Whether you want to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or improve in sports, there is a solid foundation of 3 things to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We all know what we need, but do you know the importance of each?
The first is DIET. “Diet” has taken on some negative publicity for the last few decades. It does not mean starve yourself, eat portions of miniscul value, or just a piece. The correct definition of diet according to the Collins English Dicitionary is “Your diet is the type and range of food that you regularly eat” and Oxford Dictionaries defines it as “The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”.
Now notice that each definition mentions “regularly or habitually” eats. If your eating habits usually consist of coffee, donuts and large pasta meals, then that is your diet. The saying, “you are what you eat” is very true. If you eat crap, you feel like crap. These items do not promote a healthy lifestyle, so let’s look at how you can incorporate healthier choices into your routine.
- Eat breakfast. Every day. Breakfast should consist of a carb and protein. Why? The body changes carbs into sugar that the brain can use for fuel. After a long break of not eating (because you were sleeping), you need carbs to get you going. The protein helps with sustaining energy and fullness. There’s more science behind this combo, but you just need to know that they compliment each other.
- Eat frequent small meals throughout the day. Having healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you from “starving” at lunch or dinner and consequently, overeating. This will also keep your metabolism up, so the body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest larger meals.
- Eat socially. This may sound strange, but when you eat with other people, you are talking and listening. This means you aren’t eating as fast, which gives the body a chance to digest. It takes about 10 minutes for the body to rev up to digestive mode. We all know how much we can shovel in our mouths in 10 minutes!
- Drink water all day long. Drinking water not only helps you feel fuller, but provides many other benefits along the way. Our bodies are composed of 60% water so we must always replenish it. Water is needed for organ function especially the kidneys, transport nutrients and oxygen through the blood, plus many other functions. Here’s one that the ladies will love: drinking plenty of water reduces the development of wrinkles! There isn’t a universal agreement on how much water a person should drink every day, but a good guideline is to take your body weight, divide by two, and drink that many ounces per day as a minimum. Fruits and vegetables are also high in water.
- What you choose to eat is also important. Fruits and vegetables are high on the list. Less red meat and more chicken and fish for proteins. Good Fats are also important, so nuts and avocados should also be on your list. At the bottom of the page, you can fill out your email address and I will send you a grocery guide. Some things you may not enjoy, but there are plenty of alternatives in each category that you can choose from.
- Eat less sugar and salt. The more sugar you eat, the more your brain craves it. Eating healthier foods with natural sugars like fruits will help you not crave the processed stuff as much. Salt dehydrates you, and most foods already contain salt.
Whether you are a hard core cross fitter or just a 30 minute walker, excercise is important to stay healthy. It help promote circulation, keep the muscles fit, and boosts your metabolism to burn calories. Desk jobs are the worst for your health. Believe me, I’ve been there. After years of having very active, physical jobs, moving into a desk job was the worst thing I could do for my health. I lost muscle mass, my metabolism slowed, and I started to gain weight. We were not meant for a sedentary lifestyle! No matter your physical activity level, get up and move! Stretch! Dance! Jump! Do things that are fun! If going to a workout class isn’t fun for you, don’t do it. Go hiking with your dog, jump rope or hula hoop with your kids. The important thing is to MOVE. The more active you are, the more calories you’ll burn.
Sleep always seems to be forgotten in a healthy lifestyle. Why? This is the time when the body repairs itself, builds muscle and takes all that goodness you did through the day and applies it. We live in such a multi-tasking world, that our brains have a hard time shutting off at night, and we don’t get the quality of sleep we need.
Try this: For the next 3 days, record your sleep: write down what time you go to bed, what time you get up every day. How long does it take you to fall asleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, turn over because of aches and pains, sleep walk, talk in your sleep, snore (your partner will usually tell you about these)? Do you hit the alarm once, twice, three times before you get up? Or are you awake long before the alarm goes off?
Now take that information and try to have a good nights sleep.
Instead of watching TV or looking at your phone, read a book an hour before bed. The TV and light from your phone in the dark has been proven to be bad for your health. Google it, it’s an interesting read.
Over stressed when you get home for work? Exercise or do yoga. Burning off the stress or stretching can calm the mind and help you relax.
Don’t eat right before bed. If your body is digesting, it’s not resting.
Don’t drink water or any beverage an hour before bed. This will give you time to eliminate your bladder and hopefully not wake up in the middle of the night.
Check your pillow: is it too fluffy, too flat? Not having the right support can lead to breathing problems and aches and pains.
These are all things we hear about from the news, internet, friends and family, and the good news is, that when they are all paired together, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes as natural as breathing.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and my knowledge from nutritionists and board certified doctors does not replace your own research and what your doctor feels is best for you. Please consult your doctor and do your own research before starting any major changes in your life.