In June, I gave a presentation to a group of accountants at the Hyatt. The subject? How to slim down, power up and improve overall health and wellbeing.
I’ve written about health for a long time, for publications like the Calgary Herald (where I had a heath column for three years) and magazines like Chatelaine and Maclean’s.
So when I was asked to speak about health, I decided to talk about some of the top tips I’ve received from the experts — the advice that I incorporate into my own life and am always yakking about to friends and family.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, not only to share the advice but also to give you the heads up about a wicked presentation tool called Prezi. I won’t try to explain it, but you can check out my Prezi here to see what it’s all about. Just hit the arrow at the bottom to scroll through or hit the home icon at the top of the pop-up menu on the right side to see it from afar.
Now, back to the advice. I grouped the seven tips into two categories: things we should all do a little less of and things we should all do a little more of. I based it all on interviews I’ve done with health gurus like Andrew Weil, John Berardi, Sam Graci and Dr. Oz.
Without further ado, here are the 3 things we should all do a little less of:
- Drink booze. We all know alcohol has some downfalls, like containing empty calories, fueling drunken eating sessions (not to mention decisions) and being hard on the liver. But what really caught my attention was a series of studies that came out a few years ago and linked alcohol to cancer. The most comprehensive came from the World Cancer Research Fund and said that, ideally, we would all avoid alcohol. If we must drink, the organization recommends sticking to one drink a day for women, two a day for men.
- Eat salt. Studies show that Canadians consume way too much salt and that roughly 3/4 of it comes from processed foods — not the salt you add to your own foods. That’s why it’s important to avoid packaged, processed foods and stick to whole, homemade foods as often as possible. And a little trick for when you’re eating out, a la Sam Graci: ask the chef to add no salt to your entree.
- Eat white food. Andrew Weil says that consumption of white flour and sugar is driving today’s obesity epidemic. So, it makes sense that his No. 1 weight loss tip is to stop eating all things made with white flour and sugar (or to reduce what you consume, as best you can).
And the 4 things we should all do a little more of:
- Eat a high-quality, high-protein breakfast soon after waking. Eating a good breakfast first thing in the morning means you kickstart your metabolism and set yourself up for success throughout the day. Ditching high-sugar foods like cereal and instant, flavoured oatmeal is a good idea, as is adding good proteins like eggs, cottage cheese and lean turkey. Studies have shown that protein-rich breakfasts encourage greater weight loss and a smaller waist size. Tim Ferriss is a big believer in breakfast and adheres to the “30 within 30” rule: 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking. That’s a lot of protein, but it’s a good way to remember that incorporating protein at breakfast is key.
- Eat veggies. John Berardi once told me he eats 10 to 15 servings of veggies a day. Impressive stuff. I’ve always tried to emulate his veggie-eating ways, by doing things like making a big green salad for breakfast and topping it with eggs or using grated veggies as “noodles’ in pasta dishes. (I’ve written about that before here.)
- Lift weights. Strength training, whether with actual weights or just your own body weight, is so important. It’s good for building and maintaining muscle mass, it burns calories well after you’ve finished exercising and it gives your body that toned, strong look. Dr. Oz stresses that strength training is extra important as we age, because we produce less muscle-building hormones.
- Sleep. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours a night and enlist the help of some sleeping tools, if need be. I use the Philips dawn simulator to wake up and I often use a sleeping mask to fall asleep. One tip: hide the mask before you have house parties, otherwise your friends will discover it, think it’s hilarious and hijack it for pictures. See evidence in the Prezi. Or just see below:
And that’s all, friends. I hope you were able to glean one or two helpful nuggets from this crazy long blog post. If not, I hope it lulled you into a restful sleep — something we all could use a little more of, anyway.