No matter what stage of life you are in, eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight are important to achieving wellness. While it may sound simple, we understand how difficult it can be to consistently and confidently maintain a healthy lifestyle on your own. Below, you will find some general information about establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you need additional assistance or have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your provider or schedule a nutrition consultation with our office.
The foundation of a healthy lifestyle has to start with nutrition. Commonly, people talk about an 80/20 rule, which means that health and weight loss is achieved through focusing 80% of your effort on nutrition and 20% exercise. A healthy diet should focus on whole food nutrition and consist mainly of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. It is important when planning a diet that you avoid restricting your calories below your body’s needs. It is surprisingly easy to restrict yourself too much, which will stop your metabolism and halt your weight loss. Apps such as “myfitnesspal”, “weight watchers” and “loseit” can help you determine your daily caloric needs and help to get you started.
The America Heart Association recommends one of two options to maintain cardiovascular health: A) at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise 5 days a week (for a total of 150 minutes) or B) at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity 3 days a week (for a total of 75 minutes). They also recommend 2 days of high-intensity strength training as well. You should choose activities that are fun and enjoyable to you. This will help you maintain healthy blood pressure, potentially lower cholesterol, support your metabolism, and relieve stress.
Many people ask us, “how much should I weigh?” While it is true that morbidly obese men & women are at increased risk for health complications such as heart disease and diabetes, your weight does not tell the whole story. A normal weight individual with poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle should not be deemed “healthy” just as an overweight person who consistently maintains an active lifestyle while eating a nutritious diet should not be classified as “unhealthy”. If you are, however, curious to gauge your ideal weight then you can use an online tool to calculate your body mass index (BMI). A healthy weight on this scale corresponds to a BMI between 19 and 25. If you have high muscle mass or are of greater than average height, this index may not be the best indicator of health for you.
5 Tips for Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle
Creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel intimidating, but small steps can add up to big changes. Here are a few tips that can help you get on the road to wellness.
• Eat and cook real foods!
In general, you should avoid high sugar drinks, processed foods, and frequently eating out at restaurants. Focus on eating a diet rich in protein, healthy fats (think almonds, salmon, avocado), and naturally occurring sugars. www.ewg.org/goodfood is a great resource to get you started on cooking healthful, whole nutrition family meals.
• Stay active!
Take small steps such as parking in the farthest spot at the grocery store or using a portion of your lunch break to walk with co-workers. Join a kickboxing class or a Zumba program! Exercise should be something fun that you can look forward to each day as opposed to an obligation that drags you to the gym in the morning.
• Stay hydrated!
Your cells require water to function. If you are dehydrated, so are all of your organs and tissue. Make it a goal to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. Limit the number of sodas (even diet sodas!), sweet tea, or alcohol you drink as this will not only dehydrate you but also add an alarming amount of sugar to your daily diet.
• Get a good night’s sleep!
Who doesn’t love that advice?! We are all guilty of falling asleep in front of the TV at night or staying up in bed scrolling through the phone, but a good sleep routine can make dramatic improvements in your health. You cannot lose weight if you routinely get less than 6 hours of nightly sleep. A healthy night’s sleep (6-8 hours) will improve your memory and mood, reduce inflammation, increase energy, and help support a strong metabolism.
• Reduce stress!
Easier said than done, but increased stress and cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your metabolism and put your body into fat storage mode. Focus on taking 30 minutes daily to relax, practice some deep breathing, meditate, pray, or try some youtube yoga. Try it for 1 week and see whether your day dramatically changes.