Healthy living is not just about healthy eating and exercise, although those are obviously very important. The way we see it, healthy living has several aspects, and learning to de-stress and to be good to yourself is just as important as eating a healthy diet and adopting a non-sedentary lifestyle. Most importantly, we believe that you should be good to yourself!
But what do we mean when we say “be good to yourself?” Here are a few examples:
1. Exercise moderately. Grueling workouts are not necessarily such a good idea. You should definitely aim to move frequently – research shows that sitting is actually killing us. Our bodies were designed to move, walk, be active, not sit all day in front of a computer.
On the other hand, our bodies are not necessarily suited for prolonged, intense workouts either, and those can place too much stress on our muscles and joints. Moderate exercise is best (yes, moderation IS key). If you can’t get to the gym every day, don’t worry about it – all you need is to incorporate frequent moving into your everyday life. use your lunchtime for a walk (a 15-minutes brisk walk to the restaurant and back during lunchtime is great); use the stairs; get up from your desk often and walk around a little. It all adds up.
2. Eat well. Harsh diets don’t work, because our bodies are built to fight what they perceive as starvation by slowing down metabolism and making the most of each and every calorie. We’re also not very good at ignoring hunger signals, certainly not for long. The best way to lose weight steadily and reliably, and to keep it off, is to eat well, but choose the right foods, and eat just until satiated, not until stuffed. The more protein, fiber and good fats in your diet, the better you will feel. The more empty carbs, the worse you will feel. So fill up on lean meats, eggs, Greek yogurt, vegetables, nuts and fruit, and minimize your consumption of highly processed starches and sugars. Your reward? You will feel satiated, won’t suffer hunger pangs, and the weight will come off and stay off.
3. Sleep well. One of the best things you can do for yourself, is to go to sleep every night at 10 or 10:30pm. Assuming you wake up at 6am, this should give you 8 hours of sleep. We can’t emphasize enough how important sleep is for your sense of well-being, for your metabolism, your stress levels and your overall health. If you’re one of the many Americans that can’t fathom going to sleep before midnight, start gradually, setting your bedtime to 30 minutes earlier than normal for a week, then 30 minutes earlier and so on, until you get to those 8 hours. Trust us, you’ll feel so much better, the loss of “fun time” (how fun is it really when you’re so tired?) will be very much worth it.