There’s plenty of material out there, exhorting the value of a healthy lifestyle, to maintain good health. However despite all this, people fail to follow through on their resolutions. Why is it so? You do not need any of the fad diets to maintain an optimum level of health. Basically it comes down to this:
Eat less, eat right, exercise more, reduce stress, maintain a positive mental attitude, cut down on alcohol, and get rid of the smoking habit, that’s it!
Human beings are creatures of habit, and as the saying goes, we make our habits, and our habits make us.
If you keep doing something daily, and deliberately, on a consistent basis for 6 weeks or more, and you make it fun, it becomes a habit.
So what are the habits that help you reach your objective?
1. Diet:- Cut down/eliminate junk food (fries, burgers)/sugary drinks, which if consumed on a consistent basis could lead to obesity, heart and blood vessel problems, to name a few.
2. Eat a bowl of freshly cut vegetables daily (carrots, beets, tomatoes, and cucumbers)- the more colorful the vegetables, the better. They contain high levels of antioxidants which are healthy.
Cut the vegetables, and place them in a bowl in the refrigerator, so you are ready to eat them the next day; that way you do not put it off. Your body needs carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in the required amounts, and many of the fad diets cut down on one of these components. The deprivation of the nutrients mentioned above, leads to health problems, and lethargy. Try to avoid fad diets.
3. Eat less:- Try to eat lesser portions of food-eat at least one stage less before you feel full.
Do not binge eat. People have a tendency to eat more, if they eat while sitting in front of the television. Add nuts(careful please, if you are allergic to them) whole grains, and oily fish (containing omega 3 fatty acids ) like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.
4. Exercise more:- Again, so much advice is given in this area. To keep it simple, walk 30 minutes a day 5 times a week. Park your car a block away, and walk to your destination. Some expert swear by 20 minutes (twenty is definitely plenty).
If you like yoga, go ahead. Choose the exercise you like. If it’s not fun, you may not stick with it. The message here is: 30, 20 or 10 minutes, the benefits of exercise accrue only when done on a regular basis.
However do not beat yourself up, if you miss a day here or there. Something is better than nothing.
Like the great Chinese Philosopher Confucius said “It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”
5. Reduce stress: This is extremely important. Stress increases your cortisol hormone levels which in turn increases your blood sugar, blood pressure, and causes weight gain. In the long run, it causes a myriad variety of health problems.
One of the worst causes of stress is resentment. Do not hold a grudge, forgive and let it go; you will live longer, and be more peaceful.
The Mayo Clinic guidelines for reducing stress are:
1. Stay away from the source of provocation.
2. If you cannot do so, change your reaction to it.
3. If you cannot do the above, accept it.
4. If you cannot do that, reduce it. How? By techniques like yoga, meditation, and exercise.
Smoking: Irrefutable proof has emerged linking smoking to cardiovascular disease, cancers, besides a host of other problems. You would add years to your life, if you gave up smoking.
Alcohol: Again it’s a good idea to cut down on alcohol. Alcohol has nothing but empty calories, and can be toxic to the liver in the long run, besides increasing your weight.
Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
I suppose if a few of the above become habits, your health would improve in ways you cannot imagine; you would feel better.
Your body is the temple /abode in which you reside. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you.
Wish you all the best in this journey-Make it fun, and you will stick with it.