This Is Your Chance to Get It Right This Time

This Is Your Chance to Get It RightOf course, you are skeptical. If you have ever tried to lose weight or get in better shape, you know how hard and frustrating it can be to continue with your regimen when the desired results don’t happen fast enough or you keep falling back into old habits after some time.

Don’t give up just yet. Over a period of only 12 weeks, you can take a number of small but essential steps to bring you back on the path of optimal health and well-being.

Follow this series of 12 short articles and find out how you can reach and stay within your ideal weight range, manage your stress, get rejuvenating sleep and enjoy life as it should be. What do you have to lose – other than a few pounds perhaps?

Week One: Back to Basics
Most weight loss and fitness programs fail over time. That’s just a simple fact, and many of us know it from personal experience. A lot of folks begin to make positive lifestyle changes, but then fall off the proverbial “wagon.” A large percentage give up altogether. My advice is: Don’t keep an all-or-nothing attitude. Of course, setbacks happen. But failures also offer a chance to start over.
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Week Two: A Healthy Lifestyle Is First of All a Matter of Awareness
Most people don’t develop unhealthy habits intentionally. We don’t smoke cigarettes in order to get lung cancer or eat ice cream to get fat. However, many of us willingly take such risks and accept them as a trade-off between instant gratification and long-term effects. In order to break bad habits, we have to replace them with better ones. Since habits – especially the bad ones – evolve insidiously and over time, it is not advisable to apply radical solutions or seek salvation from a “miracle pill.” So don’t expect quick fixes.
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Week Three: Not All Foods Are Created Equal
Studies on public health issues routinely agree that today’s most common health problems are substantially nutrition- and lifestyle-related. Unfortunately, with all the diet fads around us, many of us are ever more confused about what to eat and what to avoid. I want to offer a different set of recommendations…
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Week Four: The Dying Art of Home Cooking
In our busy lives, home cooking is often considered a chore, if not a nuisance. That is a shame, because the ability to prepare our own food is not only useful, but also an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s a myth to think that all cooking comes down to hard labor. There are plenty of recipes available for quick and tasty meals that can be followed by anyone, even with only a minimum of effort and skill.
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Week Five: Connecting the Dots Between Stress and Eating Disorders
There are strong indications that stress can significantly influence lifestyle choices and eating habits. When coping with acutely stressful situations, our bodies use up nutrients much faster than when we are relaxed and at ease. While stress increases the need for fuel consumption, it simultaneously depresses the ability to absorb nutrients, because normal digestive functions are largely suspended. If the digestive system remains in a stress-induced state of impairment for too long, it can give cause to serious malnutrition.
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Week Six: The Importance of Sleep for Your Health
Sleep is a significant health concern and just as important as nutrition, exercise and stress management. Unfortunately, more and more people find it necessary to cut back on their sleep. The consequences for their health and quality of life can be devastating. Clinical studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation can be a contributing factor to a number of lifestyle-related illnesses – among them obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
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Week Seven: Dining Out
Even the most health-conscious lifestyle must be able to incorporate special occasions every now and then. Having lunch or dinner in a nice restaurant should be a pleasurable experience, unspoiled by guilt or regrets. True, you have less control over the chef’s cooking techniques and styles when you eat out. But with a little knowledge, you can identify the better choices everywhere you go. In most places, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for certain modifications when you place your order, such as lighter salad dressings or certain dishes to be omitted or served on the side.
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Week Eight: Health and Happiness – How They Connect
Are people who are generally more upbeat and happy also more healthy – or is it the other way around? Is there at all a connection between health and happiness? Numerous studies have been conducted on this subject, but no scientific evidence has ever been established either way. What has been shown in clinical trials, however, was that participants with a predominantly positive attitude had on average much lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) than those whose outlook was rather pessimistic and downtrodden. No surprise here!
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Week Nine: The Importance of Taking Breaks
Scientific research has shown that the human brain performs at its best when it is stimulated. We all experience that our minds function better and longer when we do something that interests us and that we enjoy. Just think, for example, how much time and energy you are able to spend on your hobby or your favorite sport. By contrast, staying focused on something you don’t like or find boring is much harder. By giving yourself time to daydream, fantasize, experiment or simply rest once in a while, you can tap into the sources of your ingenuity and creativity and utilize them for your benefit.
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Week Ten: What You Must Know Before You Detox
Many cultures around the world and throughout history have known and practiced the art of detoxification as a form of enhanced cleansing of the body – and also the mind. By contrast, practitioners of Western medicine have not yet come to a universal consensus over the actual health benefits or potential dangers of detoxing. Skeptics argue that the natural propensities of the human body are self-sufficient enough to eliminate toxins without outside help. But there is also a growing trend in today’s medical community that is more open to acknowledging the benefits of pro-active detoxification.
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Week Eleven: Staying Motivated and Getting Support
Deciding to make positive lifestyle changes, like going on a diet or a fitness regimen, is the easy part. Staying on for the duration is not. Most of us have good and valid reasons for aborting our well-intended efforts. There can be serious obstacles. It is not unusual for people to find the odds stacked against them when they try to improve their lives. Most of us are already overburdened with hectic schedules and endless to-do-lists. Carving out a health-conscious lifestyle can feel like mission impossible. Any program or regimen worth signing up for must take these real-life challenges into account.
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Week Twelve: In a Nutshell…
Having a healthy lifestyle is not a matter of following strict rules. Rather, your guidelines should be variety, balance and moderation. I tell all my patients that “nothing is forbidden, but everything counts.” In a nutshell, healthy living is all about enhancing our awareness and making health and wellness promoting choices – not about guilt or deprivation.
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