Take Charge This Summer!
Eat Better, Feel Better, Live Better!
By Dr. Coleen Andruss
Take charge and get to the heart of the matter. Be smart, eat smart, be kind to your body. If you take care of your body, it will take care of you. A healthy body means a healthy mind. Summer-time means kids out of school, family reunions, lake trips, and a 4th of July celebration.With your health in mind, declare your independence from the typical high-calorie, high-fat, non-nutrient dense foods that surround us in the summer. Begin a new summer tradition of clean simple low calorie nutrient dense foods, daily activity, and 8 hours of sleep nightly. Since the kids are out of school, this is the best time to teach them about good habits. That means you need to be the role model. National Childhood Obesity Week occurs during the summer so remember that habits begin at a young age. Keep children on a schedule and keep them engaged in resourceful outdoor activities.
• Eliminate sugar! Eliminate snacking throughout the day. Eating small meals frequently throughout the day may raise metabolism, however, new studies show that if we are constantly feeding our body, even if it is healthy foods, we are never allowing the body to use what we have stored. Force the body to utilize our stored fat as fuel. We must get rid of this dangerous storage fat in our belly. Scheduling meals and avoiding snacking burns belly fat and creates a life-long healthy way of eating, teaching good habits to the entire family. Even fruit which has many health benefits can be detrimental to belly fat if you are grazing on it throughout the day. Encourage water and eliminate carbonated beverages, as carbonation has multiple side effects including weight gain, sugar cravings, bone loss and kidney stones.
• Maximize your protein. Studies demonstrate that people need a minimum of 90 grams of protein daily to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. Studies also demonstrate that dividing the 90 grams into 3 meals of 30 grams protein each with no snacking in between gives us better metabolic energy and is the best for belly fat loss. The rule of thumb is 6 hours between meals and at least 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.
These are ideas to instill in our children this summer. In order for you to teach your children, you must take charge of your own health and well-being. Adopt a healthy lifestyle, stay on top of your preventative care and remain active. According to the World Health Organization, 80% of chronic diseases are preventable, with the major contributing factors being unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, obesity and tobacco use. Research has shown that people who continue to do preventative care save 25% on medical bills.
Taking charge of your health means a better quality of life for you and your family and protection from long term diseases. Take charge and stop tobacco use, minimize alcohol consumption, practice safe sex, eat nutrient-rich foods, get plenty of physical activity, drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily, and find ways to manage your stress. Practice meditation and deep breathing. Tune in to your body so that you can recognize when you are off balance. Take charge of your emotional health. Don’t obsess over negativity. Being healthy emotionally means creating and sustaining a healthy attitude. Stress is a normal part of life and increased alertness, resiliency, awareness, and adaptation are positive aspects of stress. Inability to deal with simple stressors, as well as prolonged stress creates an unhealthy body. Learn about ways to reduce stress. Develop good sleeping patterns, as sleep is critical to survival – sleep deprivation is like starvation!
Take charge of your physical well-being. Studies have shown that physical activity has substantial health benefits in ALL age groups. Physical activity will reduce your disease risk, minimize injury, and allow you to live a higher quality longer life. If you are physically fit, you are more likely to look, feel and do your best – physically, mentally and emotionally. Lastly, take charge of nutrition by eating whole, clean, nutrient-dense foods. Become a master of commitment. Be honest with yourself and show appreciation to yourself by treating your body like a temple. TAKE charge this summer to feel better and live better for the rest of your life.