Healthy Lifestyle Series – 5 Segments of Health and Wellness for Everyday Living
In order for a person to live a healthy lifestyle, one must know how to eat in moderation. The 5 segments of health and wellness feed off of the knowledge of eating in moderation, which are: knowing which foods are “good” and “bad,” knowing how much food you should be consuming in a day to maintain your weight, having healthy eating habits, and self-confidence.
A Look at Food: Knowing What’s Considered “Good” and “Bad” Food
The first segment of health and wellness for everyday living is having the knowledge of what are healthy and unhealthy food options. Healthy—or “good”—food is found on the outer parts of the grocery store and not down the aisles. If you notice, fruits and vegetables, lean meats and non-fat and low-fat dairy are found outside of the aisles. This is the area you want to focus on to live a healthy eating lifestyle.
Less healthy—or “bad”—food is found down the aisles of the grocery store and most likely contain unhealthy additives to preserve freshness or taste sweeter and also contain a great amount of sugar. These foods are not as healthy for you, but they should not be looked at as “bad.” They should be looked at as something eaten in moderation. If someone has a mindset of a cookie as “bad,” and one day they eat three at a party, they are more likely going to feel bad about themselves or believe they already screwed up their diet, so they reach for more. A person’s diet should be 80-20: 80% Healthy foods and 20% less healthy foods. That type of diet will make for a healthy lifestyle.
Reading the Labels Correctly
The second segment is tied-in with the first. You must know how to read a food label correctly in order to know if it is healthy or not. The first thing you should read is the ingredients. If one of the first ingredients is sugar, high fructose corn syrup or the like, you know it should be deemed unhealthy. A healthier option should only have around 6 grams of sugar.
Foods that contain dyes, such as fruit-flavored snacks, are not considered a healthy option. Breads that contain the first ingredient of whole wheat or water are healthy options. Foods that contain 50 ingredients that you cannot pronounce are considered unhealthy. Additives and chemicals are added into foods to make them sweeter and have a longer shelf life. Those ingredients are not made for the human body. Foods that contain the least amount of ingredients and are close to natural, homemade, or organic are your best options.
The second thing you should pay attention to on the label is calories and grams of carbohydrate, protein, fat, and sugar. It’s ideal to go for food that is low in calories, fat, and sugar. It’s also important to stay away from trans fats and eat the minimum amount of saturated fats as possible. Carbohydrates shouldn’t be too high and foods that contain protein are a plus.
Moderation is key in weight control. To maintain your weight, you must eat a certain amount of calories based on your age, gender, and height. You can find out the correct number of calories that is personalized for you at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/. The personalized eating plan will help you determine how many carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you should be eating daily. It also helps to keep track of what vitamins you’re lacking in your diet, hence the reason you should eat everything in moderation, whether it be a certain fruit, wheat bread, or sweets. Portion control is key. It is also important to get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity each week.
Changing Your Healthy Eating Habits a Little at a Time
To obtain a healthy eating lifestyle and maintain it, you must make small changes gradually. It is much harder to keep up a healthy lifestyle if you jump into a certain diet that restricts you from foods you love and the amount of food you’re used to eating in a day. Small changes include incorporating 2 fruits and 2 cups of vegetables each day one week, the next week it could be eating out only a certain amount of times for the week, and the following week you could have a goal of drinking 60 ounces of water each day. It helps to set a goal and make a plan in order to change your habits and lifestyle. In no time, these small changes will become a habit and will eventually become your lifestyle. Eventually, you’ll also be able to eat foods in moderation and maintain a healthy weight.
And last, but certainly, not least: self-confidence. Confidence and belief in yourself is the most important part of change, which includes changing your eating patterns and changing your daily routine by incorporating exercise, preferably daily. Whether you want to lose weight, maintain and not gain, or become healthier in general, you must be confident in yourself and believe you are capable of anything. If you believe you can make those changes, if you are confident you are a great person and deserve a better lifestyle, and if you know completely that you are worth it, that is the beginning of a healthier you. If you need help with confidence or motivation, look up quotes that inspire you and tape them to your mirror, watch videos of motivational speakers, or take a moment to write down a list of all the reasons you are great and refer back to that list often. I guarantee you are greater than you believe, but you have to believe it. You can make the changes in your lifestyle if you set your heart to it.