You probably hear it daily: a co-worker mentions she “shouldn’t” have that donut, or a friend tells you about a new diet plan he’s started to lose weight and build muscle faster. It seems like everyone is trying their hardest to look good, but what about feeling good? It’s not just the outside of our bodies that matter. Our internal health is what keeps us running and living life to its fullest.
So, what does “healthy” really mean? Is there a gold standard when it comes to health? Everyone’s view is different and you’re unlikely to find an answer. Healthy may look like one thing but feel like something else.
What isn’t healthy?
Healthy isn’t defined as simply being “skinny” or “slim.” It also doesn’t mean perfection. Being healthy means being able and willing to meet your body’s needs. Regardless of your body type, we all have daily caloric needs. This is the amount of food your body needs to stay fueled and feeling good.
Have you fallen victim to fad diets? These are cyclical, short-lived diets that promise fast results and sometimes even deliver. However, once the diet ends, people often regain the weight they lost. Things like juice cleanses can help you lose water weight, but may not result in much fat loss.
Rather than jumping onto the bandwagon of a fad diet, look at your diet as a long-term goal and process. Set short-term goals along the way, such as losing 5 pounds by a certain date, but don’t focus all of your energy on the short-term results of the diet. You’ll end up gaining back the weight when you don’t have a plan for the long-term.
Getting on the path to health
We all have different approaches, needs and weaknesses when it comes to our nutrition. Start by sitting down and identifying your short- and long-term goals as well as your “triggers.” Triggers are things that would cause you to lose focus on your goals and set you back. They can be simple, such as eating junk food while sitting and watching TV. Then, next to your trigger, list the result.
Trigger: Eating junk food and watching TV
Result: Not paying attention to portion sizes and overeating; feeling sick
The next time you have a craving and find yourself about to indulge in one of your trigger situations, you can pull out this list of behaviors and remind yourself why these behavior isn’t good for your body.
Next, write down a “solution behavior” underneath your triggers and results. For the above example, this could be, “Allowing myself to watch one episode and pouring a healthier snack into a small bowl to track my portion sizes.”
Following these simple tips can have a major impact on your diet, health and quality of life. What are you waiting for?