Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes a healthy life. Some people focus more on diet, while others focus more on exercise. Others take up hobbies and activities that will keep their minds busy.
These are all good options if you want to be healthy. However, the most important thing is to make sure that your life is balanced. Focusing too heavily on any one thing can leave other areas of your life lacking. If you pay too much attention to diet, you might start neglecting your exercise. If you focus too much on the physical, you might forget the mental.
In order to stay balanced, it’s a good idea to keep track of the activities you do and the food you eat, which can seem like a pretty difficult task. After all, most of us lead busy lives, and we don’t always have time to write down and analyze everything we do. However, tracking our food consumption and our physical and mental activities can shed light on the areas of our life that may need more attention.
Here are a few ways to make sure you stay balanced:
Write It All Down
Many health experts will tell you that the best way to keep track of what you’re eating is to write it all down. Carry a small journal with you—something that fits in your purse or your pocket. Every time you eat something, write it down. This will make you more conscious of what you’re eating and will give you a clear breakdown of what you’ve consumed.
Then, at the end of the day or the week, go over everything you’ve eaten to make sure that you’re not overloading on and lacking in any one food group. If you find that you ate a lot more sweets or fried foods than you realized, you can make an effort to decrease them moving forward. If you find that you’re not getting enough healthy fruits and vegetables, you can be sure to add more salads to your diet or replace a sugary snack with a piece of fruit. Just remember that awareness is the first step towards better health.
You can also keep an exercise journal. This will help you to make sure that you don’t overdo it when it comes to any one type of exercise. Performing only cardio, only weight lifting, or only stretching won’t benefit you as much as a combination of all three.
Consult an Expert
Sometimes, people get confused about what they should be eating or what type of exercise they should be doing. In fact, the information that you get from newspapers and magazines these days can be pretty contradictory. Some people will tell you to eat more protein, while others will tell you to go on a raw food diet. Some people will tell you not to eat anything after 7 p.m. in the evening, while others will say that it’s fine to get a healthy late-night snack. Who are you supposed to believe?
The truth is that everyone’s body is different. Sure, there are certain things we can all do in order to be healthy, such as eat moderately and exercise. But, if you want to focus on your personal health, it’s a good idea to consult an expert, such as a nutritionist or a personal trainer. These people have made health the focus of their lives, so they’re definitely going to be more knowledgeable than you or me, or even many of the so-called “health experts” you find online. They’ll be able to take a look at your body type and tell you what will work for you. Just make sure that you get a recommendation from someone you trust or find someone who has established reputation in the health community.
Involve Friends and Family
Often, people feel a little self-conscious about telling others that they’re trying to lose weight or get into shape. So, they try to do everything alone. However, it can be helpful to involve your friends and family in your health goals. Chances are, your family members and the people you hang out with have areas in their lives where they, too, can improve. Ask them to join you in your efforts to get into shape and eat better.
Working out with friends and family can be quite motivating and help you to keep one another on track. If you know that someone will be counting on you to show up for a workout, you’ll make the extra effort to be there. If you’re living with a roommate or significant other and looking to eat healthier, try to get them on board with your diet plan. This way, the two of you can plan healthy meals together and keep each other motivated.
If your friends and family aren’t interested in joining you, that’s ok. Look for support opportunities in your area, or even online. Take a local fitness class, like yoga, pilates, or spin classes, where you can meet like-minded individuals. Join an online fitness group where you can have a whole team of new friends cheering you on as you progress.
Listen to Your Body
One of the biggest obstacles to leading a truly healthy and happy life is simply not listening to your body. In order to stick to your goals and stay on track, you need to be in touch your body and its needs.
Are you feeling any aches and pains? If so, don’t just pop a pill to make it go away. Think about what caused those aches and pains, and try to avoid or adjust those behaviors in the future. On the other hand, if your body is feeling particularly good, that means you’re doing something right.
Try to stop at least once a day and check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Sometimes, the answer might be obvious. For example, if you’re feeling ill, your body is probably feeling some pains and discomfort. But other times, you might just be feeling a bit run down or sluggish because you ate a really high-carb or high-fat meal. Either way, stopping to consult your body will make you more aware of what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right.
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