Step 1 – Diet
Yes, it is an old cliché, but you are what you eat. Your skin, eyes, weight, looks and even your emotional state are influenced by what you eat. Eat rubbish, and you’ll feel like rubbish, and that is what you’ll project to the people around you. This sounds hard, and many of you will not believe this to be true, but the fact is that if your diet does not consist of a well rounded, nutritionally balanced intake of good quality food, sooner or later your body will reflect this.
So what is a well rounded, nutritionally balanced diet?
Diets come in all shapes and sizes. Everyday we read or hear about another miracle diet that will loose us those extra kilos, make us look a million dollars and so on… Unfortunately, most of these diets do not work, at least not for the majority of people who try them. This is not always the fault of the diet, but often this is due to the fact that the celebrity who is promoting this diet has a completely different lifestyle to the one we have. They can afford to spend hours in the gym, have personal trainers and have the cash to buy the high quality foods, vitamins, herbs, etc.
Another aspect is time pressure. Often it is a lack of time that prevents us from doing what we know we should be doing, but simply do not have the time to do. Or do we?
According to the AC Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day! Now that is a lot of time that could be invested into more productive activities.
So let’s look at what you should be eating.
The first thing is, do not go on a diet. Yes, that’s right, do not go on a diet. Rather look at what you are eating and make better choices. First, stop purchasing highly processed foods like TV dinners and the like, stop buying junk food during the day to have a quick lunch or even to substitute a sound breakfast. It does not take any longer to cut up a banana and add it to some natural yogurt together with some oats, nuts and grains, than it does to get into the queue at your local fast food outlet. The quality of food however is as different as day and night. The natural breakfast will provide you with much higher nutritional value than anything you can get from a fast food outlet.
Secondly, when doing your shopping, focus on buying fresh fruits and vegetables, organic if you like, but that’s not necessary. Focus on making meals rather than buying them already made. Ready made meals have preservatives and other additives you do not need and that may not be good for you. Stick to making the meals yourself. Take some of the TV time and invest it in your health.
Thirdly, it is better for your body to eat small meals frequently rather than one large meal at night, as so many of us do. Remember that you do not need a lot of energy to sleep, but you do need energy to tackle your day-to-day activities. It is therefore best to eat the largest meal of the day in the morning and decreasingly large portions subsequently during the day. Use fresh fruits and nuts to provide you with healthy, quick little snakes that will sustain you during the day. Come dinner-time, make meals that are light and easy to digest. There are hundreds of books out there that will provide you with recipes that are easy to make, healthy and of high nutritional value.
Finally, keep this in mind when preparing meals. Use small quantities of many foods. For example, try to exceed 15 different fruits and vegetables every day. This does not mean you need to eat 15 pieces of fruit/vegetables, but rather small portions of more than 15 wholesome foods. In a muesli for instance, use rolled oats, dried or fresh banana, apple, pears, berries, add different nuts such as almonds, pecans, hazel nuts, walnuts, add a handful of pine seeds, raw oats, raisins and sultanas. Then, when making your salad use lots of different vegetables, don’t be afraid to experiment. You see how easy it is to achieve variety of over 15 different foods in anyone day. In addition, don’t forget to have fish 2 or 3 times a week.
Yes, it’s a change in the way you are used to doing things, but these sorts of changes are exactly what is needed if you want to achieve that ‘body beautiful’. Are you prepared to pay the price? If not, don’t bother reading on. If yes, then there are some additional steps you can take to bring you closer to where you want to be.
Step 2 – Exercise
Err, I hear you say. Not that again. I don’t have time to go to the gym… I hate going to the gym… Well, so do I, but exercise is the one thing that will keep your body fit and help you to achieve the physical well being. Don’t go to the gym unless you feel comfortable in that environment and you like being there. There are equally good ways you can get exercise all the way through your day, without necessarily taking time out to go and do exercise.
How? Easy. Park your car a block or two away from the office, shops, or where ever you’re going and walk the extra distance. You’ll probably find it easier to find a parking spot and that is reducing your stress levels already.
At the office, walk over to a colleague instead of sending them an email or texting them. Take the stairs to walk up to your office. When it comes time for lunch, take it, go outside and take a little walk.
At home, maybe you could go for a walk after dinner instead of watching the box or sitting in front of the computer. Not 3 hours, 30-40 minutes is all you need to help strengthen your cardio-vascular system. Your skin will look healthier, your body will feel healthier and guess what, you’ll actually start to look healthier too. This is all you need to do to get started. If you want to get fitter and maybe increase your muscle tone, you might want to re-think the gym idea, or some other form of exercise you enjoy. This is the key YOU MUST ENJOY THE EXERCISE other wise you will not continue to do it for very long and any little reason not to do it will be good enough.
It may take you a bit of experimenting to find out what form of exercise you do like. Maybe it’s riding a bike, swimming, yoga, tai chi, bush walking or mountain climbing. Or maybe it is playing a sport such as tennis, squash, football or what ever. They key is to find something you like doing, that way it is no longer exercise it’s become a hobby.
At this point there is another sub-key, if you like and this is the adequate intake of water. Our bodies require 2 litres of water each and every day to function normally. If the body does not get 2 litres of water, it will start to become de-hydrated. Dehydration is very subtle at times and may be not obvious to you, but you will start to get dry skin, possibly become constipated and the body will not like you for neglecting its needs. Sooner or later it will let you know one way or the other. So, don’t tempt it, give it what it wants and make sure you consume at least 2 litres of water daily, more if you do physical work or exercise vigorously. Remember that water helps to flush out toxins from your body, which are better off out than in and you will feel better for it.
Step 3 – Skin care
Yes, skin care is important. Your skin is the defence between your external environment and the inside of your body. It performs a vital function in protecting you from harmful substances and microbes and it help in the elimination of toxins as well as in temperature regulation.
A daily skin care regime is vital for a healthy, vibrant appearance and should be followed by men and women alike. I’ve covered this topic in detail in an other article, which is entitled ‘Daily Skin Care Regime – Why is a Daily Skin Care Regime Important?’ however, let me reiterate the most important steps. The key steps in a daily skin care regime are: Cleansing, Toning and Moisturising. On a weekly basis you also need to include exfoliation and possibly using a deep cleansing clay mask to rid your skin of excessive dead skin cells and remove the deep seated dirt lodged in the pores of your skin.