Following a healthy lifestyle often seems incredibly difficult and complicated. Advertisements and experts seem to give conflicting advice, which doesn't make it easier. However, in my opinion it doesn't have to be that way. In order to have optimal health, lose weight and feel good every day, all you should incorporate in your life are, what i call, the 5 pillars of health. Trust me, it doesn't have to be complicated.
1. Avoid Toxins and don't put them into your body.
Many things you put in your bodies are downright toxic.
Some, such as cigarettes, alcohol and some ingredients in processed foods, are also highly addictive, making it hard for people to give them up or avoid them.
If you have a problem with smoking or alcohol, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. Alcohol in moderation for those who can tolerate it, is ok. Most of the time there is no moderation. I, personally stay away from alcohol but you know yourself and your body.
But the even more common problem today is eating unhealthy, disease-promoting processed foods and junk food. If you want to be in optimal health you should start with reducing and finally completely avoiding those foods. This is the most effective change you can make in your diet!
I know, this can be tough because many of these foods are designed to be extremely tasty, very hard to resist, convenient, and inexpensive.
When it comes to specific ingredients, added sugar is one of the worst. These include sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, and also artificial sweeteners. Those will harm your metabolism and therefore your body.
In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid all trans fats, which are found in some types of margarine and packaged baked foods.
SUMMARY You can't be healthy if you keep putting disease-promoting substances into your body. Research and learn which are healthy options.
2. Move, move, move,...
Using your muscles is extremely important for optimal health.
You need to exercise to ensure your body, brain and hormones function optimally. A good mix of lifting weights, cardio and stretching exercises will promote this and by exercising it can certainly help you to look better and improve your appearance which is a nice "side effect". You can only win!
Lifting weights lowers supports your blood sugar and insulin levels, improves cholesterol and lowers triglycerides, improves bone density which is especially important for women.
What’s more, exercise can help reduce depression and your risk of various chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's and many more.
Additionally, exercise may help you lose fat, especially in combination with a healthy diet. It doesn’t just burn calories, but also improves your hormone levels and overall body function.
Fortunately, there are many ways to exercise. Be creative, be consistent and have fun with it. You can even train in the comfort of your own home. There are many option and I more than happy to help you with that.
Going outside to hike or take a walk is another important thing you should do, especially if you can get some sun while you're at it (for a natural source of vitamin D). Walking is a good choice and a highly underrated form of exercise.
The important thing is to choose something that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run.
If you're completely out of shape or have medical problems, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a qualified health professional before starting a new training program.
SUMMARY Exercise helps you to look better, improves your hormone levels, makes you feel better and reduces your risk of various diseases.
3. Sleep like a Baby
A good night sleep is so very important for overall health and sleep deprivation can cause many diseases, including obesity and heart disease and so on.
Please make it an important point for your health and make time for good, quality sleep.
If you can't seem to sleep properly, there are several ways you can try to improve it:
Don’t drink coffee or caffeinated drinks late in the day.
Try to find a routine when you go to bed and when you wake up at each day.
Sleep in complete darkness, with no artificial lighting, even better no electricity in the bedroom.
Dim the lights in your home a few hours before bedtime.
Don't eat too late in the day.
And there are many other ways to improve your sleep.
Also it may be a good idea to see your doctor. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are very common and in many cases easily treatable.
SUMMARY: Getting quality sleep can improve your health in more ways than you can imagine. You'll feel better both physically and mentally and lower your risk of various health problems down the line. Your body has time to recover and health during rest time.
4. Avoid excess stress
A healthy lifestyle involves a wholesome diet, quality sleep and regular exercise.
But the way you feel and how you think is also very important. Being stressed all the time is a recipe for disaster and can cause major health issues even if you follow a healthy diet and exercise program.
Excess stress can raise cortisol levels and severely impair your metabolism. It can increase junk food cravings, fat in your stomach area and raise your risk of various diseases.
Also stress can be a significant contributor to depression, which is a massive health problem today.
The only way to reduce stress is to simplify your life — get organize, exercise, take nature walks, practice deep-breathing techniques and maybe even meditation.
If you absolutely cannot handle the burdens of your daily life without becoming overly stressed, consider seeing a psychologist.
Reducing your stress levels will improve your life in so many other ways. Nobody should go through life worried, anxious and never being able to relax and enjoy yourself is a big waste. Life is too short for that.
SUMMARY: Stress can cause major health issues on your health, leading to weight gain and various diseases. Find ways to simplify your life and reduce stress!
5. Nourish your body with REAL FOOD
The simplest and most effective way to eat healthy is to focus on REAL FOOD.
Choose unprocessed, whole foods that resemble what they looked like in nature. Read the ingredient list, if you don't know what it is, it is probably not real food and not healthy either.
I, personally, eat plant based for various reason and choose organic vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. If you eat animal products, please buy only high quality meat, fish and seafood. It's best to eat a good combination of all your natural food sources in order to get all your nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Nature provides us with everything, just be creative and mix it up all the time or even better be brave, think out of your box and try new real foods you never had before.
If you're healthy, lean and active, eating whole, unrefined carbs is absolutely fine. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes and whole grains such as oats.
However, if you're not in the shape you want to be or have shown signs of metabolic issues such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome, then reduce your intake of the major carb sources, this can lead to dramatic improvements.
You can often lose a lot of weight simply by cutting back on carbohydrates because you subconsciously start eating less.
Whatever you do, make an effort to choose whole, unprocessed foods instead of foods that look like they were made in a factory.
SUMMARY: Real foods for real bodies and real health, choose whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds and whole grains.
One more important thing: This is a lifestyle change, not a diet fad
It's important to keep in mind that a dieting mindset is a bad idea because it almost never works in the long term.
For this reason, you want to aim for a lifestyle change.
Being healthy is a marathon, not a sprint.
Be patient and make changes little by little. You know what you can handle and finally enjoy a happy healthy lifestyle for a very long time.
Your health coach and personal trainer Angela Beyer