What does the word “healthy” mean to you? Is it a better diet? More time for yourself? Successfully making it to the gym 5 days a week? Better mental health?
“When I think of the word healthy so much comes to mind. From food, to fitness, to hair. I think healthy means to be in a state that makes you happy and helps you thrive. It’s the amount that’s good for your well being without being excessive. Too much of something can alter other areas or have reverse effects.
Jillian Tedesco, CEO/Owner of fit-flavors
The definition of healthy or what a healthy lifestyle means is going to vary from person to person, but overall, a healthy lifestyle makes you happy and makes you feel good. It puts you in a state of mental, physical, and social well being. A healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of health problems, helps you to cope with daily life stressors in a healthy way, and improves your quality of life.
Regardless of your current age, activity level, gender, or body type, it is never too late or too early to start building a healthy lifestyle. Below are some basic steps you can take to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Drink more water
Drinking enough water daily is super important when it comes to your health.Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. Water helps you avoid dehydration, regulates your body temperature, transports vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients throughout your body, lubricates and cushions your joints, aids in digestion, and helps to get rid of waste.
Your body loses water all day everyday from things such as breathing, sweating, warm weather, and restroom breaks, so it is important to make sure you are drinking an adequate amount of water daily to make up for water loss.
Tips for drinking more water:
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day
- Drink water with your meals
- Add a lime, lemon, or other fruits to your water to improve the taste without adding extra sugar
- Choose water over soda and other sugary drinks when eating out at a restaurant
- Set a daily water goal (example: 4 water bottles a day)
The amount of water you need daily varies from person to person but a good overall goal to shoot for is 2-3 liters a day or 4-5 16.9 oz water bottles. A good indicator for adequate water intake is your urine, which should be colorless or pale yellow.
Learn basic nutrition
Proper nutrition is the foundation of preventing a lot of chronic diseases and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. With an overwhelming amount of information out there about what you should eat, how much you should eat, and when to eat, it can get confusing. Learning basic nutrition can help you to reach your weight goals, maintain a healthy diet, and get your essential vitamins and minerals.
Below are some resources to get you started with understanding some of the basics;
- Everything you need to know about macronutrients
- Hand portions guide
- How to read nutrition facts and ingredients lists
- Clean eating
- Misleading food claims
- Nutrition program
Eat whole foods
Cutting down on processed foods and including more whole foods in your diet is a key component when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and optimizing your health. Most processed foods are high in salt, sugar, and added preservatives. Whereas whole foods are as close to their natural form as possible and undergo very little processing. Quality whole foods are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
A change of diet is hard for anyone, but small steps can be taken to add more whole foods into your diet to make the transition easier;
- Add more whole grains to your diet such as brown rice, oatmeal, or quinoa.
- Make sure you are reading nutrition labels.
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Eat the rainbow. Pick bright colored fruits and vegetables as they are usually higher in antioxidants.
- Prepare your own meals at home or purchase fresh premade meals.
We have all experienced stress at some point in our lives, some of us more than others. Stress can be caused by work, school, family, big changes, money, constant worrying, among other things.
When you are put in a stressful situation your nervous system releases stress hormones that can cause your heart to race, you may start to sweat, feel tense, tired, and may even experience stomach aches and headaches. These are generally short term effects of stress and eventually subside. Long term effects of stress, however, can have more serious effects on your body such as depression, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, and weight fluctuations.
Ways to decrease stress
- Regular exercise
- Take breaks throughout the day to get some fresh air
- Keep a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings
- Spend time with friends and family
- Reach out to a counselor or therapist if needed
Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can positively impact your sleep, mood, energy levels, weight, and overall health. Exercise lowers the stress hormone in your body and also produces endorphins which help produce positive feelings.
Whether you’re at the gym 5 days a week or you take walks everyday on your lunch break, incorporating regular exercise into your life for at least 30 minutes a day can drastically benefit your lifestyle. There are an endless amount of physical activities that you can do for exercise;
- Walking or running
- Lifting weights
- Group workout classes
- Recreational sports
- Rock climbing
While everyone may have a different definition of what the word “healthy” means to them, it is important to remember that you can better your health and lifestyle by making small changes. A healthy lifestyle brings you happiness, health, and can be whatever you want it to be. Staying hydrated, learning basic nutrition information, eating whole foods, reducing stress, and getting regular exercise are all key components of a healthy lifestyle and can positively impact your mental, physical, and social well being.