It's been almost a decade since I won the coveted and prestigious title of Miss Universe. In the years since then, I've had my share of struggles to find myself in this sometimes overwhelming industry of high expectations, ups and downs, and image and weight obsession.
What I've learned to do is focus on making myself happy instead of pleasing everyone else. Here are my top seven tips on how you too can achieve your fullest potential, feel good about yourself and take your health seriously.
1. Wake up fresh.
A good day starts with a well-rested body and mind, so make sure you get enough sleep. Energize yourself by doing something physical for a few minutes right as you wake up, which will give you an instant mood and energy boost. Do some jumping jacks, skip rope, get your burpee on or practice a sun salutation. Then take a few moments to breathe deeply to center and ground yourself.
2. Hydrate the right way.
I must admit, I don't alway practice this one consistently but I'm always reminded of why it's so important to stay hydrated,when I get headaches, fatigue and other signs of dehydration. Drink a cup of warm water with lemon or a spoon of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This will alkalinize your body and infuse you with vitamins. Then make sure to sip water throughout the day.
3. Listen to your body for eating cues.
You can eat whatever you want while staying fit and healthy. Instead of counting calories or cutting out certain food groups, just learn how to be in tune with your body. It knows what's best for you, so listen to the cues it's giving you. Eat when you're hungry and stop once you're full.
4. Exercise, even if you only have a few minutes.
We don't all have hours to devote to exercise every day, but believe me, even a few minutes can get you toned and keep you in shape. Instead of wasting time on your phone checking your Facebook feed, get up — wherever you are — and get moving.
5. Check in with your feelings throughout the day.
Overeating often happens because of emotions or stress. The best way to avoid this is to check in with yourself periodically about how you're feeling. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, unappreciated, over-worked or anything else negative that you know will trigger those unhealthy cravings, ask yourself what you'd want to make yourself feel better (other than food). It could be a massage, cuddling up with your loved one or your pet, getting into comfy clothes, reading a book, going for a walk or anything else that makes you feel peaceful, relaxed and comfortable.
6. Do something you're passionate about for at least 10 minutes a day.
It's difficult to find time for yourself while balancing career, housework, family and friends, but it's absolutely necessary to be your best self.
Do you have a passion? A hobby that you just love losing yourself in? For me, a beautiful, complete day can't go by without doing something I absolutely love. Whatever your activity of choice is, make sure you do it by yourself, for yourself. This is your time to do something just for you, to feed your soul. Passion every day fills our lives with purpose. Cherish that time!
7. End the day with gratitude.
End your day with a little bit of reflection and gratitude. Put your computer and phone away, get ready for bed and take a few minutes to think about what the highlights of your day were. Feel grateful for them. If there was a negative part of your day, reflect on how you can prevent the same thing from recurring or how you could've dealt with the situation better.