Why Healthy Starts With the Basics

Why Starting With The Basics in Health Can Lead to the Physique You Want

Health.. It is a word that we have made synonymous to diet, exercise, weight, and appearance.  However, health is a lot more than that... To suggest somebody is healthy for no reason other than their physique is incredibly misleading.

There are fit people who aren't healthy, and heavier people who are incredibly healthy.  Variables such as stress level, family balance, optimism can all play an incredible roll on our health. 

To be able to eat healthily, make time to go the gym, and work for that physique you want, you need to be in the mindset to prioritize and balance.  Sadly, many of us lack that ability, are stressed, and can't seem to find any "me" time. 

So here is a list of healthy habits you should start with first. These are ones that "are actually quite... basic but we get so consumed in diet and exercise that we forget exists..." ones.  

Well, let's start with..... 

Habit #1:  Having a Balanced Lifestyle (which means learning proper time management)...

Balanced meaning there is more to life then just work, then just family, then just friends and just yourself.  Healthy people do a great job of being able to manage all of these aspects, internal and external... without an unhealthy amount of stress.  When they work, they work well, when they interact with people they give them their full attention and when they play, they play hard.  There is something to be said for the "work hard, play harder" mentality which is one of my absolutely favorite quotes.  Everything you do in life, try to do well, and the other aspects often come into play - in fitness and diet as well.  See a common theme? Doing things well = wellness, so don't half ass it.

With that said, I know this is much easier said then done... trust me I do.  In a perfect world, I'd wake up at 4:45 every morning - workout until 5:45 - be to work by 6:30 - be done working at 3 - archery or skeet practice until 5 - make the worlds healthiest and tastiest dinner every night for my husband and myself - have it cooked, ate and cleaned up by 7 and from 7 until 9:30 PM work on my blog or graduate coursework...shower, bed, repeat. But of course it NEVER happens that easily.  Although... I've definitely learned working on one healthy habit turns into 3, which turns into 4 and so forth.  I started getting up at 4:45.. which led to me having time for the gym at 5.. and so forth.  Put effort into the basics and the rest will pay off. 

Therefore, I get it, we never quite do what we wish we could... But what about those healthy habits that can help keep us  in line to achieve these goals? Simple daily routines that will aid in us being in a ridiculously good mood while being highly productive? How can we be balanced

By not obsessing over only one area or one person or one thing or one hobby in our life. Don't spend excess time, just make the time you have count.

Make time for your relationships, yourself,  and your career - and make good use of that time.

In summary, habit one is to balance your life by making time for ALL aspects and utilizing that time well. 

I know, I know.. now you are saying "Yes Nicole, I get it, but spreading myself thin makes me stress myself out. Trying to do everything overwhelms me."

My answer? Don't Let It.

Habit #2:  Don't Stress it

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Take time to plan, organize and focus on you.  Even if its only 10 minutes of your morning.   Take a breather.  Remember that "you time" I said you need to have? Use it.  Take a deep breath, go for a 10 minute jog, meditate, walk, pray.. sit in silence... simply slow down and utilize a short period of time to decide what YOU want.. what goals YOU want and who YOU want to work towards. Use it to plan your day, find spiritual presence, gain control of your emotions & thoughts.   

Stress causes just as many health consequences as lack of healthy diet and physical exercise. Therefore, doing things to minimize stress and get control of your balanced lifestyle is crucial for your overall health.  Have friends that get you down? Ditch 'em.  Is that job becoming too stressful? Look for a new one (or at least a new position).  Not enough you time? If you can, plan a vacation - or just a weekend.  Life is too short, make it count. Truly try your best to stress less.

Habit #3: Truly Get Enough Sleep

It doesn't take rocket science to understand the benefit of sleep...And sometimes the two factors above seem a lot more attainable if you simply get enough sleep to think properly and be emotionally sound (especially us ladies). Science provides strong evidence that highlights the many benefits of sleep, and unfortunately, for most of us, proper sleep is the one thing that gets neglected in our lives. Its simple, sleep promotes healthy living.  

According to the Division of Sleep at Harvard Medical School (http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep), sleep is necessary for restoration and brain plasticity.

But what do these fancy words mean?  Well, restoration means that the body is literally utilizing the sleeping pattern to restore itself - restore tissue, regulate hormones, repair cellular activity, allow muscle growth... Just to tap into the list (more to come remember).  What is brain plasticity? Well, it describes the brain's ability to modify its own structure and function - and essentially determines our ability to remember and learn new information.  Sleep improves our mood and increases our productivity.  

Therefore, when the experts tell you to get adequate sleep… they mean it. It can make a real difference.  Remember the time management I mentioned (if you don't maybe you need more sleep)? It's important here, you need to give yourself proper sleep time.  

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This is just the top of the bucket.  Things we should do, we know to do but yet don't do. Sometimes all a person needs is a simple reminder to put it into action. There are a number of bloggers who I follow religiously.. using them as incentive and motivation to improve myself.  

What habits have you improved on? Who do you follow for inspiration?