7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Day

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Updated March 27, 2015. By Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show.

Staying healthy isn’t just about eating a nutritious breakfast or getting in a good workout at the gym. It’s about everything you do from the time you wake up until the time you hit the sack at the end of the day. Below, I’ve offered seven tips to help you stay on track all day long.

1) When the alarm sounds: Focus on joy.

Not me! I mean the things in your life that are good, positive, fun. You know, the things that make you smile and bring you happiness. Here’s what I want you to do: Every morning when you wake up—before you even roll out of bed—spend a few minutes taking inventory of the good things in your life. Your spouse, a fulfilling job, your crazy but adorable children, your friends, how you felt after last night’s Spin class, an upcoming vacation, and so on. This is such a simple but powerful exercise that puts you in the right frame of mind for the coming day, and whatever challenges might lie ahead of you.

2) Before you leave for work: Have breakfast.

Here are a few good reasons to rise and dine: Eating a morning meal helps get your metabolism going. It also helps steady your blood sugar. And, it starts you off on the right foot—when you enjoy a healthy and balanced breakfast, you’re more likely to bypass office treats, candy and other foods that can ruin your diet. If you’re watching your weight, aim for a meal that contains no more than 250 calories and consists of protein and high-quality carbs. This power pair will keep you satisfied and energize you.

3) During the workday: Don’t be a desk potato.

Find ways to be more active throughout the day—that could mean taking a phone call standing instead of sitting at your desk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to chat with a coworker instead of firing off an email. These little movements add up over the course of the day and could translate to extra pounds lost at the end of the year.

4) When you need an afternoon break: Make time for tea.

Instead of heading to the vending machine for an afternoon energy boost in the form of chocolate or chips, make yourself a cup of tea. Unsweetened green or black tea is a great pick because it’s lower in caffeine than coffee, which could interfere with sleep. If you must get your afternoon coffee fix, try a mix of half decaf and half regular to limit caffeine.

5) At dinnertime: Cook at home.

Sure, it’s easy to dial up delivery or dart through the drive through, but you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by firing up your own stove! Cooking at home allows you to control what goes into your meals, which means you also control the calories, fat, sugar and sodium. You’ll also save yourself some cash. And you’ll score some quality family bonding time! Keep in mind, a delicious dinner doesn’t have to be a big affair.

6) After dinner: Close the kitchen.

Avoid temptation by officially closing down your kitchen after dinner. Clean up, turn off the lights and head to another room in the house. This will help reduce nighttime nibbling.  Need a post-dinnertime distraction? Try a workout video, take a bath or give yourself a pedicure.

7) Before bed: Jot down your worries.

Don’t let stress keep you from snagging some much-needed shut-eye. Instead, jot down everything you have to do the following day—finish that work project, pay bills, call your mother—in a notebook. That way, you won’t forget anything and can finally hit the sack for some restful and restorative sleep and be ready to have another healthy day tomorrow!

The YMCA is here to help and is the perfect place for women to begin, re-commit, or continue an exercise routine to strengthen your spirit, mind and body. We’re friendly, smart, caring, and excited to work with you on your health goals. Our certified personal trainers, group exercise instructors, and wellness center instructors can design, lead, and suggest classes that best suit your wellness needs. And all YMCA staffs are CPR and first aid certified.

Here at the Y we have classes and programs that burn calories and get your pulse racing. We have a long list of choice classes like Yoga, Tabata, Group Cycling, RIPPED, Zumba, Turbo Kick, Water Fitness and many more on land or in the water* (*at selected locations) so you can find the classes that suit you best — high-intensity & high impact to low-intensity & low impact — we have classes for all fitness levels. And our expert wellness center instructors and personal trainers can design a personalized cardio and/or strength training program just for you. We even have nutrition consultations at some locations.

The YMCA suggests you check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin your exercise plan.

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