Everyone wants to be healthy. Being healthy means more than not being sick – it means having the energy to enjoy life. It means being physically and mentally able to deal with most of the curve balls life throws. Being healthy lets us live life to the fullest. Who'd want to miss out on that?
Unfortunately, health is not guaranteed, it is something we have to work for. Even the most careful person can get sick, end up in a car accident or otherwise lose their health. Even when disaster doesn't happen, the ongoing stresses of life can wear our health down. It takes daily action to support and reinforce our health and well being.
Luckily, staying (or getting) healthy doesn't necessarily take a lot of work. For people who are not dealing with severe illness, a few simple steps can really improve day-to-day health. For those who are ill, these little things won't bring a magic cure, but they can strengthen your mind and body to better fight back against your illness. All it takes is a few minutes a day and a commitment.
This is a brief guide to being healthy. There is far more information available on health than can be fit in a single website. Use this guide as an introduction and a way to get started. If what you find here is enough to get you the level of health you want, use it and enjoy the results! If not, don't be discouraged, from this starting point you can go a lot further with time and research.
You will find three general topics in this guide – health tips, healthy eating, and diet plan. Health tips is a collection of simple things you can do every day to make a difference in your health. Healthy eating introduces the some of the basics of a healthy diet that most nutrition articles don't talk about. Diet plan offers some thoughts and ideas on designing a diet plan, if your weight is impacting your health. These three topics provide a good introduction to what you need to know to get and stay healthy.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to make major life changes to improve your health. Small things, taking just a few minutes each day, can make a big difference. In this section, you will find several suggestions for small changes you can make that have a big impact on your health.
You don't need start doing all these things at once. You want to make these small changes into habits that you don't need to think about. Start with the one that will be easiest for you to add to your day. Once that change has become a routine you don't need to think about, try adding another. This way you aren't trying to remember several new things at the same time. Remember, this is about making small changes. And even you only follow one of these health tips, you'll still be making yourself healthier.
Drink water : This surprisingly obvious health tip has popped up frequently in recent years, and for good reason. Many people in the United States are living in a state of constant dehydration. One study found over 50% of women were chronically dehydrated. Unfortunately, as often as this advice has been given, not enough people are following it.
How can you tell if you are drinking enough water? Don't waste your time counting how many cups of water you drink each day. None of the medical authorities can agree on how much water any given person needs. This is because we are all different, and are bodies all need different amounts of water. The trick to telling if you are dehydrated is to stop worrying about the numbers, and start paying attention to how you feel.
If you frequently feel like your mouth is dry, if your skin tends to be dry and itchy, and if your lips chap easily, you are probably dehydrated. Another clue is in how you drink. If you pick up a glass of water and can comfortably take a sip and put it back down, you are not dehydrated. If you need to take several large swallows before you put a glass down, you probably are.
Make sure you drink water, not sugar drinks, tea or coffee, several times a day. Many non-water beverages (like tea and alcohol) can actually make you dehydrated.
Get Some Sun: Sunlight is crucial for both our mental and physical health. Not getting enough sunlight can lead to depression. It weakens the immune system and can even increase your chances of osteoporosis. It's important to get a little bit of sun each day.
Now, a little bit of sun doesn't mean setting out a lawn chair and baking for several hours. It means sitting one your front porch while you drink a cup of coffee in the morning or sitting on a bench chatting with a friend for 10 minutes on your break. 10-15 minutes of sunlight and fresh air each day can make a huge difference in your health.
Try to get your sun in the morning or late afternoon. Remember the old saying about 'too much of a good thing' and don't put yourself at risk of skin cancer by over sunning or going out to often in the heat of the day. The gentle sunlight the hits early and late in the day will give you the health benefits you want without the risks.
Change Your Position: Most of us spend a great deal of the day doing the same thing over and over again. We sit at desks, we stand in one spot or we walk around, depending on what our job is. Whatever it is your job has you doing, take the time every hour to chance your position or your pace. Sit down, stand up, bend over, jog, run in place, reach up high, something!
Doing the same thing all the time creates stress on the body, interferes with circulation and generally just isn't good for you. Not everything is equally bad – standing all day is better than sitting, because sitting interferes with blood flow. Walking it better than standing because it keeps the muscles moving and helps blood flow. But a change is still good no matter what it is you are doing.
You don't need to take a lot of time or make a big change. Taking 5 seconds to reach for the ceiling, than bend over and reach for your toes, can be enough. If you are sitting and can't stand up, stretch your legs out and try to touch your toes or place your hands on top of your head and twist your body from side to side. Doing something small once an hour is enough to start making a difference in your health.
When health care and technology are combined the results can be outstanding. Over the past ten years we have seen tech jobs in the health industry sky rocket. It is clear that by using new technologies we can improve our health care system an this is a job that is not only fulfilling, it pays well too. Health care IT deals with all aspects of motorization of patients, records and files. It also offer endless solutions for problems in hospitals and medical centers.
Okay, before everyone's brain's shut down on an image of tasteless 'good for you' crud, let's examine some prejudices. Most people today have an idea of 'health food' as been bland an impossible to enjoy. Therefore, eating healthy becomes a chore and food stops being what it should be: one of the great pleasures of life.
The idea that healthy food should be tasteless is thoroughly outdated. It comes from the middle of the 1800s when doctors thought that some types of illness was caused by people being 'over-stimulated'. So they made everything medical as dull as possible, and deliberately created the most tasteless possible goop to sell as 'health food.' Take a calendar check here – this idea goes back to before doctors knew that germs caused disease. Isn't it time to get rid of it? Who wants to eat food two centuries out of date?
There is another reason many people assume healthy food is tasteless or disgusting. In a word: vegetables. We all grew up with our parents telling up 'eat your vegetables, they are good for you,' while we desperately tried every trick to avoid swallowing those disgusting green things.
If you can, try and open your mind enough for a new concept: vegetables don't have to be bland or disgusting. There are two reasons why we grew up feeling like there was nothing worse than vegetables. First, most of our parents didn't know how to cook them! For many American families, cooking vegetables comes straight out of the classic English cook book – boiled tasteless. There are a lot of great ways to prepare veggies, but in a pot of water is usually not one of them (unless you are making stew!)
The other reason we hated vegetables as children has to do with our taste buds. Many vegetables are bitter, and children don't like bitter things. As people grow older, their taste buds change, and they begin to like bitter flavors more. Which is why beer and coffee were yuck worthy when you were a child, but may be really good now.
So, here's a suggestion: when you decide to start eating healthy, don't see it as forcing yourself to eat boring, icky, pointless stuff. Instead try and see is as exploring a new cuisine, the same way you would if you decide to try to learn to cook Japanese food or French cuisine. Explore recipes, learn techniques, play with spices and have fun with it.
So just what does healthy eating consist of? Mostly, a reasonable balance. That's why they call it a 'balanced diet'. Basically, healthy eating calls for a little bit of everything. You can think of it in terms of nutrition – a bit of carbs, a bit of protein, a bit of vitamins and minerals, a bit of fats, a bit of sugars. You can see it as food instead – some pasta and bread, some meat and beans, some fruit and vegetables, some oils, some sweets. In China the approach is balancing flavors – something salty, something sweet, something savory, something bitter and something sour makes for a balanced meal too.
Basically it comes down to variety, the more kinds of things you eat, the more nutrients you are getting. Plus, the greater variety of food you eat the less likely you are to get too much of anything (like sugar and fat).
There is one other side to healthy eating – it's not always what you eat, sometimes it is how you eat it. There are two things you can do that will make your eating habits a lot healthier. The first is to eat slowly. The second is to snack. Without doing anything else these two things can make a big difference in the health of your diet.
Try an experiment next time you eat. Chew eat bite 20 times before swallowing. You'll find some surprising results. Chewing longer helps you digest the food better, so you use less energy absorbing it and get more nutrition out of it. Eating more slowly gives your body time to process the food and realize how much you have eaten. It takes your body several minutes to realize it is full, so every time you eat there is some food that you don't need to eat. You don't realize this, because you don't know you are full. Eating more slowly means you eat less extra food.
Our bodies are designed to be eating constantly. They are not designed to eat a few huge meals and then go hours with out food. In fact, if you go more than four hours without eating, your body will decide there isn't enough food and you in danger of starving. Then it will start deliberately packing on pounds. A small snack every few hours will keep your body from freaking out about the coming famine. It doesn't have to be a big snack. Grab an apple, munch a few nuts, or nosh some chips (potato chips are actually very healthy if you get the low salt kind and don't eat more than a handful at a time).
Over the past decade Americans have working to improve their eating habits. In some cases dietary monitoring is necessary and essential. Today supermarkets have quality health food sections offering fresh and nutritious foods. It is just as important to monitor what food comes into your home and to eat right.
That's it. Healthy eating in a nut shell. Now let's take a look at what you can do if you are coming to healthy eating a bit late, and need to get on a diet plan to get back on the road to health.
For most people, 'diet plan' conjures up images of counting calories, giving up favorite foods and a general annoyance that pervades all of life. For years diets have based on denial. Stop eating so much, stop eating this or that thing that is bad for you, stop eating things cooked this or that way.
To some extant this denial approach is necessary, if what you have been eating until now has led you to the point that you need to set up a diet plan, than you need stop eating the way you have been and start eating a new way. Which means you have to deny yourself some of the things you are used to eating.
The mistake with the traditional approach is that it makes denial a lifestyle, and few people can live like that for long without giving into temptation, which leads to guilt and even more problems. Denial just doesn't work as a long term strategy.
What does work for a diet plan? Change and discipline. There is a difference between 'I can never have any cake' and 'I can have cake on special occasions, but only one slice.' The first is denial, the second is discipline. Changing your habits – having only one slice of cake at parties rather then several, having a small snack rather than a large one, munching on nuts or berries instead of hard candy, is the basis of a good diet plan. The discipline to stick to your diet plan is what will make it work.
So how do you build a diet plan?
Start by coming up with a list of small changes you want to make to the way you eat. Don't go for sweeping reforms like 'no more sugar' or 'eat a salad every day' unless you are one of the rare people who do best going cold turkey on a bad habit. Instead go for things like 'eat 2 salads a week', 'only eat desert twice a week' or 'only have 1 slice of bacon with breakfast'. These should things that you can adjust to in a few weeks, or even a few days.
Pick one change to start with. Its up to you whether you go with the one that will be easiest or hardest, you know yourself best. Start that change in your diet immediately. It may be difficult at first and will feel strange for while, but stick with it. In a short while it will be a normal part of your routine. When that happens, it's time to make the next change.
By building a diet plan around gradual changes you create a lifestyle change that can be permanent. Instead of getting the diet see-saw of losing lots of weight quickly and then gaining it all back, you will be able to lose weight gradually and keep it off.
You will get better effect if you combine this diet plan with an exercise program. This way your body will be burning more calories while you are changing your eating habits.
However you approach getting healthy and changing your life, make sure it is something you can live with. You want to work towards your health while enjoying life as much as possible. Making yourself miserable rather defeats the purpose, after all.