I’ve always been mindful of being proactive through the little things I do; like eating right, sleeping early, being thankful, and moving my body. With the warmer weather here, it’s been a treat to go outside for picnics, walk along the beach, and bike at night. Since I don’t buy a gym pass, I like to exercise through simple and free means like walking to the grocery store, vacuuming the house (which I really dislike), doing the dishes by hand, baking, gardening, or going for a walk after dinner. Although these simple activities will take up a part of our day, it’ll help us to slow down in life and benefit our health in the long run.
I’m not a dietician but neither am I a rocket scientist to know that what we eat on the inside will show on the outside. One of the ways to living our best is feeling our best. And a part of that is taking care of our bodies through exercise and what we put into it. Fact is, eating healthy takes work – it takes time, energy, planning, and preparation. That’s why it’s tempting to eat out or heat up already-made processed foods. Eventually what we eat will catch up to us, for better or for worse.
A general rule of thumb to eating healthy is to consume food in it’s simplest form of being unprocessed, and if you do consume processed foods, make sure it has very few ingredients in it, ones that you can pronounce. Every little bit helps, so try not to add unnecessary salt to dishes or sugar in beverages but if you need to, a tasty substitute sweetener would be honey (or agave) and a good substitute for salt would be salsa. Another way to cut needless calories from your diet is to replace your soda and juice with water and non-caffeinated tea. And unless you’re an athlete in training, I’d stay away from energy drinks and protein shakes, all of which have an absorbent amount of calories. A little always goes a long way, this applies to both losing and putting on the pounds.
Another way to watch what you eat is to make your own meals and desserts. This way you can control what ingredients you’d like to put into it. Yes, this takes time and who knows, you might find you have a natural knack for cooking and baking. In my spare time, I enjoy baking as it helps me to decompress and I’m electronic-free for a few hours. The plus side is that I’ll have delicious treats on hand for the rest of the week. Yes, baking and cooking takes time and effort but the health benefits far outweigh the work.
I guarantee you’ll have those days where you’re going to want to sink your teeth into sweets or into the deep-fried food with a gulp of pop, and that’s ok, the key is moderation. Actually, this can apply to all aspects of our lives. It’s fine to have a cheat day, just don’t make that everyday. In the beginning, it’s mind over matter – you have to discipline your mind to re-condition your body but as the weeks and months go by, it’ll become second nature.
Along with watching our diet, it’s also important to take our vitamins and get plenty of exercise daily. Overtime, even our work out routine can become a bore and our bodies can become stagnant. So don’t be afraid to change it up. Sign up for a dance class with a friend, or take advantage of the free swim or skate sessions at your local community centre. The trick is to make exercise fun, so go for a hike, run, or bike in the great outdoors with some buddies. If you can’t find the time in your schedule to sign up for a class or get a gym pass, then move your body in simple ways like parking the car further from your final destination, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking the bus instead of the car. I’m not saying we should be obsessed with the health of our bodies but we do need to take care of them because it’s the only one we’ve got. Taking these simple steps will make us feel better. And ironically, energy begets more energy.
On top of eating healthy and regular exercise, it’s important to increase the happiness, decrease the stress, and get plenty of sleep. We need to take care of our bodies now, so our bodies will take care of us later. This applies to any age.
©2014 Susie Lee