Change Unhealthy habits

There are three things that have to happen to successfully change a habit. The first is that you must make the decision to change. When you make a decision, you are affirming to yourself that you are willing to go to any lengths to make your wishes come true. This means that you will need to completely eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary. When you say “I’ll try to do my exercises,” you are leaving an open door to not doing them. Then in your mind, if you don’t do your exercises, that’s okay because you only said you would ”try” to do them. If you want to successfully change your habits to live a healthier life, you cannot leave an open door to your old habits. You need to just do it, just make a decision and not look back.
The second thing is to act “as if.” Whenever you change what you are doing, it will feel unnatural. It may feel like you are doing something wrong, funny, or something that is just not you. In a way you are right. When you change a habit, you are by definition acting in a way that is ‘just not you.’ But in a very short time, it will feel normal and it will seem strange that you ever acted any different. Changing habits is like starting a new job, the first couple of weeks are stressful and disorienting, but if you just hang in there, you will feel at home before you know it.
The third is to work on yourself every day. The highest demonstration of a healthy and growing self-image and self-esteem is the commitment to work on yourself each and every day. You experience an elevated consciousness when you realize your power to step up to your greatness or default to your weakness with every challenge, distraction and decision. Working on yourself with consistency and persistence connects you to your inner wisdom and inner strength to become unstoppable.

Read the labels

Learning how to read food labels is like looking at a prescription for your health and your life. We recommend looking for red-flag ingredients— if a Hall of Shame ingredient is listed among the top five ingredients overall, steer clear!

Just about every packaged food made in the U.S. has a food label indicating serving size and other nutritional information. The “Nutrition Facts” food labels are intended to give you information about the specific packaged food in question. Measurements of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals are calculated for a “typical portion.” But, reading these labels can be confusing. Below are some explanations of its components.

Get your sleep

Sleep expert and President of the American Sleep Research Institute Lynn Larson explains that the link between sleep and decreased longevity is due to the immediate effect lack of sleep has on human performance. Missing sleep leads to poor decision making and affects everything we do: rushing when we should be methodical, forgetting important procedures, loss of attention (such as when driving), not having the energy to exercise, poorer reaction time, higher stress levels, elevated blood pressure, and inability to adapt to change. These things lead to accidents in the short term, and poor health in the long term.
Research at ASRI suggests that the amount and quality of sleep we achieve has profound effects on wellness. Nightly sleep is critical for proper function of: the brain, immune system, endocrine system, digestion, as well as for energy, recovery from injury, and restoration of health. The lifestyle changes explained throughout this website are all intertwined with sleep. Sleep gives us the energy, the will, and the foundation to accomplish these changes.
Approximately 100 million Americans struggle with difficulty sleeping. If you have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, there are some “tricks” to improve the situation. To some extent, insomnia can be like the old expression about fear: there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Sometimes, just the fear of not being able to sleep causes enough stress to keep us awake. Don’t worry, these guidelines should help.
Sleep is like a good meal. It must be at the correct time and well anticipated; it helps to be hungry, the food should look, taste and smell good; your surroundings should be pleasing; and you should have plenty of stress free time to enjoy it. Make your bedroom as inviting as that meal and you will sleep better.
Don’t look at the clock. Studies have shown that looking at the clock during the night increases insomnia. You will sleep more if you ignore the clock when you wake up during the night.
Leave work at the office and don’t take it to bed with you.
If you wake during the night – do not think! Mental distraction is the name of the game. Try counting backwards from 100. The first times that you try this technique you might count from 100 two or more times. It’s OK. Eventually you will fall to sleep at about 95. You are training yourself to stop thinking about problems and to fall to sleep instead. It will take time to learn this good habit.
No caffeine after dinner. The half life of caffeine is about four hours.
Alcohol makes you doze off quickly, but after it metabolizes it will interrupt sleep later in the night.

Serving Size.

Serving sizes are based on the amount of food people typically eat, which makes them realistic and easy to compare to similar foods. This may or may not be the serving amount you normally eat. It is important that you pay attention to the serving size, including the number of servings in the package and compare it to how much you actually eat. The size of the serving on the food package influences all the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. For example, if a package has 4 servings and you eat the entire package, you quadruple the calories, fat, etc. that you have eaten.
Calories and Calories From Fat. The number of calories and grams of nutrients are provided for the stated serving size. This is the part of the food label where you will find the amount of fat per serving.
Nutrients. This section lists the daily amount of each nutrient in the food package. These daily values are the reference numbers that are set by the government and are based on current nutrition recommendations. Some labels list daily values for both 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets.
“% Daily Value” shows how a food fits into a 2,000 calorie/day diet. For diets other than 2,000 calories, divide by 2,000 to determine the % Daily Value for nutrients. For example, if you are following a 1,500 calorie diet, your % Daily Value goal will be based on 75% for each nutrient, not 100%.
For fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, choose foods with a low % Daily Value. For total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, try to reach your goal for each nutrient.
Ingredients. Each product should list the ingredients on the label. They are listed from largest to smallest amount (by weight). This means a food contains the largest amount of the first ingredient and the smallest amount of the last ingredient.

Label Claim

Another aspect of food labeling is label claims. Some food labels make claims such as “low cholesterol” or “low fat.” These claims can only be used if a food meets strict government definitions.

Quit smoking

Smoking throughout the day is akin to living inside a burning building. Smoking degrades the collagen of your skin causing premature aging, destroys the cells inside your lungs, and promotes heart disease, cataracts and cancer because of the oxidizing radicals released into the blood stream. It can contribute to back pain by dehydrating the spinal discs.
People stop smoking every day and so can you. Some people find acupuncture to be very helpful at reducing cravings and many people have used nicotine patches for the same reason. But these are not as effective as your unswerving, absolute commitment to do whatever it takes to not smoke today. Just limit your not smoking to today only. You can tell yourself that you can have a cigarette tomorrow if you just make it through today. Tomorrow morning when you wake up, tell yourself the same thing.
There are many addicts who have successfully kicked their alcohol, heroine or cocaine addictions this way.
Kicking any addiction is tough. You can expect to feel stressed, anxious and irritable at first. To expect anything else is unreasonable. But you can also expect that over time it will become easier and easier to not smoke.

Love others

Although you may have never seen a doctor write a prescription for daily doses of “love,” best selling authors such as Deepak Chopra M.D., Bernie Siegal M.D., and Dean Ornish M.D. all write about the healing properties of love. Dr. Ornish says, “love may be the greatest of all disease-fighters, and it’s about time doctors realized it.” Dr. Ornish, a pioneer of wellness, has extensively researched how diet, exercise, and stress management can help to reverse heart disease symptoms. His book, Love & Survivalexplains how loneliness can ruin the body, while experiencing a sense of community and love can have healing effects.
Sharing love is the most powerful force of nature, whether it’s with a pet, a friend, or a significant other. Experts stipulate that loneliness and social disconnect result from our increasing attention on technology and work. Regarding ailments such as heart disease, Dr. Ornish says that “the real epidemic isn’t physical heart disease. It’s spiritual heart disease: loneliness and isolation.”
It is amazing but true that the easiest thing in the world to do to improve our own health and wellness is to express our love for ourselves and for others. It doesn’t cost anything and it doesn’t have to take much time. The benefits of love are beyond measure.

Turn off the television

There are three major trends in the health of both children and adults that have public health workers concerned: an increase in obesity, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and the amount of time spent watching television. Several recently published research studies indicate that television may be the culprit that leads to both of the others.
Watching television leads to obesity in two ways. First, every hour that you spend sitting in front of the television, is an hour spent being inactive. Kids should be outside running around, riding bikes and playing with their friends. Adults ought to be involved in hobbies and community activities. Sitting in front of the tube results in burning fewer calories and a reduction in overall metabolism. Also, a number of studies have shown that people who watch television just eat more food.
Watching television also has detrimental effects on the brain’s cognitive function, especially in kids. Studies published by the American Academy of Pediatrics have shown that children who watch more than two hours of television per day struggle more with aggressive behavioral problems, difficulty in concentrating, sleep disturbances and a dramatically increased risk of alcohol consumption as teenagers. Although most studies have been conducted on children, other studies have shown that the results are just as valid for adolescents and adults as well. These negative effects can be explained by understanding the effect television has on the brain.
Broadcast television in the United States has a particular frequency of flicker that cannot be seen, but which has an effect on brain function. A number of studies measured brain wave activity in people while they watch television. During these studies it was noticed that the brain waves in people watching television were similar to people who were in a trance. This trance-like state is associated with a decrease in the function of the cerebral cortex – the critical thinking part of the brain. When people are in this trance-like state for several hours per day, it becomes more difficult to focus their attention and control their impulses.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children watch no more than two hours of television per day, and it would be better to reduce this even further. Many health experts are now encouraging parents to completely eliminate watching television for children under the age of seven, by which time their brains have the chance to develop a bit more.

Advanced citizenry

Being an advanced citizen means that you dedicate some of your time, your thoughts and your perspectives to a cause that you believe in. This may be something as simple as volunteering a few hours every month to visit with senior citizens in the local nursing home, perhaps becoming a mentor to a child, or becoming active in your local government. Whatever it may be for you, by making your feelings known, you shape the world for the future generations. Your ideas are more important than you may realize, so please participate in your local, state and national organizations, and add to the process with your own individual slant. The more that all of us do this, the more we’ll develop a world which we can all be proud.
Each of us has a sphere of influence, a circle of friends and acquaintances who need to hear our message. Whether you decide to do something small or great, please accept your share of the responsibility for moving our society ahead. If we all invest our own special something, the net effect will be a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life for us all.

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