Healthy Lifestyle


Make Health Your Priority
We have a tendency to take our health for granted until we lose it, then it is priceless.  Make health your priority now.  Your body is an incredible machine that has an amazing capacity to heal itself from whatever stress it is exposed to.  If you cut your skin it promptly heals, albeit usually with some scar tissue.  That powerful healing ability exists throughout our body. When we make unhealthy food choices our body does its best to heal the damage but always at a price.  It may be in the form of plaque in your arteries, inflammation in your joints or damage to your pancreas moving you closer to diabetes.  These small changes often go unnoticed until some tragic event occurs and what you thought was good health is gone.

By making health a priority in your life, you make daily decisions that maintain and improve your health.  Improving health is about more than a number on a scale.  Instead, work towards creating optimal health.  When your focus is on creating optimal health in your life, you start a process of continuous improvement.  When your goal is to be a certain weight, there is a tendency to lose motivation as you get closer to your goal.  For example, if your goal is to lose 40 lbs, when you reach 35 lbs you may be less disciplined with your program and get off course.  If your goal is to create optimal health there is no end point.  The objective is to get better and better.

Looking At Food Differently
Healthy Eating begins with changing how you think about food.  We often label foods as “good” or “bad” but there is a dualism in those labels.  When discussing the unhealthy foods you should avoid, a common reply is “all the good stuff”!  Chocolate cake tastes good but it is bad for you.  Mixed emotions are created when we look at foods as good or bad.  Emotions often dominate our food choices, those labels cloud our decision making process.  Instead, look at foods as either healthy or unhealthy.  You may look at cake as good or bad, but it is always unhealthy.  Everyone wants to be healthy.  When you chose healthy foods you are making decisions in line with your goal to be healthy.  Getting our actions and our goals in line is key to success.

Regular Exercise
Exercise is an essential part of good health.  Our bodies are made to move.  Exercise lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes and even death!  When you exercise on a regular basis, you improve your energy levels as well as improve focus and concentration.  Regular exercise reduces stress and improves mental health by helping depression, anxiety and ADHD.  Feel better; look better by developing an exercise routine.  For more tips on exercise, visit the exercise section.

Stress Management
One of the most challenging things in life is managing our stress.  To start, understand that not all stress is bad.  There is good stress and bad stress.  When we plan a vacation, start a new project, have a baby or move to a new location we are usually excited in anticipation of new events in our life.  These events create stress, but in a good way. 

The goal should not be to eliminate stress but to improve your response to stress.  Stress is a good motivator.  Stress pushes us to get things done, take on new tasks and solve problems.  The more we deal with stressful situations, the better we get at it.  It is like exercising a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets. Stress helps us grow as an individual, to a point.  Just as a muscle can be strained when over worked, too much stress creates strain in our lives. When stress becomes too great, we become overwhelmed making it difficult to resolve the issues that face us.

Begin by identifying the stressors in your life.  Divide those stressors into two categories, ones that you have control over and ones that you have no control over.  We don’t have any control over what other people think, say or do.  We cannot control financial markets, government actions, natural disasters, past mistakes or the person driving in front of us.  When it comes to things we cannot control, pain lies in the gap between the way things are and the way we want them to be.  The more we focus on wanting to change things that we have no control over, the more hopeless, helpless and stressed we become.  Letting go and accepting the things you cannot change in your life can be very liberating.

Focus your efforts on things you can change in your life.  Begin with yourself.  The more we improve ourselves, the more we effect positive change in the world around us.  Recognize negative self-talk.  How often are you critical of yourself or call yourself names?  Self –loathing just make you feel bad and you have complete control over that.  Recognize what you do right. Learn to praise yourself for your accomplishments and, most important, learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes.  Spend your time thinking about the things you can influence in your life.  Here, opportunity lies in the gap between the way things are and the way we want them to be.  When you shift your thoughts and actions away from the things you cannot control to the things you can, you become incredibly effective and your ability to manage stress improves.  You will be living life in the good stress zone.

Sleep Better and Keep Weight Off
Long and irregular work hours, late-night TV and worry are among the many factors that invade sleep patterns.  Restorative sleep is vital for both our physical and mental health as well as playing an important role in weight management.  Lack of sleep raises blood pressure, effects blood sugar levels and impairs our thinking. 

Studies indicate that lack of sleep can result in weight gain or slow the rate of weight loss in those who are working to shed pounds.  Lack of sleep triggers the release of hormones that stimulate appetite and increase hunger

Sleep is measured in both hours and depth.  Women need 7 to 8 hours and men need 8 to 9 hours of restful sleep a night, but it is not just about the hours.  Sleep is measured in stages with REM sleep being the deepest and most restorative.  A full night in bed spent without getting into a deep sleep cause you to wake up tired and not refreshed.

Learning good sleep habits is a powerful tool for improving health.  Here are some steps to help you get a good night’s sleep.

 

To learn more about good sleep habits read chapter 17 in “Dr. A’s Habits of Health”