As the New Year comes with a sense of new begin, it gives us a desire to renew ourselves, make changes towards improvement, and set new goals.
During the Holiday Season, we enjoy special time and activities with family and friends, and through it all, sharing meals is a central part. Come the new year, we tend to become especially aware of our weight.
But if we focus on improving our health rather than our weight, (with few exceptions) the latter will follow. There are several aspects of our life that affect our health: what we eat, what we do, what we say, what we think and what we inherit.
In this article we will consider the first two – what we eat and what we do.
What we eat
For most of us, it seems easy to understand that, if we want our car to work well and live long, we need to carefully select the kind of fuel, oil and parts we use in it. Yet, we have somehow come to believe we, humans, can eat just about anything without affecting our body’s functioning, our health. This is because our body is so wonderfully made that it solves nutritional deficiencies without giving us any problems… up to a certain limit. After that, it not so. “We are what we eat.” Have you heard this before?
Here are a few basic easy-to-remember guidelines that will help you make wiser choices as far as food.
- Consider eating more of these, to get the nutrition you need:
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- whole grains
- raw nuts (all kinds)
- fish, turkey, chicken (not fried!)
- Make it a point to stay away from these:
- Reduce your intake of these:
- red meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb)
- sweets in general
- Eat 5 small meals during the day, instead of 2 or 3 big meals. You may try reducing the size of your regular meals, and add a healthy snack between them (a fruit, a mix of nuts and dried fruit, or fresh veggie sticks, for example).
What we do
Here are three things anyone can do, that will help improve and preserve our health.
Regular physical activity brings benefits to our health. Here is a list of some of them.
- Helps control weight
- Combats health conditions and diseases
- Improves mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
What is the best exercise for you?
First thing to consider: if you have a physical injury or illness, ask your physician.
Otherwise, best choices are:
- whatever you enjoy most
- whatever is at hand:
- at home (stationary bicycle, treadmill, etc.)
- close to home or the workplace (gym, swimming pool, etc.)
- Practice your hobbies.
Doing what we enjoy brings happiness and fulfillment, and helps us relax. All of these influence our health and wellbeing in a positive way. You might want to try getting involved in at least one activity you enjoy. It could be anything from practicing a sport to becoming a member of a knitting group, playing an instrument, getting involved in community work or taking a new class.
- Drink enough water. If you never allow yourself to become thirsty, you will be on the right track.
The water we drink has everything to do with our health. We are told our body is ¾ water. How can we possibly think we can go on in life without drinking enough of it? We water the plants and trees in our garden; otherwise, they would wither. In the same way, we have to “water” our cells to keep them from withering. Water is needed for them to be able to perform their function. In time, dehydrated cells become unable to do what they were designed to do, and our health is affected little by little.
A suggestion for a lasting change in habits is taking small steps. Trying to implement too many changes at once might make us feel overwhelmed and not follow through. A suggestion is to make a list of the changes you find will help you most and want to make, and then make a plan to implement them during the next 6 or 8 months.
To begin, you might chose the item you feel to need most, or the one that seems easiest. Your plan could include the introduction of an item from your list every 3 or 4 weeks. The process will enhance your ability to make changes, and the results you begin to observe and feel will encourage you to go on.
We wish you a Happy and Healthier You!