If you are reading this, then chances are high that you probably exercise, or at least are considering exercise. There are various reasons for engaging in an exercise plan but most people do it either to look better, to feel better or both. While it’s true that exercising will help you to look better, it’s the internal results that really change your life in the long run. Recently Tony and I got the opportunity to scan our anti-oxidant levels. The higher the levels of anti-oxidant levels in your blood the better. Eating well and exercising lead to more anti-oxidants, while destructive behaviors and stress can deplete anti-oxidants. I was really pleased that despite the level of stress that three small children can impart on a home, both Tony and I were in an excellent range. It reels really good to know that our hard work is having an impact that we can’t even see. But just as there are things you can do to improve your health, there are also things that automatically are a negative. Here are some things to avoid if you want to look and feel your best:
1. Smoke: I think everyone knows this. Smoking is so bad for you. Besides giving you cancer, it leaches minerals from your body, gives your wrinkles, depletes your oxygen. I could go on and on, but basically, it’s one of the worst things you could do. And science is starting to show that e-cigarettes are not exactly good for you either. Nicotine addiction is very tough, but you don’t die from the discomfort of withdrawal and you do die from not quitting.
2. Drink excessively: Some studies show that a glass of red wine a day is good for you. You can get the same benefits from grape juice and if your ‘glass’ of wine includes 2 or 3 refills or if you feel incomplete without your nightcap you might be doing your health more harm than good. Besides the negative impact of alcohol on your cells, it is packed with calories and it lowers your inhibitions so that you eat more junk when you’re buzzed. What happens if you go for an extended time without alcohol? If this bothers you overmuch, maybe you should have a look at that.
3. Not sleep: Sleep is not optional. Trust me, as someone who just survived the first year with twins, nobody appreciates sleep like me! Studies show that severe lack of sleep can actually shut down your organs. Lack of sleep produces stress hormones, stalls weight loss and does other bad things to your body.
4. Stress: Stress is terrible for your health. We were built to withstand short bursts of intense stress (like running from a sabre tooth tiger) not the prolonged and agonizing stress of two hour commutes or evil bosses. If you experience stress on a regular basis, you are endangering your health. You need to learn how to mitigate, avoid or stop experiencing the stress as stress.
5. Eat Sugar: Fat is not the problem, sugar is the problem. Sugar is really, really bad for you. This is scientifically proven and the only people who argue it are the sugar producers and the manufacturers who repackage sugar. This is probably the worst thing you can do to your body and metabolism. I can’t underscore how much stress you put your system under by eating sugar or overprocessed carbs.
So at the end of the day, if you are committed to having insides as healthy as your outsides, these are some definite areas of attention!