I was called to deliver a presentation to a group of women professionals and the topic picked was “women and ageing”, and I thought to myself, women! We never want to age. We still want to wear that size 8/10 top or pants even when we clock 70. Looking and feeling younger than one’s age is no crime really, but it takes a lot of self conscious effort. You can look and feel beautiful by watching what you eat. It just takes a lot of determination and making up your mind, what do I want to look like when I turn 60?
- You need to start your day off right. Eat breakfast!
Breakfast is an important meal and having a good breakfast just helps to give you the right start to your day. You can treat yourself to a cup of cereal with milk or a piece of toast with peanut butter, or grab a piece of fruit, if you are in a hurry to get to work. It all boils down to the fact that you need breakfast. When you skip breakfast, then go for brunch, your body has done a long stretch without the glucose it needs to keep it going. Skipping breakfast particularly, gives me headache!
- Eat a variety of foods because your body needs a lot of nutrients to maintain its glow.
No one food or food group can provide you with all the nutrients, so have a variety of foods to ensure that you are getting what your body needs. If you eat only fruits and vegetables in a bid to keep slim, you might run into trouble because you will end up skimping off on those needed carbohydrates and essential amino cum fatty acids. And eat those foods in moderation too. Too much of anything is bad. Any food can fit as long as you have them in moderation. It’s so typical of us ladies to overeat, when we eat out and somebody else is paying! Drop that habit; it doesn’t help your waistline. More often than not, you enter a restaurant and you see most of the ladies with their meals and a bottle of soft drink by the side. Must we always take soft drinks? Don’t get me wrong, am not saying soft drinks are bad, if it is taken in place of your meals, fine! But with your meal that is already loaded with calories, you are adding extra calories. If you ask me, water is just fine.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
Obesity and overweight is a risk factor for many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and loads of them. Excess body fat results when you don’t balance your energy intake with your expenditure. If you are very active, you can eat more. However, if your lifestyle is sedentary, you need to eat less. Either way you need to do regular exercise. Get on the move! You don’t need to be an athlete to be on the move. You can park your car a little further and take a walk. Take a long stroll instead of taking the next available bike. You could use the stairs instead of the elevator. You could also do a brisk walk or better still, dance! Dancing is a good form of exercise, you know? While you wind that waist and shake your body, you could actually enjoy it and maintain your weight. Apart from the fact that exercise helps you to burn off those extra calories by helping to use up the excess glucose stores in our body, it also helps your circulatory system to work effectively. Exercise also makes you stronger by making you energetic and gives you confidence all the way.
- Watch those snacks!
The next time you pick up a candy bar, a bowl of ice cream, ask yourself, do I really need this? Keep in mind that your body is not a dumping ground. You can eat your way to obesity overtime if you are not careful to balance what goes into your tummy with your energy expenditure. You can snack on vegetables in-between meals. Take cucumbers and garden eggs instead of those high calorie snacks. A handful of groundnut, hazelnuts, walnuts or cashew nuts will do no harm when used as a snack. You can even take your fruits when you feel like a bite; they are a better deal than those pastries. This is due to the fact that trans-fatty acids are formed during the process of hydrogenation when manufacturing these items. Trans-fatty acids actually increase your LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol and reduces your HDL, the good cholesterol. You add excess weight and at the same time you are at risk of dyslipidemia, deranged lipid profile. Talking about fats, women tend to use a lot of it in cooking. We love to fry our meat, fish, chicken, even our soup and all what not. Use simpler methods of cooking like boiling, steaming, roasting or grilling with little oil.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Women need to drink at least 8cups of fluid a day! You need more if it is very hot or you are physically active. Plain water is obviously a good source of fluid but variety can be both pleasant and healthy. You can take flavored water or pick your choose from tea, milk, unsweetened juices and lightly sweetened drinks.
- Start now and make small changes to your lifestyle.
Looking good and feeling young is good business. It takes a lot of drive and determination like I said earlier. The earlier you start the better for you. It’s the nature of the woman to worry over a lot of things. Maybe, it’s the way we are created. We worry about our relationships, homes, children, career and every other thing we may think of. A typical woman at 80 is still worried about her child that is going to 55. We need our strength and body to be in good shape for a long time in order to take care of ourselves and families.
Let us eat right, so that we do not short-change ourselves!