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The Physical Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle

Updated: Sep 4

What is the difference between being healthy and losing weight? Is there an actual difference? Can you be healthy but are not necessarily losing weight at the moment? Can you lose weight without maintaining a healthy diet?



Let's discuss this.


There is definitely a difference between being healthy and losing weight. Let's discuss what it means to "be healthy".


Being healthy has a few factors. "Health" is divided into the categories of physical, mental health and social health, but we are going to be discussing physical health.



Physical Health


Your physical health concerns the condition of the body; inside and outside. Your physical health can be strongly affected by your diet (whether good or poor) and a lack of physical activity. Physical health can also be affected by other sources as well such as stress or depression, but let's discuss dieting and physical activity.


You may wonder, "what is a healthy diet that everyone should include in their lives". The truth is, there is no specific diet that everyone should be consuming. We are all different on the inside as well as the outside. While one individual may be a vegetarian, that may not work for another individual. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone. It's important that you figure out what works best for you. Keep in mind however that this does not mean that it is okay to turn to an unreasonable diet. For example; eating a boiled egg for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or even eating a piece of fruit such as an apple for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and consuming a few glasses of water, is definitely not the best way to go. In fact, this can be very dangerous. Yes, this method will cause lose body weight, but eventually you will risk your body not being able to function properly. For this reason, you should always make sure that you are including all of your micronutrients and macronutrients into your diet.


Let's discuss Macronutrients.


Macronutrients refers to protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Macronutrients is one of the sources that we need in order for our bodies to be able to function and for us to survive.



Protein


We all know that meat is considered a source of protein, but did you know that there are other sources of protein besides meat? Yes, this is true. Some examples of meatless protein are, eggs, nut butters, oatmeal, greek yogurt, beans, broccoli, seeds, and spinach.


Let's discuss what proteins do for the body.


There are 9 functions protein in the body:

  1. Energy source

  2. Maintenance of Body Tissues

  3. Creates hormones

  4. Source of heat

  5. Transport molecules

  6. Prevents infections

  7. Creates the formation of milk during lactation

  8. Creates digestive enzymes

  9. Repairs body tissues

So as you can see, there are several of benefits of including protein in our diet. Keep in mind however, that there is a such thing as "having too much" protein and "not having enough" protein. Not including enough of protein in your diet can lead to the loss of muscle mass. Including too much protein in your diet can lead to insulin resistance. Since protein energizes the body, helps with muscle mass, and solves hunger, it is important that you include it in all of your meals. This does not mean that we should be eating a breakfast biscuit from McDonalds, a cheeseburger for lunch, and fried chicken for dinner. These are all examples of unhealthy proteins. We love these foods because they are very delicious, but the truth is, they are not good for our health. Some of the better choices of protein are; lean meats such as chicken (non-fried), turkey and fish, broccoli, eggs, almonds, peanuts, oatmeal, and spinach. You may be thinking that you need a meat protein in order to have a complete meal that will satisfy you. This is not necessarily the case. Usually, individuals who think this are individuals who have eaten meat for years. When this occurs, you will start to think that you can not survive without having meat. This is a complete "mindset" thing. We do not have to eat meat with every meal. This can be very challenging if you are used to eating meat with all of your meals. If you are struggling with this, you may want to consider starting out with including lean meats into your diet. Be careful when choosing certain sources of protein to include in your diet.


Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates seem to be the macronutrient that several of individuals struggle with the most. Sure, we love our mashed potatoes, pastas, and breads; but these our not always the best sources of carbohydrates.


What do carbohydrates do for us?


Carbohydrates are our chief source of energy. We need energy in order to be able to take a breath. As I mentioned before, protein helps with energizing the body, but the "overall purpose" of carbohydrates is to provide our bodies with energy.


Some of the functions of carbohydrates are as follows;

  1. Providing heat to the body

  2. Helps digest our food

  3. Regulate the metabolism of fat and protein

  4. Provide bulk or fiber (Benefits the colon and digestive tract)

  5. They are converted to fat in the body when you exceed the proper amount.

These are the reasons why it is very important that you include carbohydrates in your diet. There are several of healthy food sources of carbohydrates. Some examples of these food sources are; oatmeal, granola, pita bread, spinach, broccoli, legumes, sweet potatoes, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, kale, brown rice, apples, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and blueberries. This may surprise you that some fruits and vegetables are considered carbohydrates. This is very true. Carbohydrates are not only breads and pastas, which is why many individuals believe that if they cut carbohydrates out of their diet, they will lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The truth is, it's impossible to cut "all" carbohydrates out of your diet. Some individuals do not know that when they are eating an apple, they are eating a carb. Fruits and vegetables are the types of carbohydrates that our bodies need. A carbohydrate is a macronutrient that you will really want to include at the beginning of the day. You should also include a source of carbohydrate in your snack and lunch as well. You need this as a source of energy throughout the day. You will definitely feel a difference if you are an individual who normally suffers from fatigue or even headaches. It would be different if you decide that you want to cut out unhealthy sources of carbohydrates. This is a health choice that greatly will benefit you. This is not to say that you can never eat bread or pasta again, but you should strongly reconsider eating these foods the majority of the time if you want to enhance a healthy lifestyle for yourself.


Healthy Fats


There is a little bit of misconception when it comes to "fats" in the diet. When including fats in your diet, this does not mean cheeseburgers or pizza. Have you ever heard of the saying, "fat is good"? This is true; just not when it comes to these type of fats.


Functions of fats are as follows;

  1. Provide energy

  2. Used for absorption of fat-soluble vitamin

  3. Used for heat production in the body

Fats are the macronutrient that protects our bodies. Some food sources of fat include; butter, eggs, avocado, nuts, and vegetable oils. These are all examples of healthy fats. There are also sources of unhealthy fats such as; ribs and sausage. Consuming unhealthy fats do not only cause weight gain, but also, studies have shown that it is also one of the sources for rapid aging. Fats that are considered to be "good" types of fat that we should consume are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, while "saturated fats" are considered to be in-between fats that should only be consumed less than 10% calories per day. The good fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, provide protection to our arteries. Monounsaturated fats should be consumed as well, but these fats do not combine with oxygen the way that polyunsaturated foods do. Some examples of monounsaturated fats are; oils such as, peanut oil, palm oil, and olive oil, and avocado. Some examples of polyunsaturated fats are; nuts, vegetable oils, seeds, and salmon.


So as you can see, it is very beneficial to include "all" macronutrients into our diets. This does not mean having Bojangles breakfast foods for breakfast, a couple slices of pizza for lunch, and fried pork chops, mashed potatoes and pasta for dinner. If you are trying to clean up your food choices, you will want to eliminate greasy, fatty and acidic foods. You also want to make sure that you are eating "filling" meals throughout the day, to ensure that you are not constantly hungry. When we consume meals that are too light, it causes unnecessary eating habits. Some individuals still appear to be unsatisfied after eating three meals a day. If this is the case for you, you should include two healthy and filling snacks in between your meals. One before lunch and one before dinner preferably, but the choice is definitely up to you. It is absolutely okay to eat a healthy snack. Some examples of healthy snacks include; apples with your choice of nuts on the side, chia seed pudding, oranges with raspberries on the side, or avocado toast. The list definitely goes on. Adding nuts to a snack can make it a little more satisfying and it is a good way to incorporate a healthy source of fat into your snack. You will notice a difference in your body by including all of your macronutrients into your diet instead of skipping meals.


Let's discuss "Fitness" (exercising).


Exercising is something that more individuals are starting to get in to these days. This is great, but you must remember that fitness and nutrition are linked together. Some individuals think that it's okay for them to eat unhealthy foods as long as they exercise to "burn off the calories". This is not the case. Exercising is a "toner" for the body. It is not to say that you can't burn fat from exercising, but if you are not consuming enough nutrition, vitamins, and minerals, it will make the process of losing weight very difficult.


Including physical activity in your day is just as important as consuming a healthy diet. Did you know that the longer you stay in bed, the more calcium your body is actually losing? Calcium is one of the minerals that is needed in order for us to have strong bones.


There are some individuals who are not necessarily big fans of exercising. This could be for a number of reasons. Most individuals feel that exercising is a "chore". Let's be honest; exercising is something that should be included in our daily routines, but if it feels like a chore, it can be very challenging to be consistent with exercising. Exercising is challenging to start but very easy to quit. There are several of individuals who find themselves off of their fitness routines for months or sometimes even years, and struggle to start exercising again. When getting back into exercising, you want to start out small and work your way up to intense exercises.


Who says that working out can't be fun?


Instead of getting on the treadmill, how about participating in a fun zumba class? If you want to go for a walk, how about having a partner? This way you can have fun while exercising and it does not feel like a chore because you are actually enjoying it. You will be able to feel the difference on the inside of your body and actually see the difference on the outside of your body. Exercising is a great way to boost your energy levels and decrease fatigue. There are also certain exercises that are good for strengthening the heart and give you more stamina. A healthy heart is needed in order for us to survive. Now, don't be afraid to switch it up a bit. It is absolutely okay to perform different types of exercises. In fact, it is strongly suggested that you perform different exercises each day so you will give those muscles that you used the opportunity to rest so you are not putting too much pressure on them. You may decide that you would like to do aerobics one day and yoga another day. Either way, your body is getting the movement that it needs during the day. Keep in mind that soreness from exercise is fine. If you experience soreness, this means means you've had a decent workout and you've used muscles that you might not use very often. There are actually certain foods that you can eat that may help with soreness from exercise such as; bananas, cherries, cottage cheese, and turmeric. It's not good to become what is known as a "couch potato" and lay around the house all day. Doing this will increase the risk of chronic health problems and also weakens our muscles and bones. So as you can see, both nutrition and fitness play a major role in living a healthy lifestyle.


Let's look back at the questions from earlier.


Is there a difference between being healthy and losing weight? The answer to that question is yes. It is very possible for an individual to lose body weight, but not necessarily be healthy. If you are currently on a fast diet where you may be consuming water but you are only eating an apple for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, yes you will lose body weight, but this is a very unhealthy and dangerous act.


Can you be healthy but are not necessarily losing weight at the moment? The answer to that question is, it depends. As I mentioned before, we are all different on the inside as well as the outside. There are certain individuals who consume a healthy diet and exercise, but still struggle to lose body weight right away. Sometimes this may occur because of a medical issue, so it may be a little more challenging to lose weight; but it is still possible to lose body weight. Even if you are an individual who does not have any medical conditions, if you are maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity, it may still be a little challenging depending on your body type; but it is absolutely possible to lose body weight while maintaining this lifestyle.


You must be very patient, keep maintaining a healthy diet consisting of all of your macronutrients, and continue to engage in physical activity. You will start to see and feel results. Do not focus so much on having an identical appearance to models that you may see on social media. If you rush to get what appears to be the "perfect body", it can lead to thoughts of going on dangerous diets or getting unnecessary surgeries that can be extremely harmful to the body or potentially lead to death. You will feel better by enhancing a healthy lifestyle the appropriate way without having to turn to alternatives that are extremely dangerous to your body. Remember, "nutrition and fitness" are the two key factors when it comes to weight loss and ultimately maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


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