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*Five Steps To A 5-Star Body*

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*Five Steps To A 5-Star Body*

Post by Daisy on Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:33 pm

Getting
your best body can be as simple as counting to five every day. Really!
No matter what goal you’re pursuing—shedding those 10 pounds that have
been hanging around too long, toning your trouble zones or simply
eating healthier. It's so easy. I think of it as my five-star day. The
five-star day is so simple—you just give yourself a star for everything
you do right. You get stars for:

Sleep! Try to catch 7 to 9 hours each night. This, I know from personal
experience, can seem like an unrealistic goal, but the amount of
research that supports the connection between shut-eye and health makes
me shoot for this star every day. For starters, catching enough zzz’s
can help you lose weight. In a study of more than 68,000 women, those
who dozed seven hours a night weighed 5.5 pounds less than women who
slept five hours or less. Ample sleep encourages your body to make more
of the fullness hormone leptin and less of the hunger hormone ghrelin,
so you’re not as hungry. Snoozing can also curb anxiety and depression,
both of which can lead to emotional eating. As if that’s not enough
reason, too little rest can cloud moral judgment, too. Try going to bed
just 30 minutes earlier each night to see how much you’ll benefit.

Exercise! Yes, breaking a sweat can help you lose weight, but it can
also curb cravings, help you live longer, reduce stress, undo some of
the damage of eating fatty foods—and those are just a few of the
benefits. Aim for 30 minutes a day—even a walk counts toward your
tally—and give yourself a star each time you fulfill that goal with any
one of your favorite workouts.

Eat right! No, you don’t have to count calories. You can eat healthy
and have delicious, filling and satisfying meals (snacks, too!). If
you’re doing the 2009 SELF Challenge, give yourself a star for every
day that you eat according to the Challenge meal plan and log your
meals in your online food diary. If you’re not doing the Challenge, you
can still snag a star when you’ve eaten in a way that makes your body
feel good—and you feel proud. For me, that’s when I opt for yogurt with
berries rather than a muffin at breakfast, have a salad with tofu for
lunch and choose salmon over steak at dinner, then skip the ice cream
pig-out late at night. Yes, it’s that simple! I’m not perfect, and
there are definitely days when I have a second glass of wine or a
too-generous square of my favorite dark chocolate bar, but I find that
once I start building that five-star day, I get invested in it and want
to keep it up.

Stretch! Limbering up is a way to thank your muscles for all the hard
work they do for you each day. It can also help you increase your
overall range of motion, making exercise seem less difficult. And when
workouts are less daunting, you’ll not only enjoy them more, but you
also will probably do them more often, too! To me, yoga and pilates
count, as does just stretching at the kitchen counter as I watch the
headlines in the morning. No need to set aside a huge block of time!
However you choose to go Gumby, give yourself a star for treating your
body to a break.

Talk yourself up! This might be the most important part of the
five-star plan: Giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for
simply being strong, smart and healthy. Even on days when you only
notch one or two other stars, take a moment to give yourself credit for
being a truly amazing human being. Talking yourself up carries over to
other areas of your life: Not only will you feel more confident, but
research shows you will also get sick about 30 percent less frequently,
stave off emotional eating and reduce your cancer risk. There are
plenty of other reasons to celebrate your body. Pretty impressive for a
few pats on the back!

Create your own five-star days: When you join the Challenge, you can
use our free online logs to track the stars you earn each day. Counting
stars is motivating, and rewarding yourself for smart, healthy behavior
is more inspiring than the negative mind-sets required by most "diets."
I had to create a system in my own head that was simple, easy to track
and optimistic. The best part is that you get to start fresh every day,
so even if you only manage one or two stars one day, you can stay with
it by going to sleep early and telling yourself, like Scarlett O’Hara,
tomorrow is another day!


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