and calcium helps with bone strength. Lower blood pressure and improved brain health are two more benefits of the sunshine. Sunshine also helps with mild depression as sunlight helps to metabolize some natural antidepressants in the body and brain.
- CROWD OUT – We know that eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods is a key to nutritional health. A good practice to make sure you get the good and avoid the bad is to crowd out the ‘bad for you’ foods. This means to fill up on bright, colorful, whole foods which will make less room for the bad. The more colorful your plate, the more nutrients you will get. The more nutrients you get, the easier job your body has to maintain its health.
- SOCIALIZE – Socializing can be both a gift and a curse. The key here is to surround yourself with people that fill you up as opposed to those energy vampires that can drain you. Socializing doesn’t have to be a food and alcohol type of deal either. Think about some of the points above and use those to help you socialize. Get moving with friends; volunteer for organizations and meet more like-minded people. Take a painting class or even a yoga class.
Having said all that, it can seem overwhelming so why not start with one of these tips, and focus on that for a few weeks before adding in something else. The goal is not all or nothing; it’s about taking small steps now and incorporating healthy habits into your life for the years to come.
Try this breakfast to help start the day with a healthy bang:
Salmon and Avocado Omelet
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
2 slices smoked salmon
1/4 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Beat eggs in a small bowl.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, turn heat to low, and cook for 3-5 minutes until eggs are mostly cooked.
- Distribute salmon and avocado evenly across the eggs.
- Use a spatula to fold the omelet in half and cook 30 seconds on each side.
“Health is a vehicle, not a destination.”
Spring Yourself – 8 Tips for a better you inside and out! is an exclusive feature for Grandparentslink.com by Debra Orringer, MS from Naples, FL, a Board Certified Health Coach and a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with over 20 years in the industry. She has managed the wellness programs at the Kennedy Space Center as well as consulted for several national fitness companies, authored articles, and retains a myriad of advanced level certifications. Debra produces a weekly nutritional blog at www.DebraOrringer.com, and can be reached at DebO@DebraOrringer.com