Eight years ago I was a junk food addict. The delivery drivers from Papa John's and the Chinese food joint could have found their way to my house blindfolded. You could say that I ordered takeout with such frequency that my dialing finger practically started to evolve into the shape of a phone key.
I was sloppy, blotchy and bulging out of my jeans. I was constantly either tired or wired and you could have literally played 'connect the dots' with a crayon on my face; I had a ton of zits.
Today I am slimmer than I have ever been, healthier than I have ever been and, although I am 36, I often get 'carded' when going into bars as I am taken for over TEN YEARS younger. I also no longer have acne. It's true, every word.
I don't diet. I don't count calories and rarely go hungry. In fact, my cholesterol numbers could win me awards. Oh, and I have been this way consistently since I made the change - eight years ago. Annoying? I know.
The thing is - it's so easy, its laughable. In addition to some form of simple exercise regimen, these ten daily habits worked into your routine can provide you with optimum health, beautiful skin and a trim waistline. It's not a diet; I didn’t read it anywhere. It's really just common sense that no one seems to follow.
1. White is Not Right: Having a love affair with white bread, white potatoes and white rice? Kiss them goodbye. Although you were taught otherwise, breads and cereals made from white flour are not good for you. White flour simply breaks down into sugar. Not only is too much sugar bad for you, you ultimately crash as quickly as you peak and therefore you are hungry again in no time! Guess what. You eat more and more until you fall asleep. In the morning, you wake up and have a muffin and start the process all over again.
Avoid 'enriched flour' products. Always stick to brown products: whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and brown rice, etc. It's better for you, will keep you satisfied longer and - you won't have that 'puffy' look in your face (ladies, you know what I mean).
2. Green Tea - Youth in a Glass: Apart from being exceptionally tasty - drinking green tea could be likened to drinking from the fountain of youth. It's probably the best thing you can do for your body on a regular basis. It is jam packed with antioxidants and is known to fight cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, infections and strengthen immune function. Try to drink around 3-5 cups a day, add a twist of lemon for extra zing.
3. Go Nutty for Nuts: Remember I said it's not a diet? Stop worrying about nuts being fattening; forget calories. Scientific evidence suggests (but does not prove) that eating a handful of nuts daily will give you less probability of heart disease. Nuts are rich in fiber, and antioxidants and high in Omega 3 (the good fats shown to lower LDL cholesterol). Personally, I have a handful of walnuts, almonds, pecans and 2 Brazil nuts each morning, with my coffee. (Yes, I do drink coffee).
4. Get Smiley with Omega 3: I mentioned it briefly above. You can get Omega 3 from nuts, various vegetables and most importantly fish such as herring, mackerel, sturgeon, and anchovies. You can also take them in supplement form. What will it do for you? Well, where do I start? It’s a natural anti-inflammatory for preventing arthritis, prostatitis and cystitis, for starters. It boosts your brain function and your intelligence; improving memory, recall, reasoning and focus. It's recommended highly for children too. It wards against depression and generally raises your mood and if that wasn't enough, it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and reduces the chance of blood clots. Last but not least, it also reduces the chances of breast, colon and prostrate cancer. All in all, daily intake of omega three should raise your life expectancy significantly and make you feel happy, pappy and much less wacky, which can't be bad.
5. Avocado is your Best Friend: You are probably thinking right now, this whole list is full of fat (!!). It is - but it's GOOD FAT. And, if eaten in proportion, it won't make you fat; that's a promise. I eat half an avocado every day. Avocado is considered the world's healthiest fruit, because of its nutrient contents such as vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C and copper. Health benefits include lowered chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer's disease; keeping you young, fit and fabulous. Need I say more?
My next five rules are not about food, but habits. Here goes:
6. Reverse your Meals: Most people don't eat breakfast, have a sandwich for lunch and gorge on a big dinner. This my friends is waistline suicide. Its been said a million times before, but eating a big breakfast, a smaller lunch and a tiny dinner will do WONDERS for your jean size. Also, try not to eat after 9pm. Can you possibly imagine the joy of going to bed on a stomach that is not bloated or having to concentrate on digesting that rack of lamb you just ate? For one, you will sleep better and secondly, you'll wake up with a healthy appetite. Can you remember the last time you were really hungry? It's a wonderful feeling.
7. The 80/20 Rule: Eat healthy 80 percent of the time - the other 20 percent - eat whatever the hell you like (but not after 9pm). The whole point of eating well for the long term (your whole life) is knowing that you can also have whatever you want sometimes and that yes, a little bit of what you fancy really does do you good. So - how about eating healthy Monday to Friday and saving the fun for the weekend? Works for me.
8. Visualize Yourself as Perfect: I believe in the power of the subconscious mind. Think of yourself as a sophisticated machine. If you only put the best possible ingredients into that machine body, it will work flawlessly. Concentrate on this image and enjoy the knowledge that you are running at your optimum. It's exciting. It will also inspire you to keep at it, daily.
9. Exfoliate your Skin: Getting a facial scrub and using it twice a week can take YEARS off your face, really. Removing all that dead skin hanging around, you'll be stunned. Dark patches, grey areas… scrub it away for a fresh face you won't recognize. Try it and see. Men, you too. Ladies, try sleeping with coconut oil on your face at night. Put it on half an hour before you go to bed so that it sinks in. It won't give you zits and it will make your skin look AMAZING. You can buy it in any health food store.
10. Love Yourself - with a Passion: This is so corny, but it's really at the core of everything. Being happy with who you are, embracing life with a smile, getting excited about the little things can take YEARS off of you. It shows in your face. Love your life, love your spouse, appreciate everything you have. Wake up and get excited to be alive. If you can't do it naturally, fake it until you make it - You will make it. Look at the faces of people around you. Find two people of the same age with drastically different approaches to life. Chances are, the one with the brighter outlook looks years younger. Try it and see.
So, those are my tips for looking great, feeling great and being great.
It works. Simple as that.