One sure-fire way to improve your body image is to improve your overall health. Getting in better shape, eating healthy foods, and generally practicing a healthy lifestyle is your best bet for feeling good about your body. However, if you’re like us, you’re overwhelmed by the plethora of measures you can to take to improve your health. That’s why we asked our experts to narrow down the list for us. Check it out below.
1. Change your mind to change your body. You must first adopt an attitude of gratitude for the body that is uniquely you. Learn to love the body that shows up when you consistently take action on getting your body as healthy and as fit as possible to suit your lifestyle. —Rico Caveglia
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2. Breathe! Every metabolic function in our bodies requires lots of oxygen. Nothing is more important for mental and physical health than supplying our bodies with maximum amounts of oxygen. I recommend taking a yoga/breathing class to learn deep breathing exercises. —Rico Caveglia
3. Drink more water. Water ought to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Drink more of it and you’ll reap all kinds of body benefits. Your skin will be softer, your complexion clearer, you’ll eat less, your hair and nails will stay hydrated and you’ll feel more energetic throughout the day. Most active people need one half their weight in pounds of ounces of water per day. —Rico Caveglia
4. Eat real food. You are what you eat. In order for your body to look and feel its best, it requires the highest quality fuel. Real food is what is grown in nature; organic fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds and healthy animal products raised naturally without hormones and chemicals additives. —Rico Caveglia
5. Eat at home. You must avoid restaurants and highly processed packaged foods and prepare the vast majority of your meals to be healthy. —Rico Caveglia
6. Move it or lose it. Regular movement consisting of; aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises will give you an energetic, fit, healthy looking body you will be proud of. —Rico Caveglia
7. Recharge your batteries. Take time-outs daily to just be still and let go of the thoughts of your daily activities. Be sure and get enough sleep every night; 7-8 hours. Learn to meditate and be grateful for all that you have in your life. —Rico Caveglia
8. Eliminate. We require one to three bowel movements per day to be healthy and to fully eliminate all of the waste products from our daily metabolic functions. Distended stomachs quite often are due to a clogged up colon. I highly recommend consulting a holistic/integrated medicine or naturopathic doctor if this is a challenge for you. —Rico Caveglia
9. Slow and steady wins the race. You want to get healthy, not skinny. Do not go for the gimmicky diet fads, but rather choose healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower fat proteins. Try using smaller portions. —Brenda Deere
10. Less is more. When beginning an exercise program to lose weight or re-shape your body, don’t immediately jump into the frame of mind that more is better. Find some activities you truly enjoy. For me, it’s swimming, bicycling and walking. Then, start slowly. A five-minute walk is better than no walk at all. —Brenda Deere
11. You are not alone. No one is completely happy with their own body image — not even the top models, who usually feel (and are told) that they need to look almost anorexic to stay in the modeling field. Yet even these models are not happy with their self-image and think they are too fat … Dangerous, don’t you think? Make your goal a reasonable one. —Brenda Deere
12. Don’t compare. Try not to compare your body with those of others around you. Heredity does play some role in our body shapes. You know deep down that you actually love parts of your body, be it your eyes, hair, feet, or hands. Pay more attention to those and remember to remind yourself daily of those parts of you that you like best! —Brenda Deere
13. Sleep tight. Be sure to get eight hours of sleep every night. If weight loss is one of your goals, research has recently shown that the weight will come off more easily if you get enough sleep. —Brenda Deere
14. Stand up straight. This takes practice, but the straighter you stand, the better it is not only for your spine, but you actually look better and more confident which leads you to feel better and more confident. —Brenda Deere
15. Be grateful. Remember that the function of your body is to move you through this world! When you are feeling low with poor body image, say to yourself, “I can walk. I can reach. I can hug. I can lean over.” In other words, be grateful for the good things your body does for you and try loving it for those things. Start a body gratitude journal, and add something to it every day. —Brenda Deere
16. Fake it ’til you make it. Behave as though you love your body just the way it is. Don’t put off doing activities like going to the pool because you feel everyone will be staring at you. Believe me, they’re too worried about what they look like to bother thinking much about you. —Brenda Deere
17. Eat three meals a day or small, frequent meals throughout the day. Ever wondered why you may feel irritated or lightheaded? You may be dehydrated or have low blood sugar. Perhaps it’s the lunch you skipped over to get extra work done … —Lorina Shinsato
18. If you are going to have a meal or snack, make sure it has adequate protein. Protein allows one to have sustained blood sugar levels, as opposed to a pastry that leaves you hungry in half an hour. —Lorina Shinsato
19. Hydrate! Experts say to drink your half body weight in ounces. Others say to drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water. Well, when the thirst reflex kicks in, you are already dehydrated. Keep a stainless steel water bottle with you, refill it often and sip it throughout the day. It will keep your complexion clear, your mind sharp and more energy to boot! —Lorina Shinsato
20. No more Splenda! Avoid refined sugars, high fructose corn syrups, and artificial sweeteners as they are made from chemicals and our bodies cannot process these adequately causing more inflammation in the body. —Lorina Shinsato
21. Avoid MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer in junk foods and some Asian dishes that causes headaches and interferes with your nervous system. —Lorina Shinsato
22. Refrain from eating fast foods. There are many hidden artificial fillers in these foods and many may contain antibiotics, hormones, or pesticide residues that you don’t want in your body. Whole, fresh foods give way to cleaner energy and a clearer mind. —Lorina Shinsato
23. Eat wild caught fish and avoid farmed fish. Did you know that farmed fish are often injected with dyes to enhance the color of the meat? Farmed fish also do not have high omega fatty acid content (healthy fats that are anti-inflammatory) and may have other chemicals due to the nature of farm fishing. Choose fish that are lower in mercury content. Mercury builds up in our bodies over time and then interferes with our nervous system functions including poor memory, decreased mental clarity and increased perception of pain. Check out www.ewg.org for a handy chart! —Lorina Shinsato
24. Eat organic and local as much as possible. Support your local farmers, decrease the fuel consumption it takes to get the food to your table and oh, it tastes better too! With every bite, you are helping reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides used in agriculture and creating healthier environments. Visit the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit group dedicated to the power of information, http://www.ewg.org website for tips! —Lorina Shinsato
25. Think positive! Do you know it takes about 12 positives to counter a negative? Wow, what hard work it is to reverse negative thinking. We should focus on what is going right in our lives and allow that to flow. —Lorina Shinsato
26. Practice the attitude of gratitude! End the day with a gratitude journal listing three things you are grateful for. It is like a light-switch to positive thinking. We create our realities based on what we focus on. —Lorina Shinsato
27. Negate negativity. Negativity affects every thing you do in life. Always look for the best in every situation and get rid of the “negative vampires” in your life. Hang around positive people. We all need all the help we can get. As it relates to health, an attitude such as, “I will do whatever it takes to have the best health and body,” will always lead to positive changes. —Mark Dilworth
28. Stay motivated. What motivates you to get healthier? Having the right motivation will help keep your attitude positive. —Mark Dilworth
29. Stop sabotaging. Do you have limiting behaviors? Are you sabotaging your health, fat loss and weight loss efforts? For example, if you are trying to break bad eating habits, why do you keep junk food and sugary foods in your kitchen pantry? If its there, you will eat it. You have to believe you can change and really want to change. —Mark Dilworth
30. Forget fad diets. Healthy, managed nutrition is critical for a healthy body. You need a meal plan you can maintain over time. Fad diets and starvation diets cannot be maintained. You quickly regain the weight when you begin to eat regularly. —Mark Dilworth
31. Build muscle; burn fat. Regular strength training and interval cardio sessions are a must if you want to change your body. Fat loss is more important than weight loss. When you continue to build muscle mass and burn fat, your body will change to lean and toned.
This will also speed up your metabolism because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle mass. A faster metabolism helps you burn more calories during the day, during workouts and at rest. This is the main key to help keep you from regaining weight. —Mark Dilworth
32. Adopt an active lifestyle. Walk as much as possible every day. The health-related benefits are numerous when you remain active on most days. If you have a “sit-down” job, move more. When you sit, your fat-burning enzymes basically shut down. When you stand during the day, those fat-burning enzymes go to work for you. —Mark Dilworth
33. Exercise, too. You can be skinny and still be fat and unhealthy. If you just lose weight without exercise, your body has not changed to lean. And, this can lead to yo-yo weight loss and weight regain. —Mark Dilworth
34. Healthy lifestyle habits produce a healthier body. This is a no-brainer. If you get adequate nightly sleep, limit excessive stress, don’t smoke, limit excessive alcohol consumption, exercise regularly and eat healthy you will have a healthier body. Practice these type of healthy habits on most days. —Mark Dilworth
35. Seek professional help. You may need professional advice in certain areas of your life. A personal trainer can help you visualize success and individualize your fat loss and nutrition program. Its hard to change your body all by yourself. You may also need help with things such as depression.
And, a full physical exam will show you where your health stands. You can start taking positive steps today to improve your health. Don’t procrastinate!
Be sure and download your FREE 7-Day Fat Loss Jumpstart e-Course, which shows you how to totally remake your body a healthy and lean fat-burning machine!
Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Her Fitness Hut