In a perfect world we would all have a healthy lifestyle. We would be eating the right food, exercising, sleeping well and just generally enjoying life.
In the real world most of us manage a percentage of the lifestyle and muddle through as best we can with the rest of it.
Part of the problem is we are encouraged to think, mostly by the media, that we should be doing everything possible towards a healthy lifestyle, all of the time. For most of us this is just not possible.
Constant concern about what we should or shouldn’t be doing causes our stress levels to go up and that negates any good work that we’ve done. Yes, we should certainly try for a healthy lifestyle, but the two key words are “moderation” and “balance”. By applying these criteria to achieving a healthy lifestyle we won’t be beating ourselves up for failing another diet or dropping out of the latest exercise regime.
A common mistake that many people make when they decide to adopt a healthy lifestyle is to try to do too much too soon. They then give themselves a guilt complex when it all falls apart. It is also easy to be influenced by others, when we should only be adopting a healthy lifestyle plan to suit ourselves.
Ah! Did I say lifestyle plan? Do you have one, or do you just try the next thing that is in your magazine or Sunday supplement? By all means read these articles and take them into account as you plan how you want your healthy lifestyle to take shape.
Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have got to run a mile before breakfast, eat seeds and think pure thoughts. Great if that’s what you want, but for most of us “healthy” means being in reasonable shape, eating our fruit and vegetables and generally having a feeling of vitality.
Decide on your definition of a healthy lifestyle, and then plan a strategy that works for you.
As part of my health plan I decided I wanted to walk in the mornings before breakfast, but there was no way I wanted to get up at the crack of dawn to do it. So I planned a ten minute circuit that includes a short flight of steps and a not too steep incline. I power walked that route every day and felt really good. Sure l wouldn’t make the City to Surf marathon, but I compromised and made it work for me.
Today, much is made of organic foods, but the reality is that organic food is generally more expensive and well out of the range for most budgets. Yes organic is probably the best option, but it doesn’t mean that if you’re not eating all organic you are not eating right. If you’re concerned about general produce, be a bit discerning when you shop. Look for fruit and vegetables that are fresh and unblemished. You should also buy product brands that you can trust. If you shop wisely, you can have a well-balanced healthy diet that won’t break the bank.
Basically living a healthy life means looking at your lifestyle as a whole, it is not just about diet and exercise. It is not always necessary to make major changes, you might not need the complete sea change. Most people know their weak spots, and are happy if they can make a few changes that show results.
A friend of mine was drinking several cans of soft drink a day. She was feeling tired and generally under the weather. When I read an article about the health risk of soft drink I copied it and gave it to her, whereupon she decided to give up the soft drink there and then. A week later she got back to me and said she couldn’t believe the difference, her energy levels were up and she was feeling great. Just that one change was able to make a difference and she feels good about the healthy choice.
Sleep and leisure time play a big part in a healthy lifestyle, and for the most part people underestimate the value of good sleep. Our bodies aren’t designed to operate at peak performance twenty four hours a day. Anyone in industry knows that machines that have to work continuously need a lot of maintenance. When we are sleeping our body is healing and regenerating itself and we should wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized.
We can go without sleep for extended periods, but we can’t do it indefinitely. The amount of sleep an individual needs varies a great deal, and there is no such thing as the right time to sleep. Obviously most people sleep at night, but if you are one of those folk that comes alive in the small hours, you might need to catch up with your sleep during the day.
A big part of healthy living is being comfortable with yourself. Don’t be pressured into trying to attain a certain look, or push yourself down a career path you are not suited to. Constant worry about what you are doing will only have the opposite effect on your health. Don’t get paranoid about your diet, about what toothpaste you should use or about expensive exercise equipment you need to buy.
Allow a common sense approach to dictate when you are making lifestyle choices, and remember, there is nothing wrong with compromise if it means your healthy lifestyle plan will work for you.