The Simple Side of Being Healthy

May 29, 2018
Share |

Being healthy is a hot topic these days.  There are hundreds of websites, blogs, and podcasts from “experts” sharing their advice on what’s best and how to achieve your goals of being healthy.  

There are fitness trackers and smartwatches that track our steps and our sleep.  We have so many options for “healthy” eating plans from paleo to keto to whole foods.  There are videos and YouTube channels with so many options for exercise from marathon training to HIIT training to meditation.  There are even fitness bikes that now connect you to a virtual class of other participants.

While all of these options are great, it is a known fact that information overload can lead to decision paralysis.  When faced with too many options, some people freeze up and never choose anything at all for fear of failure or making the wrong decision.

It is so much better to do something rather than nothing! So, here are a few tips to take you back to the simple side of being healthy.

Sleep

Your health starts and ends with sleep.  You need enough good sleep to be rested and recharged for the next day.  The hours, while you sleep, is when your body repairs and heals itself. Sleep protects your health and keeps you active and alert. Also, it revs up your metabolism and regulates your hunger hormones, so it helps you maintain a healthy weight. (1)

  • It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Women need more sleep, but they are generally lighter sleepers and are more easily disrupted
  • To make sure you get your ZZZs:
    • Keep the same wake and sleep times EVERYDAY - even the weekends
    • Be sure to power down electronics at least an hour before bedtime
    • Keep your room cool and dark to promote the best sleep
    • Develop a relaxing before bed routine that signals your body that it is time for sleep

Eat Right

The adage of “you are what you eat” couldn’t be truer. If you put garbage into your body you will feel sluggish, tired, have increased inflammation, along with a whole other host of health problems.  But, what does “eating healthy” mean? Honestly, it means different things to different people. All of our bodies are unique and respond differently to various foods. A solid rule of thumb is to follow basic dietary guidelines. (2)  

Remember this is about keeping it simple, making healthy choices over unhealthy ones. By just making a few adjustments to what you eat, you will see improvement in how you feel.

  • Eat your veggies (½ plate fruit and veg)
  • Choose whole grains - stay away from processed/white starches
  • Monitor your fat intake
  • Vary your protein routine
  • Limit sodium, saturated fat, added sugars
  • Drink plenty of water

Get Moving

Exercising 30 minutes a day reduces heart disease by 30 to 40 percent and stroke by 25 percent. (3) Not everybody is going to be a weight lifter or marathon runner or yoga master - but we can all be mindful of the time we spend being sedentary.   With the increased use of technology, we are watching more TV, spending more time on our phones and social media, rather than meeting friends at the park or taking a walk with our family after dinner. Keep it simple and get moving. You’ve been walking almost all your life - now do it with purpose - your heart.

  • 30 minutes a day of purposeful movement
  • Keep it simple; it does not have to be complicated to be effective
  • Start small and stay consistent
  • Put it on your calendar and make time
  • Find a partner to keep you accountable

Practice Gratitude

A big part of making healthy choices for yourself and your family is about your mindset.  If you look at it as a chore or an inconvenience, it becomes difficult, and you are less likely to stick with it.  If you look at it as doing something for yourself (self-care) and for your family (love) it becomes a gift. Changing your mindset can sometimes be more difficult than getting up at 6 a.m. for a walk, but if you start to shift the way you think about things, in general, it will spill over into all areas of your life.

To help you on your gratitude journey, here are eight ways to have more gratitude in your daily life. (4)

  • Don’t be picky: appreciate everything
  • Find gratitude in your challenges
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Volunteer
  • Express yourself
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Improve your happiness in other areas of your life

In your journey to better health, remember to keep it simple.  Don’t stress; stress is bad for your health.

Sources:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/101/how-much-sleep-do-you-need.aspx
  2. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/dietary-guidelines
  3. https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/live-healthy/exercise/
  4. https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2016/07/08/8-ways-to-have-more-gratitude-every-day/#67fadcf21d54