Health should be more than the absence of diseases; it should be presence of strength, vitality, mindful living, happiness and peace. At a minimum, consider eating healthy, exercising regularly and sleeping soundly. It’s the perfect way to begin the new year.
A sure way to good health is via healthy eating. Eat mindfully by choosing the right balance of nutrients and calories by planning ahead. Calories are the fuel your body needs to work and play, but also to rest and sleep. Consider both ” how much” you eat and “what” you eat. Sit and eat from plates and bowls rather than from on-the-go packages and boxes so you know how much you are consuming and can have a chance to enjoy your food, which is an important part of satiety. Downsize your portion sizes by serving food on smaller plates.
At this time of the year, diets and fads are everywhere you look. If you are considering a new diet or exercise plan, first consider the source of the plan and research its validity and sustainability. Watch out for plans that promise quick or dramatic results and rely on testimonials with no evidence-based studies to back them up. Think, carefully: Is this diet something I can sustain long term?
Eating healthy alone is not sufficient. Exercise is also key for healthy living. Aim for at least 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, etc. per day. For some, this might be skating; for others, it might dancing. Mix it up so you do not get bored with the same routine. Being physically active helps boost energy levels, helps the body relax and creates a feeling of well-being. It may be tough in the winter, but choose outdoor activities when possible. Studies show being outdoors in nature aids in mental well being and reduces stress levels.
Last but not least, get enough sleep by following a regular sleep schedule. Poor sleep is related to obesity. Our hunger and drive to eat is controlled by hormones like many other processes in our body. Not getting enough sleep can increase the level of the hunger hormone called ghrelin, which leads us to eat more, leading to weight gain.
Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Along with obesity, people who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, depression and even some cancers.
One of my favorite quotes is by the motivational speaker Jim Rohn: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” This could not be truer as we enter another decade.