WOMEN’S HEALTH: Shape up for Summer! Part 1 of 2 Parts

wh-9.jpgNow is the time to start slimming down for summer. You can get started on the road to optimum women’s health with a single, easy-to-do action. Part 1 of 2 parts.

Summer’s coming! Instead of going into apathy when you think about how you’ll look in a bathing suit, start thinking of changes you can make now that will help you get that weight off and keep it off, and understand that you need to look at lifestyle changes, not a crash starvation that will leave a body depleted of nutrition and threaten a woman’s health — not to mention sanity!

The word diet is probably one of the most dramatically misunderstood words in the arena of women’s health. It comes from the Greek diaita, (the same root as the word daily) and it means ‘a way of life.’ A way of life — this means a change in lifestyle if your current way of life isn’t working for you. Such a change doesn’t have to be dramatic to be effective.

Forget weight-loss diets. Most of them are impossible to maintain, and as soon as you lose the pounds you struggled so hard to get rid of, you begin to put them back on again. We all know women who’ve lost hundreds of pounds — but they’re the same ten or twenty lost, and gained, lost and gained, on a wild rollercoaster from a size 4 to a size 14. Extreme diets are inconvenient, as well. Measuring food exactly, combining only certain foods with other foods… if you eat out at all, forget it! Consciously cutting calories too often leaves us feeling empty and without enough fuel to get our work done.

Instead, focus on minor changes you can make and easily maintain to help you achieve your shape-up-for-summer goal. In fact, let’s extend that goal to shape-up-for-life! With the dramatic rise of cardiovascular disease among women, now even younger women, and the link to obesity, it is absolutely vital to a woman’s health to keep her weight in a healthy range.

So where do you start? What’s a single action that you can do immediately, with no major lifestyle change or schedule commitment? That will boost your energy, raise your metabolism, and be really, really good for you?

Green tea.

Green tea has a host of health benefits. Among other things, regular consumption lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. This was found out when western researchers starting looking at what they called the ‘Asian paradox.’ Asians, despite being heavy smokers, have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer than their American counterparts. The study suggested that this could be due to the average 1.2 liters of green tea they drink daily.

Green tea has only one fourth the caffeine of coffee. Drinking a lot of green tea will not overload your system with caffeine. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that green tea can burn off fat in a way not fully explained by it’s caffeine content. It suggests that green tea extract might play a role in “sympathetic activation of thermogenesis [heat generation], fat oxidation [metabolism of fat], or both.”

Green tea is energizing — and not just because of the caffeine. A well-established antioxidant, it can provide the extra ‘oomph’ you need to get up and moving. (If you like it as a tea, consider sweetening it with stevia — a natural sweetening product that does not play havoc with your blood sugar level the way refined sugar does.)

Green tea also curbs the appetite!

Whether you take it as a tea, as an extract or in supplement form, green tea can help you start on the road to good women’s health for the spring, the summer, and the rest of your life!

[Editor’s Note: See Part 2 for more tips on shaping up for the summer.]

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