Have you ever noticed there are a lot of rules to follow when it comes to a healthy lifestyle? And sometimes, if you are paying attention, you will also notice that these rules contradict themselves. Eat fruit, but not too much. Wait. Only eat berries. Load up on vegetables, but only of the low carb variety. Stay away from potatoes unless they are sweet, or red. Eat whole grains. Or maybe eliminate grain? Exercise three days per week. No, five. Lift weights, but not too heavy. Get in your cardio, but not too much. It is easy to become confused and frustrated, wondering what advice to listen to in order to get to optimum health.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Everyone has different needs, but there are some general guidelines that can help everyone get on track and stay on track.
First and foremost, stop dieting. Whatever way you choose to eat, make sure it is sustainable for the long haul. There is nothing worse than falling off the diet wagon and regaining all the weight you lost – and then some. Studies show that when we choose an eating plan that supports a healthy lifestyle, we are more likely to stick with it. Forever is the goal.
Eat Real Food
The second rule is also simple – eat real food. There is great power in the food we choose to eat. It can keep us healthy or make us sick. We suggest you stay away from processed food. If chemicals need to be added to the package to keep it “fresh” don’t put it in your cart. Opt for healthy and whole, and don’t eliminate entire food groups. Make your meals from scratch so you always know what you are eating. Planning and prepping is key!
We cannot solely focus on food. We must also take a look at our exercise habits if we want to claim good health. Physical activity has a slew of health benefits – fostering our growth and development, reducing our risk of disease and illness, and improving our cognitive functioning as well as our sleep patterns. The key is to figure out what type of movement you enjoy. If you are a runner, then run. If you like the bike, jump on! Do you enjoy the energy of a class? Sign up. Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. Find the things you enjoy and work them into your schedule on a regular basis. How often you exercise will be up to you, but it is suggested that everyone works up a sweat 3-5 times per week.
Okay ladies – this part is for you! Women’s Health Week begins on Mother’s Day and we thought that was the perfect opportunity to challenge you to continue or establish healthy lifestyle habits. Grab a friend to take the challenge with together – because everything is more fun with friends! We hope these simple things will help you develop your healthy lifestyle into a flourishing one.
Monday: Sweat Together – You have probably heard the phrase, “Never miss a Monday.” Well, that has become a catchphrase because research shows that when we start our week with a workout, we are more likely to workout the rest of the week as well. So, grab your girlfriend and bring her along on Monday to start your week off right, together!
Tuesday: Me Time – Today is all about slowing down. As women, we are crazy busy. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves going in too many directions and neglecting ourselves. Each day, we should find time to just settle in some quiet to meditate, read, or just simply relax. Even 20 minutes a day can be beneficial to our own mental health, so start today. Remember, you can’t lead others on an empty tank. Make it a priority to carve time into your schedule to refuel.
Wednesday: Get Connected – Plan some regular fun in your schedule. If you have not had a night out with friends in a while, send out a message and get something on the calendar. Friday is National Pizza Party Day so round up your friends for a fun theme night get-together. It does us good to step away from the seriousness of life and laugh a little, so make sure it happens on a regular basis.
Thursday: Build Others Up – A huge part of our own happiness is investing into the lives of others. Today, make it a point to call or send a text to at least one other woman in your life. Tell her what you appreciate and value about her.
Friday: Be Grateful – Never underestimate the power of thankfulness. If you do not have a thankful journal, create one today and commit to writing down at least three things you are thankful for each day. This is a great thing to do as a family or with friends too!
Saturday: Set Down Your Phone – This one might hurt, but we are going to suggest it anyway. As a society, we have become too reliant on our phones. So much so, we have stopped looking at people in the eye, stopped having meaningful conversations, and stopped being present. Today, we are encouraging you to find things to do that do not involve your phone. Believe it or not, you can have fun without taking pictures and recording it on social media. Give it a try today!
Sunday: Meal Prep – Today is the day to prepare for your week. Take a look at your schedule, hit the grocery store, and get your meals planned and prepped so you don’t have to worry throughout the week. A little time today will save you bad choices later.
We hope you will jump in on our Women’s Health Week Challenges – especially #PizzaPartyDay. Hello!?! Pizza, friends, laughter…pizza. What could be better? Be sure to stop by our Facebook page and let us know what you are doing this week to take care of you!