When people talk about healthy living, the images that flit into their minds are those of tanned people in tight sports clothing, muscles bulging everywhere. They imagine bowls of nothing but salad, and diets of bland fish with more salad. In other words, they imagine health nuts, not healthy living. There is, in fact, a big difference.
We do not need to run marathons to be healthy, we simply need to maintain weight with proper exercise. We do not need to restrict ourselves to vegetables to be healthy, we simply need to eat a balanced diet. We do not absolutely need to sleep 7 to 8 hours a night and stop working, we simply need to cut down on stress.
What Is A Balanced Diet?
No, it is not a diet in which every calorie is counted. A balanced diet is just what the name describes: it is composed of the right amounts of food from the different food groups. Yes, we said “right amounts,” but that still does not refer to calorie-counting. It is talking about eating of the proportion of one kind of food to the other.
That food pyramid you were given when you were grade schoolers still holds. At the bottom, to be eaten in the greatest amounts, are the whole grains such as bread, pasta, and cereal. This gives the slow-burn energy needed for the day. Above that, to be eaten in slightly smaller portions, are fruits and vegetables.These give vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Above that group, in smaller portions, are the dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt. In the same level are the meats, eggs, poultry, and fish. They give calcium, iron, protein, and zinc. They should be eaten in smaller amounts because meat is digested slower, and they have more naturally occurring fats than the other two levels.
You can stay perfectly healthy without turning into the next Serena Williams or Michael Phelps. Publicity is not a prerequisite for good health. If you have a balanced diet, all you need now is to maintain healthy weight. (If you need to first lose weight, it is a good idea to do so).
According to National Weight Control Registry co-founder Dr James O. Hill, a good way to maintain weight is to walk at least 60 minutes every day. The 60 minutes can be broken up to suit your lifestyle and stamina levels. A half-hour twice a day, 15 minutes 4 times a day, can make a difference.
A Happy Life
Lastly, and definitely not least, a healthy lifestyle is one characterized by low stress and as much happiness as can be squeezed into a day. Stress is held responsible for all kinds of problems: eating problems, sleeping problems, problems with common colds and fevers, headaches, blood pressure, heart disease–the list will never stop.
Find a way to identify when the stress is coming and to fend it off with a weapon. That weapon could be an enforced night out with friends. You could treat yourself out to a movie or dinner someplace you do not usually eat. You could treat yourself to a full night of sleep. At all costs, keep stress down, and you will have very nearly achieved perfect healthy living.
Healthy Living is Simpler Than it Seems
Healthy living is not just a hobby for your friendly neighborhood health nut. It is more the maintenance of health, and the habit of maintenance, that goes into it. Therefore, health promotion and support is applicable in every situation.