When people talk about good health, what comes to your mind? I think this is a question that we could ask 10 different people and get 10 different answers. To me, it is a healthy mind, body, and spirit as I feel strongly that they are all connected. My last four blogs, videos and worksheets discussed a healthy mind, so this will be dedicated to a healthy body.
It is important to remember that a healthy body is packaged in all shapes, sizes, colors, and proportions. Defining what a healthy body is to you is very important. To me, a healthy body is one that is free from disease, is flexible so that it doesn’t get hurt, and is strong and capable so I can be, do, have and give all that I desire in this life.
I view a person’s body similar to a well-maintained car. You rely on your car to take you places, sometimes on a moment’s notice, and sometimes to places very far away. Therefore, you want to know that whenever you jump in to start your car that it fires off with no problem and can be relied upon to get you to where you want to go. I think we have all had that experience when the opposite occurs and it sets us back, delays us, and costs us time and money. We get especially upset when the car not working is a result of a simple little thing that we neglected. This is very similar to our bodies!
Many people take their health for granted. Being young, in shape, full of energy, and flexible to do most anything is beautiful until it is gone. This is why it is important to maintain it if you still have it. If there are things you need to change, it is not too late.
Let’s start with the basics to good health, which are the six secrets to a healthy body.
1. Hydration. Do you know that your body can’t store water? This is why you need to always replenish it by drinking at least 64 ounces of it daily! Here are some other reasons to keep your body hydrated:
- It flushes your system and rids it of toxins. This is essential to keep your body’s organs healthy and working properly.
- It keeps you from over-eating because it tends to keep you feeling full. Oftentimes, when we think we are hungry we are actually just thirsty. For this reason, you should always drink water before you eat.
- It prevents you from being dehydrated. Again, our bodies cannot store water and we are continuously losing it through going to the bathroom and sweating, to name a couple of ways. Therefore, replenishing the water in our bodies is essential for its proper and full functioning.
- It helps with your energy as it minimizes fatigue by keeping you refreshed and revitalized as you are giving your body what it needs.
2. Sleep. Getting plenty of rest is vital. Think for a moment of all the times you were overly tired. Did you make the best decisions? That question is for the food and drink you consumed but also for your overall decisions. Were you a bit snippy with your spouse? Were you a bit unfocused during the meeting at work? Did you eat processed foods that were “convenient” and mindless to eat? Good sleep allows you to focus. When you are focused you are sharp, more able to stay in the moment, have more energy, and are able to want to make good decisions. A good and consistent sleep schedule is vital, so please do all you can to develop a good routine.
3. Mindset. A healthy, positive, and grateful mindset is key to nearly everything in life. This includes your attitude towards your health, including knowing that you are worth it and that you can reach any goal that you set for yourself. You are in charge of your life. No one else. Some key aspects to a healthy mindset as it relates to your health include:
- Know what is important to you with your health and why. Understand this deep within yourself so that it drives you to a healthy lifestyle, knowing that the decisions you are making today are for a long-term goal and not a short-term fix.
- Take small steps every single day towards a healthy lifestyle. Start with something small and achievable, do that until it becomes a habit, then add on a new healthy habit. Do not come at everything all at once because it will overwhelm you and not set you up for success.
- No one can do this for you but you. Yes, you can have friends and family, and maybe even a coach who helps you along the way, but everything you do or don’t do is up to you. Rather than viewing that as overwhelming, see it for how empowering it is. YOU are in control of your life. Once you start setting goals and smashing them, you feel so good!
- So much in life circles around habit loops. A habit loop is 1) trigger; 2) behavior; 3) reward. When you can start to remember this habit loop, stop to think about it when you are triggered, and make the choice that will positively benefit your life, you will notice your life changing. Let’s use food as an example here. You are hungry (trigger). You grab the day old donut (behavior). Your stomach is temporarily full (reward). OR…You are hungry (trigger). You remember that your health is important to you and that food is fuel so you grab the bell pepper slices you prepared yesterday from the refrigerator and eat them with hummus (behavior). You are full and will remain full longer because you ate food with good nutrients and you feel proud of yourself because you made a decision that was not only good for the moment but will be good for your tomorrow (reward).
4. Food. The food we put into our bodies is the fuel to keep us healthy. The food we eat should be as whole and natural as possible, including fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and eggs to name a few. When we eat processed foods we do not know all the ingredients that are added to it, but we do know it adds calories and unhealthy, unnecessary ingredients that do not serve our bodies well. Do yourself a favor and really pay attention to how you feel the next time you eat two scrambled eggs for breakfast with a few chopped vegetables thrown in compared to when you decide to eat a Pop Tart. How soon afterwards were you hungry? How did the foods “sit” in your stomach and make you feel? How long before you started yawning your morning away? Have you ever heard the phrase, “eat as close to the Earth as possible”? This means to strive to eat food that you can find out in nature that Mother Earth has provided for us. The last time I checked, Mother Earth did not provide a forest of Twinkies and Ding Dongs.
5. Exercise. It is important to keep our bodies moving. If exercise is not something you have done much of, start with walking. Get outside, enjoy the weather, reward yourself with fresh air. Need a little motivation? Use your walking time to listen to a great podcast. You will be surprised how quickly the time goes by! Eventually you will work your way up to more rigorous exercise, including adding strength training to build your muscles and give you strength. Stretching your muscles is also an important part of exercise. Keeping yourself loose and limber and able to move your body for different activities throughout the day is essential. Muscles are made to be used. Keep them strong and flexible.
6. Surroundings. This means surrounding yourself with healthy, positive, encouraging people who want to see you succeed with your goals and be happy in your life. It also means to create your own healthy surroundings that will set you up for success. A specific example of this is to clear your pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator of junk food and replace them with foods that fuel your body.
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To help reinforce this message, I have developed a 30-day Challenge for a Healthier Body. This is in the form of a tracker, intended to keep track of your daily hydration, movement, calorie intake, sleep, and attitude. Be honest in using this tracker and you may soon find out that when you have limited sleep you consumed more calories, or when you didn’t move your body that day, your attitude was poor. The purpose of this is to track what you do for 30 days to see a correlation. Once you can see this correlation, that should be motivation to change your daily routine while also identifying where you should begin.
Check out my You Tube video on this same topic.
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