A healthy life is something we all want, but how much do we really want it?
We all know what it takes to be healthy. We have heard it all before… clean eating, exercise, less stress etc. etc. Yet, we are often guilty of not applying these basic principles. I get it, who has time for all of that effort in our hectic and crazy lives? If we are honest with ourselves, we all do. The question is how to be smart about it and how can we make it a priority? Ever heard the expression “When there’s a will, there's a way”? We all manage to find time for those guilty pleasures (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), but an investment in your health will pay off when you need it most.
It seems too often that we wait for the man in the white coat to diagnose us with something before we have that wake-up call about our lifestyle choices. However, by then it’s often too late, and we are prescribed medication just to keep the illness at bay. And, let’s not forget about the dreaded price tag that comes with regular medication! I like to call this the “band aid effect” - Implementing short term fixes to issues as they arise. Unfortunately, most of the time this band aid isn’t going to cure you, nor get to the root of the issue. It is simply just to get you by, subdue the symptoms and get you back on your merry way. Although it might feel like maintaining a healthy lifestyle is costly at the time, often people don’t consider the expense that comes with chronic illness. So this raises the question; would you rather invest in preventative healthcare, or treatment?
If you are feeling inspired to learn more about preventative measures, I’ll get into how we can practice prevention in our everyday lives.
A healthy body starts from the inside out. Functional Nutrition works with the power of food to heal the body and prevent disease. This involves eating mindfully and considering what purpose each food is serving for your body. An element of realism also needs to come into play here. Living by the 90/10 rule allows you to find this balance. This stands for 90 percent sensible choices that aim to nourish your body, and 10 percent fun food choices. This rule was created by registered dietitian Joy Bauer. While her diet discourages eating refined carbohydrates such as sugar and junk food, the 10 percent rule allows for those celebratory moments where you can indulge in a glass of wine, a dessert, or any other “soul-soothing foods” you crave in moderation.
Switch to a Holistic mindset
I mentioned the band-aid effect before. Well, this is basically the opposite of that. Rather than focusing on the symptoms of a specific illness or body part, this ancient approach considers the person as a whole. Mind, body and spirit are the main focus of this approach. By aligning all of these we allow our bodies to function optimally and help unlock its true (and often hidden) potential.
Exercise is one of those things we have a love-hate relationship with. Sure, you can lose weight without exercising, but this article isn’t about weight-loss. It is about health and prevention, both of which fundamentally require a consistent exercise regimen. Exercise is all about consistency and getting into a routine that suits you. There are so many forms of exercise that don’t have to seem like a chore; it could be a scenic run, a Zumba class, boxercise or a good old gym session. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you get your heart rate up and get that blood pumping for at least 30 mins a day, and 3 times a week.
Get enough sleep
Studies show that even an extra hour of good-quality sleep can have a significant impact on your health, mood & weight. Not only does a good night’s sleep feel amazing, but it is also linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, and obesity. It is recommended to have 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night for your body to repair itself and perform to its best ability. For undisturbed sleep, try to avoid stimulants that interfere with your natural sleep cycle, such as coffee, sugar and external lights from electrical devices - particularly as you near bedtime.
With the pressures of today’s society, stress has become somewhat of a normal feeling for many of us and it can cause the body to go into fight or flight mode. This strain triggers unhealthy physical symptoms such as anxiety, feeling scared, or feeling uptight, and can lead to chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Learn to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and take time out to practice self-care. Meditation is an increasingly popular measure of preventative care you can implement anytime and anywhere. This practice teaches you how to help avoid the event or situation that leads to your stress and changes how you react to stressful situations if they occur.