Journey to Wellness
A healthy lifestyle incorporates wellness from every angle, including sleep, active stress management, physical activity, and of course healthy eating. These components seem to fall further down our priority lists, as overflowing schedules re-direct our focus and leave us too tired to think further than a microwave meal at the end of a day. To reap the benefits of lasting health, will be much more important in the long-run, than any other task you may be currently under pressure to get done. When we eat properly, we not only feel better about ourselves, but we have more energy and are better able to cope with the demands of living a fast-paced life and we reduce the risk of developing lifestyle related diseases. Dietary planning should be number one on the to-do list of busy people. As the old adage goes – failing to plan is planning to fail. That means planning your weekly menu in advance, scheduling in time to shop for healthy foods and stocking up with fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts to snack on. Remember why you are going to all of this effort. The answer is for yourself – your health really is in your own hands! There are numerous principles of healthy living and various modern theories, but some basics remain unchanged and these are the pointers that can be easily initiated by anyone looking for rejuvenation.
DRINK WATER THROUGHOUT THE DAY
This is an obvious one, but is somewhat not applied often enough. Available almost everywhere, this is the one healthy habit which requires no planning, but it does require mindset. Set your mind to the fact that you need to drink a glass of water every three hours between waking and going to sleep at night (one with every meal, and one between meals). Water boosts the metabolism, curbs cravings and prevents fatigue. If you have time for facebook and twitter, you certainly have time to fit it in.
Some people just don’t have an appetite on waking, but although breakfast should not be skipped, it can be delayed. A healthy meal before 10am in the morning is recommended to set the rhythm for good blood sugar control throughout the day. For those who are hungry, but short of time, all you need is an extra 4 minutes to boil an egg.
DON’T SKIP MEALS
The great paradox of weight loss! Eating regularly is key to losing weight. Provided that portion control is employed, regular food consumption is the best way to optimize metabolism. This also prevents food binges following on from low blood sugar levels, which will occur with erratic eating patterns.
SNACK ON FRUIT
Despite the fact that we should be eating fruit daily for the benefits of fibre and micro-nutrients, fruit (although classified by some as a carbohydrate), has a much lower energy and carbohydrate content than most commercial snack packs, snack bars and even healthy drinks on the market. Therefore choose to eat some Fruit at Snacktime.
EAT BALANCED MEALS EVERY DAY
Healthy eating must incorporate every food group, as they each have different nutritional importance and physical functionality. Although protein enhances satiety, these foods are also high in calories. Carbohydrates are currently controversial and can be hard to control, but they give us the energy which we need to be active and alert. Essential fats add flavour and nutritional value to the diet. The key is knowing which foods in every group should be used and which should be avoided. A combination of lean protein, carbohydrate and unsaturated fat is the simple way to achieve health on a plate.
MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD
The problem with relying on fast-food options, microwave meals and other convenient foods, is that you have little control (or knowledge) of the content! These foods often taste great for the simple reason that they are much higher in sugar and/or fat than they should be.
TRY NEW FOODS, BUT NOT NEW FADS
Try new ingredients, cuisines and experiment with current food trends. An ingredient here or there should not alter the balance of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for fad diets, which (depending on the extremity of a particular diet) can be largely unbalanced and compromise your health.
DON’T GIVE UP
Health is an ongoing habit and can’t be given a deadline, although, with time-management a healthy lifestyle can be achieved by anyone. The fundamentals tools required are strength of mind, insight into healthy food choices and some time set aside for experimentation in the kitchen.
Health is, quite simply, a habit and an ongoing process rather than an end result