Be Fit & Fearless

Imagine yourself stepping in front of a podium to address a large crowd, walking into your boss’s office to discuss a promotion, or taking a deep breath and jumping out of an airplane. Are your palms sweaty? Confident women tackle these things and more every day. If you could use a boost of confidence to help you live your best life, consider making choices to improve your health and boost your self-esteem in the process.

Woman eating banana

Get healthy, feel sexy

A 2010 Opinion Research Corporation survey of 443 women, ages 25 to 49, found that those who work out regularly do it for more than the health benefits. Eighty-six percent reported that working out regularly makes them feel more confident and accomplished. Fifty-one percent said they felt more inclined toward romance, 37 percent said they felt more likely to go out on the town with friends, and 36 percent reported they were more inclined to go out on a date when working out regularly.

Learn how to improve your workout routine >>

Foods & moods

What we put into our mouths directly affects mood. Think about it: If you sit down and eat a bag of greasy potato chips, you are going to feel a lot different than if you eat a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with a side of crunchy carrots and apples.

Certain foods actually increase confidence levels. According to one study by Benton and Donahoe (1999), insufficient amounts of thiamine (vitamin B1) caused "introversion, inactivity, fatigue, decreased self-confidence and generally poorer mood." Conversely, higher levels of thiamine actually increased well-being, sociability and overall energy levels in participants. Foods that contain thiamine include cereal grains, pork, yeast, potatoes, cauliflower, oranges and eggs.

Want to grill up a thiamine-rich dinner? Try this Pina Colada Pork Chop recipe with a side of grilled potatoes >>

While researchers say there is no magic diet to optimize a person's mood, they recommend a well-balanced diet rich in protein, moderate in carbohydrates and low in fat. Micronutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, iron, folic acid and thiamine are also recommended.

Read more about foods that boost your mood >>

If it's confidence you need, try hitting the gym and fueling up with a healthy diet. Then take a deep breath and go for it.

More health tips for women

Quiz: Do you take good care of your body?
Pap Smears 101: What you need to know
6 Ways to boost your body confidence

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