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8. Complex Carbs versus Simple Carbs

Start and end the day with protein and complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates such as sugar. Eat a hearty breakfast, a moderate lunch, and a light dinner, or if you aren’t a breakfast person, a light breakfast, a hearty lunch, and a light dinner. Stop before you are stuffed and don’t eat more calories than you need.

9. Where Do Your Calories Come From?

Don’t let more than about 30 percent of your calories come from fat, and try to eat fat mostly from sources that contain a higher proportion of monounsaturated fat (olive oil, canola oil, avocados, walnuts, and walnut oil) and omega-3 fatty acids (in fatty fish like salmon and tuna), rather than saturated fat (meat and dairy products), trans-fatty acids (in margarine, vegetable shortening, and partially hydrogenated oils), and polyunsaturated fats (prevalent in many vegetable oils).

10. Change Your Definition of “Treating Yourself”

Some people can’t get over the notion that on special occasions or when they’ve had a hard day, they deserve a treat. If you are one of those people, try rethinking the “treat” concept. It is so easy to eat in response to stress, but a treat doesn’t have to be about food. A treat could be a movie, a day trip, a full hour of doing nothing, a visit to the salon, a game of golf in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday, letting yourself go to bed at 9:00 p.m. So, get in the habit of thinking creatively about how to reward yourself.

11. If You Must Have Food Treats, Make Them Worth It

If you just have to reward yourself with food, make it absolutely worth the indulgence. A little bit of something superb is a far more rewarding and sensual experience than a whole huge bunch of low-quality anything. A single piece of the highest quality imported chocolate, a thin slice of cake and a tiny cup of espresso, a small but perfect filet mignon, or whatever your indulgence—savor every bite and don’t do anything else while enjoying it. If the television is off, no one is talking to you, and you aren’t reading the newspaper, you are simply experiencing your treat, and that tiny bit will be plenty.

12. Start a Food Diary

If you get in the habit of keeping a food diary in which you write down every single thing you eat each day and how you were feeling when you ate it, you’ll be surprised at how obvious your bad habits become. You might notice that when you are feeling stressed or insecure, you eat sugar, and that when you are feeling confident or calm, you eat really well. Keep at it until you feel in control of your eating habits; if you start to slip again, go right back to it. This is also something you might want to share with your doctor, nutritionist, or physical trainer, if you have one.

13. Beat Stress with Supplements

Another way to build a healthy body that is best able to combat excessive stress is to make sure you aren’t suffering from any basic deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (substances in plants thought to improve health and strengthen the immune system). While not everyone agrees that supplements are important, most of us don’t get a chance to eat a completely balanced, well-rounded diet every single day. So, think of a supplement as an insurance policy.

14. Learn about Vitamins, Minerals, and Acids

Vitamins C, E, beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), selenium, and zinc are antioxidants. Studies suggest extra antioxidants in the diet can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cataracts and can slow the aging process. Antioxidants from citrus fruits; broccoli; tomatoes; leafy greens; dark orange, yellow, and red vegetables; nuts; seeds; and vegetable oils are always good for you.

The B vitamins are great in many ways. Many of them are thought to boost immunity, improve skin quality, protect against cancer, help arthritis symptoms, help the body to metabolize food and produce energy, and even help to reduce the effects of stress in the body.

Calcium is a mineral that is essential for maintaining bone mass, preventing cancer and heart disease, reducing blood pressure, treating arthritis, promoting sleep, metabolizing iron, and reducing PMS symptoms. Many other trace minerals keep the body healthy and working correctly, from copper and chromium to iron and iodine to selenium, vanadium, and zinc. Amino acids and essential fatty acids are also necessary for a healthy functioning body.

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