Article By Stephanie Leach
For many, the desire to “get healthy” is an inner critic that reminds them constantly that it is time to give some attention to their health. They think about it when they get dressed or get on the scale, wishing they had not gained the extra weight. They think about it when they are doing an activity that requires more energy and stamina, sweating bullets and thinking about how they need to exercise more. And they think about it when with their healthier friends, the ones who seem to miraculously keep the weight off despite having had three children.
If you find yourself in that category, take comfort in the knowledge that you can get healthy. It is a state of being that is achieved by making small, sustainable changes in your food and lifestyle choices. Those small steps start adding up, resulting in a significantly healthier lifestyle, one that enables you to lose weight healthily and keep it off, increase your energy and maintain your new found health.
Eat Your Greens
Adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet, especially leafy greens, is key to getting healthy. The Standard American Diet (SAD) that we grew up with, where meat occupies the prominent position on the plate at most meals, is not a healthy way to eat. Getting more plants in your diet is easy, and delicious. Start your day with a whole food plant based shake, or simply put two handfuls of baby spinach into the blender with some plant-based milk and a banana for sweetness.
For lunch, skip the meat sandwich and opt for a leafy green salad with lots of crunchy veggies, seeds and nuts for protein. Many vitamins in leafy greens are fat soluble, so use a small amount of a full-fat or reduced-fat organic dressing that is made of just natural ingredients – check the label – or make your own with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
At dinner, reduce the meat portion to a quarter of the plate, and introduce a third vegetable. At least twice a week, cook a meatless meal that uses fiber and protein rich beans as the protein. Most recipes that call for ground beef, like enchiladas, casseroles and tacos, can be easily swapped for pinto beans, black beans and cannellini beans.
Find Enjoyable Moderate Exercise
If you are strapped for time and cannot seem to fit going to the gym into your schedule, do not worry. Getting healthy does not require a daily hour-long workout. Moderate exercise, like fast-walking, trampoline jumping, and brief workouts at home strengthens your body and increases your endurance. Studies have shown that walking just 15 minutes a day reduces stress, increases your energy, reduces your risk of disease, and makes you happier. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy, and do it regularly.
Get Support to Stay Motivated
Getting healthy is easier when you have someone helping you stay motivated and on track. Inform your family members of your desire to improve your eating habits and exercise routine. Ask them to lovingly support you by not bringing food into the home that you know you cannot resist, and invite them to accompany you on bicycle rides, walks and other activities. If you have a friend who also wants to get healthy, meet up with them at least once a week and review your goals, what you have achieved and discuss what might be blocking progress and changes that could be made. Working with a holistic health coach can also be a fun and enjoyable way to get healthy.
You can stop thinking about getting healthy and start your journey to attaining a healthy body. Make small improvements in your food choices and exercise routine each week, and before long you will notice weight loss and increased energy. Keep motivated with the help of a friend or a holistic health coach. In time you will enjoy your new way of eating and exercising, and you will no longer hear that inner voice urging you to “get healthy!” You’ll be the healthy person that you always dreamed possible.
Stephanie Leach is a Holistic Health Coach and CEO of FamiliesEatingBetter.com. Learn how to make healthy eating fun and enjoyable by claiming your free 5-day eCourse 5 Keys to Eating Better and Loving It!”
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