Quick Start Guide to Better Health

An energy walk is a faster-paced walk done with an exaggerated arm swing. You'll eventually go for longer walks--and possibly jogs--but for now the aim is to get moving, and there's no better way to do that than going for a walk. Why walk? Because walking raises your heart rate, which burns calories, makes your cardiovascular system stronger, and tones your leg muscles. It's also a won­derful stress reliever. "I still walk to and from work once or twice a week," says entrepreneur Brian Scudamore. "It's a great unwinding mechanism."

Plus, there's no learning curve, and it's low-impact, so there is minimal stress to your joints. You can walk alone to enjoy the solitude of your own thoughts or go with business partners, employees, and friends for some social time or to brainstorm issues at work. Or maybe invite along a client--exercise can be a great bonding experience. Walking also doesn't require much special equipment or clothing--although you should wear shoes with thick flexible soles to provide a cushion for your feet (consider investing in a comfortable pair of walking or running shoes, for around $70).

Aim to walk three times this week. Before you head out the door, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use the first two or three minutes to warm up at a slow pace, then increase your speed to a pace that feels brisk--but you should still be able to carry on a conversation.
  • To maintain good posture, look straight ahead and keep your back straight.
  • Your hands should be in a relaxed, cupped position, and your elbows con­stantly flexed to about 90 degrees.
  • Allow your hands to swing up to about chest level, but don't let your arms flare out from the sides of your body.
  • Keep a slight flex in your knees--locking out can cause injury.
  • Strike the ground with heels first, toes pointed straight ahead.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • If you make an appointment to walk with someone else, you'll be much more likely to make the scheduled time.

Quick-Start Nutrition
To get a quick start on eating healthier, two simple adjustments to your daily routine are all that's required right now. You can find a more comprehensive dietary plan in The Entrepreneur Diet, but these changes will immediately make a difference in your nutrition.

Drink Ice Water with Meals and When Thirsty During the Day
Your body will warm the water, and this will require a caloric expenditure. In fact, when compared with drinking water at room temperature, consuming eight ounces of ice water can expend about 9 extra calories. Doesn't sound like much? If you do that three times a day, it adds up to nearly 10,000 calories in a year--that's almost three pounds with virtually no effort.

Beyond the calorie-burning benefits, making water a habit makes sense. Water helps foods break down to their basic elements; provides a cushion for your body's organs, including the brain; and regulates your temperature through perspiration. Water makes up between 45 to 70 percent of body weight, and is the most plentiful chemical material in your body. For purposes of controlling or losing weight, some research indicates that water can promote a feeling of fullness when it's consumed with a meal or incorporated into food.

For Jennifer Melton, co-founder of Cloud Star natural pet products, water is an integral part of her workday. "I always keep a glass of water at my desk," she says. "It gives me energy and sustains my energy throughout the day. When I start dragging, sometimes the easiest thing to do is drink a glass of water."

Save Five Bites
Portion sizes in recent decades have greatly expanded. Offerings in fast-food restaurants, for example, can be between two and five times the original size. In the 1950s, a Burger King hamburger weighed 3.9 ounces, but now you can order a Double Whopper at a hefty 12.6 ounces. Restaurants use bigger plates, and pizza is made in larger pans. Even frozen diet meals from Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers have touted larger package sizes. These larger portions pack more calories and prompt you to eat too much. A small size of McDonald's french fries sports 210 calories, while the supersize version contains 610 calories. Given that Americans spend nearly 50 percent of their food dollars outside the home, it makes sense that by the mid-1990s people were eating 200 more calories per day compared with the late 1970s.

One reason behind the trend is that price competition has caused manufacturers to offer larger items. Also, restaurant owners say it comes down to value--customers want more food for their dollar. Whatever the reason, it's clear that we're getting more food placed in front of us than we used to, and that leads to excessive eating.

Here's what to do: to help control your portions, at one meal during the day, simply save five bites of your food. You can mentally account for the bites, or you can actually partition them off to the side. Do this whether it's a restaurant, fast-food, or home-cooked meal. If you think this sounds trivial, consider this: If the average meal has 350 calories and you usually take 20 bites per meal, you'll save about 90 calories per day or 32,000 calories per year--which equates to more than nine pounds a year.

If you're in a restaurant and it's convenient, ask for a doggy bag before you begin your meal--set the five bites aside. You can snack on them later in the day (make sure to refrigerate, if necessary). The point is to reduce the portion size of the food that's in front of you, right now.

As you get comfortable with these changes in lifestyle--adding movement to your day with exercises and walking, and starting to gain control over your eating habits--you'll enjoy the powerful feeling that positive change can bring to your life and your business.

Download our Quick-Start Nutrition Checklist for a quick and handy way to chart your progress every week.

To read the entire on-the-go go plan for fitness, weight loss and healthy living for entrepreneurs, buy The Entrepreneur Diet today from EntrepreneurPress.com.

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