“Health is wealth”
We've all heard this and perhaps said it too… But do we live by it?
A robust lifestyle is essential to ensure longevity of life and prevent unwanted mental or physical ailments. With the pandemic exploding around the world and exposing all our health issues, we can sufficiently say that it is never too early to start consciously living and working towards a healthier lifestyle.
So what does a healthy lifestyle entail? We outline a few simple steps you can take that will make sure you get healthier while still indulging in your favourite foods. Sounds too good to be true? Read on to know more:
By ‘Eating Healthy’ we aren’t saying that you completely cut out junk food from your life. The key to eating healthy is 'Moderation'. Anything consumed in moderation is harmless, but even the healthiest foods consumed in excess is detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. There are, however, a few changes we can adopt in our lifestyle that can positively benefit our physical, mental and social well-being:
1. Count your Calories:
The concept is simple-
If you eat the same number of calories that you are likely to burn in a day, you can maintain your current weight.
If you eat fewer calories and burn more; you lose weight.
If you eat more calories than you burn; you end up putting on weight.
The number of calories you should ideally consume in a day, depends on multiple factors like your age, weight, lifestyle (the amount you exercise) and the goal for counting calories (weight loss/ maintenance). There are multiple apps (free and paid) that can be downloaded on your mobile and used to count your calorie intake and burn cycle to help you achieve your desired goal.
2. Understand the Clock-Health Connection
We’re all aware that an early dinner is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Ever wondered why? Hypothetically, let's say you eat your dinner by 6 pm and go to bed by 11 pm. This means you have a good 5 hours of activity and digestion time in between. If you eat later and sleep by 11, chances are that the food will remain in the intestine for longer and its nutrients will not be optimally absorbed. An early dinner also ensures a lower blood pressure and therefore better sleep. Moreover, making a habit of late dinners can lead to diabetes in the long run.
3. Find Nutritive Alternatives
Refined foods like white sugar, refined oil and all purpose flour, are processed, ergo have no real nutritional value and over time can be harmful. Apart from the obvious weight gain, they can also lead to diseases like diabetes and cholesterol. We may not be able to cut them out from our lives completely but we can certainly limit their consumption. We can even find alternatives to them that replicate their taste and use but don’t have as many side effects. For example: we can substitute sugar with honey or agave nectar; air fry our favourite chips instead of deep frying them; drink coconut water instead of aerated beverages, and so on.
4. Drink Ample Water
Water is the elixir of life. Staying hydrated is essential to looking and feeling healthy. The benefits associated are numerous:
It carries nutrition and oxygen to all the cells
It helps flush away unwanted bacteria from the bladder whilst helping in digestion and preventing constipation
It helps normalize blood pressure and stabilize heart rate
It lubricates joint muscles and protects our organs and tissues
It moderates body temperature
And helps maintain sodium balance
Conversely not having adequate water can lead to severe dehydration which causes weakness and low blood pressure.
5. Intermittent Fasting
This one is a major millennial health trend that has proven effective for those trying to lose weight and improve lifestyle. As the name suggests, you eat and fast within certain time frames. What you eat, in your “eating” time, doesn’t really matter so long as it’s within the calorie count of the day; but once your fasting window begins, you can only consume water and maybe black coffee and green tea at best. There are different time cycles that one can follow, the most popular one being 16:8, where in a span of 24 hours, you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8 (generally means that a person skips breakfast or has an early dinner).
Word of caution: it is a popular weight loss mechanism that has worked for many, but also not worked for a few people. Our advice is to see what suits your body the best! Push yourself to try and achieve the goals during the fasting period- but do it in progression if you feel it is too difficult and give time to your body to adjust to new routines. Don’t overdo it to the point of harming yourself. If you have any health complications best to consult a doctor or a nutritionist before embarking on any drastic dietary changes.
Get enough sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep can actually help you lose weight.
Proper sleep rejuvenates and invigorates you, fuelling your energy levels and aiding digestion. Good sleep also calms blood pressure, relaxes the heart and makes your immune system stronger.
People who sleep well are known to be more socially and emotionally intelligent (you would nicer to others and more likeable when you’re not groggy and cranky with lack of sleep!). Sleep is known to be an antidepressant agent too!
Physical activity is essential for a fit body and mind. A simple 30 - 40 minute daily walk can prevent you from running the risk of a heart attack, whilst controlling your cholesterol levels and keeping a check on blood pressure. Physical exercise also releases endorphins that make people happy and elevate stress. Meditation is a form of mental exercise that helps keep calm and enhance emotional intelligence!
Your well-being is in your hands alone and the journey towards achieving good health starts today! You just have to take the first step towards it.
All the best on this journey of health and fitness. Keep us informed on your progress and share with us the tips and tricks that worked for you!