The Art of Being Healthy

images-3Did you groan when you read the title, or was that just me? If I’m to be completely honest, the concept of living healthy can seem overwhelming when working full-time, raising kids, balancing and juggling all the details of life.. the drive-thru is so much easier on crazy days, and that work-out doesn’t always get done like I planned. Maybe I’m the only one out there that struggles with it. Maybe not, either. The problem is that a large number of us don’t take responsibility for our physical well-being until we are presented with a problem, which is unfortunate.

Let me ask you something:

  • Do you know how you feel?
  • Do you know your body, and how it reacts to certain foods or your environment?
  • Do you follow what the latest trend or guru has put in front of you and hope for the best? Or do you just eat and do whatever you feel like and roll with the punches, whatever they may be?

Here’s why I think those are valid questions: I have noticed that there are pockets of people who have completely taken over the welfare of their bodies due to an illness or disease (including obesity), typically resulting in a complete overhaul and subsequent change in outcome. ie: they get better.

The quirky thing to me is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that they’ve embraced. For example, one may have gone completely vegan, and another paleo, yet they are each thriving. My little brain wants to find the common denominator and lay it down so I can have the ultimate in answers and never have to wonder again. My guess is it may not be quite so hard-and-fast as I’d like, though. What it appears to comes down to is that they discovered what works for them as an individual and ran with it. They learned to listen to their bodies and made the necessary adjustments to serve it well. Maybe it was food allergies they dealt with, or an emotional attachment to unhealthy foods,  maybe a thyroid issue, maybe cancer, maybe MS… but it was something personal. And they took ownership of it.

A recent analysis of weight loss research by The New England Journal of Medicine, entitled Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity had some very interesting things to say regarding our excuses for not setting high goals and making drastic changes. Hmmm…

We are all very unique, complex individuals and I have no business saying that we all should adhere to a particular regime or plan when it comes to getting and remaining healthy. That said, there are some fairly basic rules-of-thumb regarding healthy-living , and I think we should call them out:

  1. Get as close to the original real-deal stuff as possible. Meaning organic, home-grown, grass-fed, let it out of the freakin’ cage kind of thing. The less toxic, the more natural, the better you will feel and perform. It’s the way you were created to thrive.
  2. Take a closer look at grains and how you respond to them. (Going gluten-free won’t necessarily solve a gut problem, so nix it all together for a bit and then slowly add it back in and see how you feel.) Make sure they are complex/whole grains. Not white flour products like store-bought pasta and muffins…
  3. My vegan friends will tell you to do the same with meat. The issue in both of these instances is inflammation. Personally I can’t do white flour or other simple starches or I swell up. Nice, eh? People with arthritis, or gut issues have gone one way or the other and noticed significant results after a few months. Interesting.
  4. Scrap the sugar! And aspartame. Try Stevia, or agave nectar. They won’t spike your insulin the same, and don’t have the same poisonous effects on your system.
  5. Omega 3’s. You need ’em, but probably don’t get enough of them. Essential for a healthy heart, brain, and immune system. Fish-derived omega-3’s are not your only option either. Flax seed is a good source, as well as algae oil (which, interestingly enough, is the primary source of omega-3’s for coldwater fish).
  6. Eat your breakfast. In the vast weight registry of people who lost more than 70 lbs and kept it off, the common denominators were simply eating breakfast and exercise.
  7. More fruits and veggies. The more of these you eat, the less junk you’ll be apt to take in, while helping create health by providing your body with tools it needs. By the way, this is the only thing that all nutrition experts will agree on. We need to eat more fruit and vegetables for our health!
  8. Move that bod! Get your tush off the couch, and do something. Go for a 30 min walk, take your kids to the park and play with them this time, or maybe actually take the dog for a walk instead of just letting it off the leash to run around on it’s own. You were designed to move. You don’t have to sign up for the marathon next week. Just move! Everyday.

Being healthy is a state of mind just as much as a state of being. Yesterday I touched on contentment, and if you haven’t dealt with some core issues first, your body will respond in kind. You are a complex being.

How you think affects how you feel.

How you feel can affect how you think, so be careful.

Take stock of why and what you eat, and how much.

Take care of yourself. I believe you can!

 Let me know what your biggest successes and failures are regarding taking control of your health. 

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