October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is a good reminder for us busy ladies to take a moment and focus on our health. Women are so busy juggling careers, children and homes, just to name a few. We can get caught up in the day to day grind and push our health and maintenance aside.
Let’s put you front and center and let’s take care of YOU!
Here are 10 tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. First and foremost, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the following are the American Cancer Society’s Recommendations on breast cancer screenings:
Women with an average risk of breast cancer – most women – should begin yearly mammograms at age 45.
Women should be able to start the screening as early as age 40, if they want to. It’s a good idea to start talking to your health care provider at age 40 about when you should begin screening.
At age 55, women should have mammograms every other year – though women who want to keep having yearly mammograms should be able to do so.
Regular mammograms should continue for as long as a woman is in good health.
Breast exams, either from a medical provider or self-exams, are no longer recommended.
Still, all women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a healthcare provider right away.
For more information visit The American Cancer Society.
2. Keep up with your screenings.
Medical exams and screenings by a physician are recommended routinely to screen for other diseases and disorders. Some of these will be screening for other cancers, monitoring and screening your blood pressure, cholesterol and thyroid to name a few.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
This is probably the MOST important thing you can do for yourself to live a longer and healthier life. Being overweight increases your chances of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing problems and osteoarthritis to name a few. In my years in practice as a physician assistant, I personally see this on a DAILY basis. I’m not saying that all overweight people have these problems, but it certainly increases the risk if not now, then eventually. Because I deal with this daily, this is one of the primary reasons I created Refine YOU, my online fitness and nutrition company. I want to impact and change as many lives as possible by helping my clients regain control by regulating hunger, regulating hormones and losing fat. The Refine YOU Program is a reasonable, doable lifestyle change with a jump start at the beginning.
4. Drink plenty of water.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners, sodas, etc. Everyone should be drinking at least half their body weight in ounces of water daily. A tip I like to tell my clients is, every time you pick up that water bottle you should take 8-10 gulps of water before you put it back down again.
5. Maintain a healthy body composition.
This is along the lines of maintaining a healthy weight, but takes it one step further. Maintaining a healthy body composition means less fat and more lean muscle. This is for adults of ANY age. There are many benefits of having more lean muscle mass with strength training. Having more lean muscle improves your metabolism which means you will burn more calories at rest. For every pound of muscle you gain, your body can use about 50 extra calories per day. Building muscle also protects you from injury to your bones and your joints. Not only does a lean, tone body look better, but it also allows you to live a longer more independent life as you age.
6. Eat clean.
Refined grains (processed food, bread, chips, crackers, wheat) are unnecessary in our diet for fiber or nutrients. We can get all the fiber that our bodies need from fruits and vegetables. Refined grains are made up of lectins, gluten and phytates which cause mild to severe inflammatory reactions in our bodies. These reactions can affect our thyroid, digestive tract, immune system and liver. Gluten is the one we hear about the most but they are all unnecessary and can be harmful. If we cut refined grains out of our diet it decreases our risk of problems such as diabetes, heartburn, hypertension and helps us get rid of pesky stubborn fat. Dairy products commonly contain hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and GMO’s. They also contain a high amount of carbohydrates and lactose that can cause sensitivities.
7. Your nutrition should focus on the Macro nutrients and portion sizes.
In my opinion, this is the KEY to maintaining a healthy weight and body composition. Your body composition is 80% what and how you eat and only 20% exercise, sleep, stress and other factors. This is NOT just counting calories. This has more to do with what makes up the calories you are eating… the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat (macro nutrients). Eating enough protein will help you feel full and encourage muscle growth. Keep in mind, not all fats are bad for you! A diet higher in healthy fat in combination with lower carbohydrates, will stabilize your hunger hormones and encourage your body to burn fat for energy and not be dependent on carbohydrates for energy. Once you are dependent on fat for energy you will also have the added benefit of not have the energy fluctuations during the day. To learn more about what Macros are and why they matter, check out my blog.
8. Get enough sleep.
The lack of enough sleep may affect your body in more ways than you realize. It puts you at risk for weight gain and puts more stress on your body which will increase cortisol and will put you in fat storage mode. It can increase your hunger by affecting your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) and affects your mental state by increasing risk of depression, impairing judgement, makes you forgetful and makes you foggy. The lack of sleep will also cause you to look older and we all don’t want that!
9. Keep your mind active.
Studies have shown that you may delay the development of dementia and memory loss as you get older by keeping your mind active. Having a hobby that you enjoy, doing stimulating puzzles, playing games, reading books and learning new skills are great ways to keep your mind active and healthy.
10. Keep the stress low.
Stress has a negative effect on your mind, body and spirit. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that the more stress you have and the longer it lasts, the worse it is on your body. Reducing your stress levels can not only make you feel better now, but helps protect your health long-term. Some strategies the APA suggest to reduce stress are: identify what’s causing the stress and get rid of any tasks that are not essential, build strong supportive relationships, walk away when you are angry, rest your mind by participating in yoga or relaxation exercises, and get help if needed.
My career as a physician assistant in healthcare is something that I enjoy tremendously. This extends to my company Refine YOU and The Refine YOU Program. I get great joy in helping clients who want a change. Most of them are struggling to lose fat, they have tried this or that program and/or supplement with no results, they have hit a plateau and they struggle with low energy and feeling hungry all the time. They just want lasting results, they want to feel better, and they want to be healthy… Refine YOU has the answer by providing them a customized program to help meet their specific goals and one that fits their lifestyle.