Gain more energy. Reduce stress. Lose a few pounds.
Who among us wouldn’t benefit from at least one of these positive life changes? There’s no way around it: lasting change requires a long-term commitment to a healthful lifestyle. At the same time, everyone loves instant gratification.
Use the following lifestyle blueprints to build habits that make a difference, and bolster your success with targeted quick tips.
Gain more energy. Reduce stress. Lose a few pounds. Who among us wouldn’t benefit from at least one of these positive life changes? There’s no way around it: lasting change requires a long-term commitment to a healthful lifestyle. At the same time, everyone loves instant gratification. Use the following lifestyle blueprints to build habits that make a difference, and bolster your success with targeted quick tips.
4 Immediate Stress Busters
When you need instant stress relief, try one or more of the following quick remedies
Gain More Energy
Most of the time, a lack of energy is directly related to your daily habits. Caffeine and herbal stimulants can provide a quick boost of energy to help you power through when you need it, but use them judiciously and work instead on building real vitality.
How to Build Your Energy Reserves
For optimal vitality, think of building energy in the same way that you build your bank account: make regular deposits of nourishing foods, rest, appropriate exercise, nutritional supplements, and tonic herbs, and watch your energy grow.
- Eat for Energy For steady energy, trade bad carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, white rice) for good (vegetables, fruits, whole grains) and eat plenty of protein and healthful fats. Pairing carbohydrates with protein (even while snacking) prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes. If you tend to skip breakfast and eat a heavy lunch, try instead eating a substantial protein-rich breakfast to provide fuel for the day and a lighter lunch to prevent afternoon fatigue.
- Get Plenty of B’s B vitamins are essential for metabolizing nutrients into a usable source of energy. Whole, unprocessed foods (such as legumes, beans, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products) contain
B vitamins. A 25 to 50 mg B-complex vitamin provides extra support.
- Rejuvenate Your Cells Energy is dependent upon the healthful functioning of mitochondria, the structures within cells that convert fats, proteins, and sugars into energy. Researchers have found that a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine (500 mg) and alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg) helps restore youthful functioning to mitochondria, resulting in increased physical and mental energy.
- Energize with Exercise Exercise is a proven energy booster. Even a brisk 10-minute walk stimulates sluggish circulation and delivers fresh oxygen to your brain. If you exercise regularly—30 minutes a day five times a week—you can expect improved endurance and energy within a few weeks. The key to building energy through exercise is moderation, because overdoing it can cause fatigue.
- Get More Sleep Most people need seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to feel energetic and alert. For the most restful sleep, set a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night. If you need help regulating your sleep cycle, take melatonin for up to a couple of weeks.
- Boost Energy with a Chinese Tonic Cordyceps, a fungus that grows on Tibetan caterpillars, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat fatigue. (In the 1992 Olympics, Chinese athletes attributed their wins to cordyceps.) Researchers believe that cordyceps increases oxygen delivery to cells, which improves endurance and energy. Take 2 to 3 g of Cordyceps with meals; you should see results within two months.
Cut Back on Stress
There’s no doubt that stress takes a serious toll on physical and emotional well-being. The body responds to stress by releasing hormones that provide a surge of energy and strength to withstand a temporary crisis. Under chronic stress, however, these same hormones trigger inflammation, knock back immune function, elevate blood pressure, hinder digestion, and impair mental clarity.
Lifestyle Suggestions for De-Stressing
It’s impossible to eliminate all sources of stress, but you can protect yourself from the detrimental effects on your body and mind by adopting a few stress-busting habits.
- Diet Tips for Stress Reduction To buffer your body from the effects of stress, increase your intake of potassium while lowering the amount of sodium in your diet. This protects the adrenal glands, which are critical players in moderating your stress response. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the richest dietary sources of potassium; set a goal of 7 to 10 servings every day.
- Get Extra C, Magnesium, and Zinc Vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc are essential nutrients for supporting adrenal health. Get at least 500 mg of C, 250 mg of magnesium, and 20 mg of zinc either from diet or supplements every day.
- Exercise in the Morning Regular exercise is a terrific way to burn up accumulated stress hormones. Exercising in the morning is even better, because it triggers the release of endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals that help to keep stress at bay.
- Chill Out with Yoga or Tai Chi The focused, meditative movements and deep breathing of yoga and tai chi immediately relieve stress. With regular practice, expect a calmer mind, relaxed body, and better sleep.
- Bolster Stress Resistance with Adaptogens Herbs known as adaptogens can protect your body, improve your mental functioning, and help your body adapt more easily to stressors. Try eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng) ashwagandha, or rhodiola, all of which are proven to strengthen resistance to stress.
Lifestyle Suggestions for Weight Loss
Diets don’t work for most people. Our bodies and minds don’t take well to deprivation, which is why most people end up fatter after dieting. What does work: strategies to increase metabolism.
- Don’t Starve Yourself If you eat too few calories, your body goes into survival mode, lowers metabolism, and hordes fat. Load your plate with high-fiber, low-calorie, nutrient-dense vegetables and legumes, accented with moderate servings of lean proteins, whole grains, low-sugar fruits, and healthful fats. You’ll lose weight.
- Choose Beverages Wisely You can knock hundreds of calories off your daily intake by avoiding soft drinks, juices, and fancy coffee drinks. Instead, make water your beverage of choice. Make it more interesting by choosing sparkling water with a twist of lime, or try a naturally flavored no-calorie bottled water. Herbal teas are calorie-free, and there are many wonderfully combined flavors made by Yogi Tea and Tazo. Green and black teas are also free of calories.
- Make Exercise a Top Priority Regular exercise burns calories, regulates appetite, and steps up metabolism even when you’re at rest. Plus, exercise tones muscles so that you’ll look great. To lose weight, work up to 45 minutes of activity at least five times a week and make sure to include strength-building exercises, because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.
- Keep a Diary Carry a small notebook and write down everything you eat and drink. Studies have shown that people who keep food diaries eat about 15 percent less than those who don’t. If you prefer an online option, visit mynetdiary.com, an online food diary service (with a minimal fee) that allows you to enter meals and snacks and then tallies your calorie, fat, and nutrient totals.
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Stevia With zero calories or carbohydrates, this natural herbal sweetener is a dream come true for dieters. The sweetness of stevia comes from glycosides, which improve the metabolism of glucose (the body’s source of fuel).
4 Metabolism Makeovers
If you want to give your metabolism an extra nudge, incorporate one or more of the following suggestions into your weight-loss program.
Instant Energy! 4 Quick Tips