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A healthy lifestyle is generally defined as a combination of a healthful diet and regular exercise to maintain your weight. In addition, managing stress is important by balancing work and home life. 1
So what is the WHY that has you searching for a healthy lifestyle? Are you looking for good health, fitness, work, and home life balance?
Is it losing weight or getting in better shape to be able to spend more time playing with your children?
Maybe you want to make better social connections to get married and start a family?
Or is work stressing you out and you need to balance it with hobbies, travel, or other personal interests.
Whatever your WHY is, it can motivate you to get started. The WHY is what motivates you to CHANGE. If you have a big enough WHY you can do anything.
Three Key Components of a Healthy Life:
Ever notice that our society rewards people who are at a healthy weight?
People get more attention, and better opportunities for jobs, companions, and popularity. A healthy weight enables you to look good in clothes, feel more confident, have better social interactions, and often avoid weight-related health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Most people associate a healthy life with a healthy or ideal weight. This, of course, is in conflict with the modern-day way of life which often includes:
- eating unhealthy fast food on the run,
- working long hours in front of a computer, and
- eating extra-large portions of food when you eat out.
All with limited time for exercise to balance the food intake. Sound like you?
This way of life leads to more calories taken in, than what is burned, leads to scale creep and excess weight.
So what has to change?
We need to slow down and move our focus to:
- the food we chose to eat,
- how much we eat when we eat,
- and why we eat.
Also making sure we take time for us to get the exercise we need to keep our bodies and minds in shape.
How do you determine a healthy weight?
Most women and men have a number in mind when they think of their ideal body weight. Maybe this number is from college at a time when you felt most in control of your weight. After college when we start jobs or after starting a family we have less free time for being active and exercising.
Over time, this allows the intake of calories to outpace needs. This additional nutrition is stored as fat and the pounds start to creep onto our stomach, hips, and thighs.
How do you get a handle on weight creep?
The first thing is to determine the ideal weight. There is an online weight calculator at Calculator.net which allows you to plug in Age, Gender, and Height and it will give you an estimate of ideal weight based on several formulas.
Understanding the number of calories you need to take in to lose weight or maintain your weight is important. A calorie calculator at Calculator.net estimates your daily caloric needs by inputting your Age, Gender, Height, Weight, and Activity Level.
The Keto Diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that when followed, produces quick and consistent weight loss. The diet is very structured and must be followed closely to weight loss can be quickly regained.
The Mediterranean Diet is a less restrictive diet. Following the Mediterranean Diet is more of a lifestyle adjustment. With a focus on a healthy diet, it also encompasses regular exercise and stress management. Many will follow it long term in the search for a healthy lifestyle.
Many will suggest that you don’t have to worry about calories on either the Keto Diet or the Mediterranean Diet. But if you go over the number of calories your body needs to lose weight then you may plateau your weight loss.
As you lose weight its a good idea to check in occasionally and make sure you aren't exceeding the daily calories needed for your weight and make adjustments as necessary.
Our bodies were made to move and a sedentary lifestyle is not healthy. We need to make time for regular exercise.
Exercise is important for:
- makes you more confident,
- decreases anxiety and
- even improves mental well being.
When you exercise you produce hormones as well as endorphins that make you feel great. It can clear your mind and even help you find creative solutions to problems.
Another important aspect of exercise is the preservation of muscle mass which is important in maintaining weight. Muscle burns more calories.
Preservation of Muscle Mass
As we age, muscle mass tends to decrease which impacts our muscle strength but also the number of calories we need to maintain our weight. This means that as muscle mass decreases, the number of calories we need to eat to maintain decreases.
That's another reason for the scale creep we may see over the years when we really don't feel like we are eating differently, but the scale shows a slow increase in weight.
Exercise can help you fight this trend.
Exercise also helps ease pain and stiffness from inactivity.
Types of Exercise
According to Harvard Health Publishing, there are four basic types of exercise, including aerobic or endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises.
Most people focus on one type of exercise, such as lifting weights, but it is best to spread your exercise across all four categories to get the most benefit.
For many people, walking is the perfect exercise. It's an activity we all know how to do and do it daily. When dieting if you have been sedentary for a while, you can add a daily walk to boost your metabolism and keep it humming.
When you are ready, adding variety to the walk can also help keep it interesting. My post on Why Run When You Can Walk to Lose Weight suggests a weekly routine for keeping your daily walks interesting while helping you keep your weight loss on track.
For example, adding short bursts of speed walking can help your body burn more fat. Short bursts of intense activity that get your heart pumping are referred to as high-intensity interval training or HIIT. Check out my post, Simple HIIT Exercises to Burn Fat Fast and add HIIT workouts into your exercise routine.
Stress often gets a bad reputation. Mild to moderate stress in the short term can often help you be more productive. It can help you get that project completed by the due date or get your house clean when unexpected company is stopping by.
The problem is when stress becomes chronic. This type of mental stress can often translate into physical symptoms such as headache, gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach ache, tension, and sleep issues. In some cases, it can cause a rapid heart rate and chest pain. It can also lead to increased colds and infections.
Managing stress can be handled by different types of interventions. 3
5 Tips to Manage Stress
Control How You Think
One way is taking control of how you think about problems or issues that cause stress. It's important to work towards thinking positive and having less focus on potential negative outcomes.
Learn from past performance and success. Replicating those situations will help you approach new problems with more confidence.
Support From Family and Friends
Making family, friends, and even coworkers aware of work pressures or other problems is really important in managing stress. Sharing these issues will help explain tight deadlines, work pressures and other concerns that lead to misunderstandings.
Work it Out
Exercise is a great way to work out stress. Heading to the gym after work, or the coed baseball game are great ways to relieve stress. Even short bursts of 15 minutes of exercise can be beneficial.
Another way to work it out is by taking the time to be calm. Whether that is daily meditation, a yoga class, or sitting outside at a park and reading a book. Take time to rest and reflect.
Plan Your Diet
I don't know about you, but when I am stressed, I have a tendency to go straight for snacks, including high carb processed cookies and chips. When you plan your diet around healthy whole food, it can help your stress by managing your blood sugar levels.
When we eat too many high carb foods it can cause blood sugar swings which can intensify stress levels.
Plan ahead and include healthy snacks to keep you satisfied and not seeking the next sugary treat.
There are only so many hours in a day. We often use 8 of those to work at the office and then head home and continue to work on projects, answer emails, or just continue to focus on work issues.
When possible, try to leave work at the office. Make time at home yours to focus on other parts of your life such as hobbies, interests, and family. Limit work email to 15 minutes before bed or 1/2 hour on Sunday to help you feel prepared for work the next day.
For more on balancing work demands, read my post What Does Fine Living Mean to You?
Finally, the key to managing stress is to focus on managing the different areas of your life so stress does not control where and how you spend your time.
Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle
So let's review the many benefits of a healthy lifestyle to get you motivated. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle is a mental choice and requires behavioral change. 2 A choice where you may have to make to change your daily habits.
- You will look better as you obtain a better weight and get more exercise so that clothes fit better. It goes without saying that almost everyone desires to look their best.
- You will feel better when you adapt to a healthy lifestyle. You will have more energy and often the aches and pains of inactivity start to fade away. In addition, your mood will be better. Better blood sugar control help manage brain fog and exercise helps produce endorphins to make you feel great.
- Better health focus is important for avoiding chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. By eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting moderate exercise, even a short 15 minutes every day will move you toward better health. 2 The goal, of course, is to stay off medication and not suffer the consequences of chronic disease.
- All of the above benefits will lead to more confidence, which sets the stage for better social interactions. This means getting more of what you want in life from jobs to relationships and more.
- Managing stress levels and overall life balance will ultimately lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy Life Focus - Obtaining a Healthy Weight, Add Exercise, and Manage Stress
One of the best diets my husband and I have found to lose is the Keto Diet. Over my lifetime I have tried many different diets and have lost weight and of course, regained it and more.
Usually losing the most on a very low-calorie diet when food and especially fats are restricted and I am hungry all the time.
With the Keto Diet, carbohydrates are restricted, proteins are eaten in moderation, and fats are added to all meals. Fats are what make the dishes flavourful and keep me satisfied.
The Keto Essentials post will give you a lot more detail on what the Keto Diet is, how it works, and the science behind it so you can decide if you want to give it a try.
When you are just starting the Keto Diet, one of the most important questions that people want to know is: What can I eat?
To get you started, I put together a 7-Day Keto Diet Meal Plan and Shopping List Guide.
Sign up for Fit As A Fiddle Life Tips and Strategy Newsletter and I will send you the PDF links to get you started on the Keto Diet. Click here to sign up.
This will make your first week on the Keto Diet a breeze!
So get ready to work on your Healthy Life!
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This site contains general information about diet, health, fitness, and nutrition. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement or before beginning a diet or exercise program.