Living healthy is really living. It’s about finding a sustainable lifestyle, not making radical changes that are unrealistic for you, your family, your schedule or your interests. The challenge is that most people don’t understand what the term “healthy living” really means. People know that they want it, but if you can’t define a goal, it can be challenging to achieve success. For some, the definition of healthy living includes things such as bean sprouts for breakfast, grueling pre-dawn jogs, and lettuce-leaf lunches.
Healthy living isn’t about eliminating all of the foods you love or pushing your body to unhealthy limits. It’s about finding a balance between the physical, emotional, nutritional, and motivational elements in your life.
Science has shown that simple choices such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats or vegetarian protein sources, along with plenty of water and a limited intake of alcohol and caffeine, form a great foundation for a balanced diet. Cutting down on things such as unhealthy fats, refined white sugars, and processed foods can also help contribute to healthy lifestyle changes.
Healthy living and positive lifestyle changes aren’t about nutrition alone. Activity plays a key role in feeling your best and living your best life, but that doesn’t have to mean running a marathon or spending hours each day in a gym. To start with, it can be as simple as moving more than the day before. Even a short walk can provide you with physical and physiological benefits. These are the types of simple, realistic, sustainable changes that can directly affect your weight, mood, attitude and general sense of well-being.
WHEN TRYING TO CREATE A HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY, FOCUS ON FOUR FOUNDATIONAL PILLARS: NUTRITION, ACTIVITY, REST AND ATTITUDE.
Nutrition: According to the National Weight Control Registry, successful weight loss and weight maintenance is based on establishing a healthy relationship with food based on balanced choices along with portion control and regular physical activity. With the proper nutrition, your body will function at its best, giving you more stamina and energy for the things you want to do.
Activity: Regular physical activity, even in small amounts, can give you more energy and help you feel more alert. Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular function and reduce your risk of certain health conditions. It’s an important pillar to make time for, especially with a busy lifestyle.
Rest: A good night’s sleep can make all the difference in how good you feel. Try to go to sleep at a consistent time each day that will allow you to wake up naturally, without an alarm. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed. Your body will function at its best when you provide it with adequate time to rest and restore every day.
Attitude: Many people don’t realize it, but your emotional responses can affect your physiological function. Try to minimize stress as much as possible and have a positive attitude in whatever you’re doing. These are key points when it comes to creating and sustaining a healthy lifestyle for the long term. Remind yourself that even small behavioral changes can produce big improvements in how you think and feel.
A healthy lifestyle is meant to give your mind and body the physical and mental assets to live your life to the fullest. Even if you don’t see overnight results from the changes that you are making, know that over time, the results will appear, but more importantly, you will feel better — both physically and emotionally — when you commit to healthy living.