Three Strategies for Reaching Optimal Health
Everywhere you look these days, there is a new diet or lifestyle trend that promises radical weight loss and health improvements. Whether vegan or paleo, low-carb or raw foods, these diets all promise spectacular results that appear on the surface to be easy to achieve. Despite the popularity of lifestyle diets, the fact remains that the real key to improved health has always been and always will be creating healthy habits.
Americans eat too much, and we eat too much of the wrong things. The FDA recommends that we eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day, but very few people actually meet even that minimum requirement. Revolutionizing the way we eat can revolutionize the way we feel. Eating well doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply trading in processed foods laden with chemicals and sugar for whole, unprocessed foods can result in dramatic improvements in the way you look and feel. Forgo soda for tea or juice, skip packaged convenience foods and opt instead for vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruit and you will begin to see major changes.
Whether we like it or not, exercise is essential to health and fitness. You may think you just aren’t the exercising type, but as with eating healthy food, exercise is a habit you can develop over time. For the first few weeks, you may dread your workouts, but once exercise becomes a habit you will notice that you begin to enjoy working out and may even come to look forward to it. Whether you lift weights, run, do yoga, ride a bike, or play soccer, begin slowly and keep track of your progress. Seeing concrete proof of progress is a great motivator.
Everyone has had a rough day at work because of a poor night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can leave you cranky and feeling ill, which is not a recipe for successfully sticking to a diet or exercise plan. It’s also simply good for you to ensure that you get enough sleep. Our bodies do their repair work at night when we aren’t using up all of our energy moving around. It’s important to set up a bedtime routine that will tell your body and mind that it’s time to get ready to sleep. Playing soft music or using a white noise machine can help, as can reading a book. But make sure it’s a paperback! It’s essential to turn off all of your screens at least two hours before bed since the artificial light tricks the brain into believing it’s daytime.
If you need extra motivation, ask a friend or family member to join you in your quest to create new and healthier habits. It may take a little while, but focusing on these basic changes can lead to dramatic improvements in your health and well-being.