This day and age makes it easier than ever to get the foods and drinks that destroy our bodies. Living a healthy lifestyle is nothing short of difficult to say the least. There are a number of diets and fads that have come and gone that promised to give you that model body and perfect health, but there is one simple rule that has always worked and should be strongly considered – healthy living.
The Simple Truth
From low carb, to south beach, to vegan or vegetarianism, there are reasons we try different diets or eating lifestyles. While some are for our health or our own beliefs, others are simply the equivalent to a get rich quick scheme, but instead for your body and health.
We have been conditioned to believe in one particular view of how our bodies should look and while that is attainable in many ways, living a simple, healthy lifestyle can make those goals not only achievable in the short-term, but sustainable for your entire life.
It isn’t against the rules to eat pizza, have a malted milk shake and drink soda, but everything should be done in moderation. Instead, focus on foods that provide important vitamins and minerals for your body. Also get to understand your metabolism and how it works.
Diets often set you up to fail. You go on the diet to lose, say 20 pounds, but once that is reached, you are overjoyed and decide you loosen up your strict diet. Before you know it you are now back to where you were before your diet, plus another 10 pounds.
Instead of picking a particular diet to follow, focus more on a change in the way you eat. Essential nutrients are going to be key to keeping energy levels up. B12, Folate or Folic Acid and Calcium all are key, as well as D, fiber, Magnesium, Potassium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and, of course, water. You can take vitamins to supplement your diet to ensure you get the amount you need each day, but first, try planning out meals that will include these essential nutrients throughout the week.
At my house every Saturday, after we have a meal, we plan our meals for the following week. Not only does this keep us from shopping with our stomachs, it saves us a great deal as we think more about what we need to eat as opposed to what we are hungry for. Fruit, vegetables, fish, and a random array of smoothies keep us going weekly as we have a good idea of which days we will want a bigger meal and which days we will want something a bit lighter.
Plan on focusing on smaller meals more often through the day as they will keep your metabolism going. If you eat one big meal in the morning, then another at lunch, and finally a large dinner, you aren’t keeping your metabolism in check. It is seeing peaks and valleys in effectiveness and if you are trying to shave a few pounds off, that isn’t going to help. Smaller meals keep the metabolism line a little more flat and consistent, letting the body use up some of the stored fat while keeping you from feeling an energy slump.
Diet Alone is not Enough
Healthy living isn’t just what you eat though. Exercise is key. While it is easy to say that you will put in 10-15 minutes a day, actually doing so is much harder. Remember that movie with Dolly Parton 9-5. That was the typical working day just 30 years ago. Today, we start by 8 and often don’t leave until 6 or later, and that is on a good week. Getting quick work out in in the morning is often best as it helps energize you for the day. A brisk walk around the neighborhood for 20 minutes or a jog once you are up to it, will start your day out right.
If that isn’t an option, look for ways to get some additional movement in at work. If you are able, standing for an additional 30 minutes a day can make a significant impact on your health. Do this at your desk if possible, while on conference calls or as you are discussing issues with peers.
Many employers offer work out programs and facilities which are perfect if you can find the time before or after work. You can also just take a walk during lunch. Bring something easy and quick to eat at your desk and for your lunch hour, get out and walk, or if the weather is not permitting, walk the halls of your office building for 30 minutes.
The Big Don’t
Finally, stay away from health destroying products such as tobacco and alcohol. That is easy to say, but hard to do. Wine has positive health effects, but only in moderation. If you decide to partake in some of the less healthy stuff, just ensure you do so in moderation and on rare occasion.
Don’t look to go on a diet to get yourself in the shape you want to be in. Look to change the way you live, eat and look at food and you will see a quick turnaround in how you feel. And don’t neglect sleep.