7 tips to Help Boost Vitality and Stress Less in 2014

By Elisa Zied, author of Younger Next Week (Harlequin Nonfiction)

With the New Year in full swing, many of you are likely basking in the honeymoon phase of your ambitious attempt to eat less or better, drink less, be more active, or overcome a bad habit. Despite your best efforts, you know at some point that the honeymoon will end. But while some of you may very well end up feeling empowered by the positive, productive changes you’ve made, others may end up feeling deprived, exhausted, and unwilling to continue their efforts. Or perhaps you’ll feel somewhere in between the two extremes.

To help you change your life without a radical overhaul, here are 7 realistic, sensible and maintainable food, fitness and lifestyle behaviors that can help you boost vitality and temper stress for years to come.

  1. Eat mindfully. Many of us multitask while we eat. But eating on autopilot makes it impossible to savor food and feel satisfied. Instead, when you eat, try to limit distractions and really pay attention to the taste, texture and flavor of your food. You’ll likely find that you not only eat more slowly and enjoy it more, but you may even feel more satisfied on less food.
  2. Divide and conquer. At main meals, fill half your plate with colorful produce (non-starchy vegetables like dark green lettuce leaves, sweet peppers, carrots and tomatoes and/or fresh fruit). Fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein foods (fish or shellfish, skinless poultry, lean beef, tofu or beans) and the remaining quarter with starchy carbs (like brown or wild rice, whole wheat pasta or couscous, quinoa or potatoes).
  3. Include—rather than exclude—food. Unless you have a health or medical condition that precludes you from eating certain things, there’s no need to ban specific foods from your diet. Instead, gradually add in small portions of nutrient-packed foods that you tend to skimp on—like produce, whole grains, or fish or beans—at meals and snacks. At the same time, take a few less bites of—or eat less often—nutrient-poor foods you tend to overdo (like candy, cookies, ice cream or French fries) to keep calorie intake in check.
  4. Be smart when you’re stressed. Instead of using food to placate stress, take a power walk while calling a supportive friend, climb stairs, jump rope or dance to your favorite music. Using physical activity to cope with stress not only can help you feel better but it can save you from unwanted empty calories, boost beneficial brain chemicals and burn calories.
  5. Fit in fitness. Of course it’s great to do formal exercise—spin, swim, take Zumba or weight train—to stay fit. But it’s also important to sit less and incorporate more activity throughout each day. Set an alarm to go off each hour to remind you to do something active for 5 to 10 minutes. Even short bursts of activity can energize you mentally and physically.
  6. Choose your friends. Make time to spend time with those who celebrate rather than tolerate you. Staying connected with others through a book or movie club, a running club or a fitness class provides you with a sense of belonging. It also allows you to laugh, cry and enjoy life with others who have similar interests and who love you right back.
  7. Sleep it off. Getting enough sleep not only can help you feel energized, but it may help you eat better, manage your weight and stress less. If you know 7 to 9 hours nightly typically eludes you, make an effort each week to go to bed as little as 15-minutes minutes early. Check out my short video to learn how to create your own sleep sanctuary.

For more about Younger Next Week, visit Elisa Zied’s website, Twitter and Facebook page.

About the Book

younger-next-week-elisa-ziedThe Fast, Fun, Delicious Way to Fight Aging

A radiant appearance. Boundless energy. Effortless weight management. Supercharged health and well-being. Forget facelifts and fancy wrinkle creams—the fountain of youth is in the foods you eat and simple exercises and behaviors that will turn back the clock. Acclaimed nutritionist and wellness expert Elisa Zied shows you how to jump-start weight loss, reduce stress, improve sleep, banish mood swings and love the vibrant woman you see in the mirror. Discover how to:

* Nix the habits that age you (some will surprise you!)

* Fuel yourself with age-defying, nutrient-rich foods

* Relax and decompress with dozens of Stressipes

* Revitalize your life with exercises that put the brakes on aging

* Eat and enjoy 30 easy-to-make, delicious recipes

Featuring The 7-Day Vitality Plan, complete with menus, exercise guidelines and lifestyle solutions, Younger Next Week is your surgery-free solution to look and feel younger in just one week.

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