Investors tout the maxim, pay yourself first. But a far more valuable resource than money could vanish if you fail to tend it well. This advice applies to investors of all ages and incomes, and takes precedence over how you manage finances. Regardless of how well you heed the savings advice, money can come and go. And no amount of wealth can substitute for wellness.
Above monetary self-care, nourish yourself.
Proper nutrition offers mental, physical and emotional energy. Productivity skyrockets with a well-fueled machine. Immune boosting foods reduce income losses due to illness. Here are some tips to balance a healthy diet for improved stamina, focus, and mood.
1. Feed yourself first.
Skipping breakfast won’t save time or reduce your waistline. A fueled engine works faster, and your brain needs an early sip of energy to perform well. Mistakes, poor concentration, slower performance and interpersonal conflict occur more often when working on empty. A lack of regular nourishment also sends the body into starvation mode, so the metabolism slows down to store more calories. Breakfast reassures the brain and cranks up the metabolism for regular functioning.
Optimal morning fuel prepares the body without overloading it. If you’re baling hay, training for a marathon, or fighting fires, the massive country breakfast platter suits you well. Those planning to engage in less physical activity should reduce their carbohydrate intake. Lean protein optimizes focus and fresh produce boosts immunity.
If eating first thing doesn’t agree with your stomach, try gradually introducing small portions or drinking a smoothie. A mid-morning protein snack can add in the extra calories after your tummy settles into the day. Give your body a few weeks to adjust, as the metabolism runs according to an internal ‘clock’ set by your habits. As your eating patterns change, the ‘clock’ eventually recognizes when to trigger hunger and prepare to receive nourishment.
2. Invest in the most beautiful gains.
Would you support a shelter which fed soda, doughnuts, and trans-fat margarine to rescued animals? How would you feel about tossing a cup of salt into your car engine? Many of us tend to our cars and pets more carefully than we feed our own bodies. Healthy humans and animals need appropriate foods at regular intervals. Similar to our vehicles, we need to avoid contaminated fuels to keep our bodies in working condition.
Consider the most desirable outcomes of a healthy body. Aside from looking like a magazine ad, please. Comparison and vanity fail to benefit emotional well being (and usually prove detrimental), so try to think in terms of quality of life. Short term benefits include increased stamina, allowing you to engage in fun activities with others. In addition, your productivity at work could improve your job environment and income. Better health alleviates stress, too. And less days in bed with those viruses going around would certainly improve your year-round lifestyle. Elevated mood makes a huge difference in your overall experience. Long term benefits extend the beautiful gains of nutrition through the roof. Would you trade that pastry or weekend binge drinking for spending your last decade with less medical complications. The value of independent living instead of bed-ridden retirement cannot be measured in food. Better self-care cannot ensure vitality, but statistics indicate it offers an enormous improvement in your chances for a life well-lived for a longer period of time.
Most of us prefer our bodies to have immunity, stamina, and positive emotional energy. Few of us recognize the key is a simple investment in beautiful nourishment. And the trade-offs cost less than many people ever expected.
3. Discover scrumptious nourishment.
After the body resets itself to natural preferences, most healthy eaters lose their affinity for toxic food. The body was created to enjoy great food. We hunger for sweets because fruits bless our systems. We crave carbs because stress depletes seratonin in the brain. Complex carbohydrates (brown rice, whole oats, e.g.) and omega 3 fatty acids (tuna, salmon, olive oil, avocado, e.g.) help the brain regain balance. Omitting the quick, sugary and processed carb snacks keeps us out of the spike and crash cycle which exacerbates mood imbalances.
Healthy food tastes fresh and can be more enjoyable than slimy burgers and greasy fries. Have fun with produce-laden recipes. Berries, almonds, and Greek yogurt cook together for a protein-rich breakfast with the sweetness of crepe filling. Veggies bring color and energizing vitamins. Lean meats blend well with creative spices, olive-oils, and whole-grain sides. Take a cooking class with a friend, or go on a weekly quest to add a new fave to your diet.
You might be surprised to find your trade-off brought you a more scrumptious diet than you’ve ever enjoyed before.
4. Keep your balance.
Plan the appropriate balance of meal sizes to get the calories you need, without heaping on too many. Adult caloric recommendations vary according to physical activity levels. Check with your wellness coach or doctor for personalized goals.
Keep the pyramid in mind. Like calories, carbohydrate requirements fluctuate according to physical activity. Be sure you’re getting enough veggies and protein. Fats and oils, when chosen well and used in proper amounts, benefit the brain and body. Introduce regular calcium doses to keep bones strong, but remember we absorb our nutrients through food better than via artificial supplementation.
4. Hydrate with loving care.
Water cleanses us to detoxify the body. Hydration alleviates muscle aches and cramping, while offering restorative properties. Well-watered skin offers beauty from the inside out. It also settles appetite spikes and helps meet and maintain healthy weight goals. The blood and organs, including the brain owe proper functioning to sufficient hydration. Half an ounce of water per half pound of your body weight offers a rough baseline estimate for daily requirements. This amount increases during perspiration and exercise, or if you have a medical condition requiring additional hydration. Veggies and other water-laden intake contribute to your water needs. The best care can only be offered when you choose to receive it. So love thyself, and thereby drink plenty of water.
What investments can you make in your health this week? I look forward to reading your ideas and feedback!