In the beginning…

God created Heaven and Earth. He then populated Earth with green and yellow vegetables and lots of sweet and colorful fruits so that man and woman could eat well and live long and healthy lives. Then, Satan decided to exploit those gifts and thus created Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Coca Cola products. And Satan asked,” would you like fries with that?” And they said “Yes! Supersize it!” And they gained 20 pounds. And Satan smiled. 

Laughing yet? Now that I have your attention, let’s focus on what it takes to live a healthier lifestyle. You might be wondering: 

Can I actually do this? 

The answer, is undoubtedly:

YES!

A healthy lifestyle is a way of living that allows you to enjoy life in a more fulfilling way. It’s about feeling well, and being well. You make specific choices that give you the opportunity to feel the best you can, for as long as you can.  

Please, tell me how!

Most people think there are only 2 ways to do this…

Diet and Exercise. 

No doubt this is true, but there’s a 3rd component to living healthy, and it’s got nothing to do with your body. It’s the one thing that will ensure your success or your inevitable failure. You know it well, but probably don’t engage with it as much as you should. The third piece of the puzzle is…

Your Mind

Well you just blew my mind so…

Let’s go back to few paces, before we get too deep into the psychology of health. In fact, let’s start with the obvious.

Your food and physical activity choices each day will affect how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future.  Here are a few tips the USDA offers to get you started: 

  1. Make sure at least half of your daily grains intake is from whole grains. 
  2. Choose lean proteins, not burgers and chicken wings.
  3. Eat a variety of fruits and veggies and be sure to include calcium rich foods. 
  4. Eating a variety of healthy foods will help eliminate digestive problems like excess gas and heartburn, which we all know isn’t fun (for you or your significant other).

Next, you have to put down the remote and actually get up and move (seriously, do it). What types of exercises you do will depend on your age, present fitness level, current health, skills and mostly, your interests.

Try anything. In fact, try everything, until you find what works for you. Physical activity helps with more than just weight loss, it prevents a host of ailments. I used to tell my massage therapy clients “There’s nothing better than fresh, oxygenated blood flowing into your system.” Increasing your heart rate will only work in your favor.

Don’t be intimidated to work towards a healthier lifestyle.

I know it can be daunting. Changing your habits is never an easy thing to do. But by implementing new daily habits, you set yourself up for success. If you can take an honest look at your lifestyle, and can say that nothing needs to be changed, then I commend you. If you’re happy with what you’re doing, then keep on keeping on.

After all, that’s really the foundation for all things healthy- how you feel about where you’re at.

However, if there’s a quiet, nagging voice in the back of your mind that knows you’re not where you need to be- or, you just want to make some improvements in certain areas, then it’s time to make some changes.

Why are we so good at talking ourselves out of things?

The answer is, because your mind is there to protect you. If it senses any type of “danger”, then it’s programmed to do more of the same. And that includes justifying your daily habits. So, in order to eat better and exercise more, you have to train your brain to eat better and exercise more.

One way I’ve found that helps me in staying focused is using a mantra. A mantra is a word or saying that you repeat over and over again. It can be done during meditation, or it can just be something you say to yourself on the regular.