One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. - Virginia Woolf.
Of course, good nutrition is not all about weight management or reaching a size zero. Nutrition is about so much more. It's about preventative health, using foods to stave off illness or disease, as well as learning to enjoy food as a source of energy, rather than a source of comfort. It's important to enjoy the taste of food (and to splurge once in a while!) but learning to get comfort from outlets other than food (or drink or drugs) is vital. So is incorporating physical activity into our lives and using it side by side with good eating habits.
We know that America is a fat country, and getting fatter. Our children are getting fatter too - so much so that fears are that our kids will be the first generation to not outlive their parents. Most of us know all this; we see enough of it on TV programs and newspaper and online accounts of how badly we all seem to be doing in this area.
Now some tough talk: our main excuse is that we have no time and that is simply just not a good enough excuse. If we all stopped talking about how busy we are, we'd have more time to exercise! If we have time to get our cars in for a tune up, to have our clothes dry cleaned when most clothes don't even need it, and time to watch Real Housewives of New York (that last part is for me) then we have time to take 30 minutes out of every 24 hours to move our bodies.
So let's focus on what we can do to change all this. The knowledge is out there, at our fingertips. We know what good foods are; fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, unprocessed foods, whole grains, fresh water and more. And we know we need to exercise at least every other day.
It’s making up our minds to start a healthy regime that seems to be the hardest. And sticking to an exercise regime is often a challenge for most of us. Exercise can become boring, it’s more tempting to sit down and read a magazine (accompanied by a coffee and some cookies) and sometimes it’s easier to throw our hands in the air and say “whatever!” to it all.
It’s commonly accepted that doing anything for two weeks (14 days) in a row is habit forming.
So by simply taking two weeks out of our lives, and incorporating sensible eating and daily exercise (just one half hour a day would be a great start) can make a marked difference in how our bodies react to good nutrition and exercise. A high fiber diet can work wonders for our digestive systems in just two weeks. Fresh fruits and veggies supply lot of vitamins, minerals and calcium and lean protein strengthens our bones and muscles and all of the above are considered “brain foods”.
Taking exercise like walking is an excellent start. 30 minutes of daily walking (as briskly as you can without over-exertion) can start working the entire body and shifting excess fat. Either outdoors or indoors on a treadmill or elliptical works fine. Take the stairs – everywhere. Once you get fitter, always take the stairs if your floor is 10 stories or under. If you feel up to more – do it! Two weeks of brisk daily walking for half an hour will show results. Two weeks of daily exercise and good nutrition can see a drop in one entire dress size. It will strengthen muscles, bones, our hearts and lungs and is of huge help to our mental health.
Not everyone will see dramatic results, but everyone will see results. And on days where you just don’t feel like it, tell yourself out loud that you’re going to workout. Tell your kids or your co-workers. Saying it out loud will help you go through with it. And don’t forget that it’s ok to take a day off now and again. And it’s ok to have a cheat day where you eat pizza or birthday cake or Easter chocolate. It’s ok to be human.
But by simply incorporating good nutrition and daily exercise for 14 days straight, you’ll be surprised how quickly this becomes a lifestyle, not a fad. Give it a shot. It certainly can’t hurt.
And as always, before incorporating a new diet and exercise regime, contact your doctor first. Everyone needs different quantities of food and exercise based on their personal health and circumstances.
For a peek at the recommended food pyramid, click here: http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/index.html
For some healthy recipes, click here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy-eating/index.html
And for some ideas on the kind of exercise that might work for you, click here: http://www.fitness.com/fitness_exercise/v994106068.php
Do you have a lifestyle that incorporates good nutrition and exercise? If not, would you like to start one? What are the challenges you face?
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