Fresh Start Solutions
Are your New Year's resolutions already a thing of the past? Reinvigorate your body with these healthy habits, foods, and five essential supplements
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Ever wonder why why those resolutions we all make turn to mush by February? Maybe we’re making the wrong kinds of resolutions-like promising ourselves to stay on a very strict diet or promising to jog an hour a day. If you’ve fallen off the resolution wagon, it’s time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again-the right way. Focus on building habits of living that will improve your life.
Sleep accomplishes a lot of important things, metabolically and hormonally. When you disrupt the natural rhythms of sleep, you play havoc with many important biological processes, including the replenishment of biochemicals and the release of important hormones (such as melatonin and human growth hormone). Recent studies show that even a small amount of light during sleep throws off your natural circadian rhythms, disrupting appetite, potentially leading to weight gain. Try to sleep between 6-9 hours a night, uninterrupted, in the dark.
Feast on “Real” Food
Afraid of “real” foods like meat and eggs? Here’s why they should be part of your diet:
Grass-fed meat. There’s nothing wrong with eating meat, but there’s everything wrong with eating “factory-farmed” meat, loaded with hormones, antiobiotics, steroids, and way too many inflammatory omega-6s. Grass-fed meat has none of those problems, plus it contains a cancer-fighting fat called conjugated linoleic acid.
Eggs. They’re nature’s most perfect food and one of the best sources of protein on the planet. Do not throw out the yolk-it contains valuable nutrients for the brain and eyes.
Work out smarter … and harder!
Long, slow, mindless aerobic exercise is not a particularly productive way to get in shape. But you’ve never seen a flabby sprinter, have you? Short bursts of high-intensity training are the current rage, and with good reason. In circuit training, you go through a series of exercises with little or no rest in between, and in interval training, you alternate bouts of high-intensity exercise with “active rest” (slowing down just enough to bring your heart rate down a bit). Both methods build muscle and burn fat way better than an hour on the treadmill.
Supplements for a Strong Foundation
Here are my personal five favorites:
Omega-3 fatty acids. All three of the omega-3 family of fatty acids-ALA, EPA, and DHA-have health benefits. You get EPA and DHA from fish oil, and ALA from flaxseed oil and other vegetarian sources. You can take either oil-or a combination of both-but if you are only getting your omega-3s from flaxseed oil, be sure to take at least a tablespoon for every 100 pounds of body weight.
Vitamin D. New studies show the extraordinary range of benefits associated with vitamin D-from fighting cancer to improving mood, physical performance, and immunity. The vast majority of Americans have less than optimal levels. It’s hard to get vitamin D from food, so supplements are the way to go. I recommend 1,000-2,000 IUs daily.
Magnesium/ Calcium/ Multimineral. Calcium isn’t effective for bones if you don’t have the proper amount of vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutrients. Buy a high-quality multi-mineral. A bone support formula will likely include vitamin K, boron, and/or silica.
Multivitamin. The foundation of any supplement program, a high-quality multiple is good insurance!
Probiotics. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in your gut that help support digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and the immune system.
Eat Real Food (and less of it)
Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, says, “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not so much.” No matter what diet you follow, make sure most of it comes from food without bar codes. And here’s some stunning news: you don’t need nearly as many calories as you think you do. Most women will lose weight (or maintain it) on 1,250-1,600 calories, and most men will do fine on between 1,500-2,000. Cutting calories by about one-third is also one of the best strategies for living longer.
In my book, The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, I identify four processes that age us systemically and contribute to every major disease. One of them is stress. It weakens your immune system, makes every disease worse, and can make recovery difficult if not impossible. Stress is also associated with weight gain around the abdomen. Take a four-minute deep breathing break, or go for a walk after dinner. Take a bubble bath. Read a Danielle Steele novel. Whatever it takes, find a way to lower your stress-or at least manage it. Your body will thank you many times over.
nutrition NOW multi-vites adult gummy vitamins Made with natural flavors and colors, these high-quality multivitamins are a fun and tasty way to get some nutritional insurance.
peter gillham’s natural vitality natural calm plus calcium Get your calcium and magnesium in the proper ratio with this powerful powdered supplement. Take before bed for quality shut eye.
nordic naturals omega probiotic contains a blend of fish oils and probiotics that work together to boost immunity and enhance overall health and vitality.