How the Media Confuses People on What Constitutes a Healthy Lifestyle

Written by on September 28, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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Anyone who regularly watches the news is familiar with the sound bytes that can seem to indicate contradictory data.  One day eggs are unhealthy, the next day they are nature’s superfood.  Some experts maintain alcohol helps you lose weight and keep your heart healthy, while others say it’s absolutely not worth the risk or the empty calories.  One study says carrying a little extra weight is actually healthy for you, especially when you are older; another study maintains that the more weight you carry, the longer you can expect your hospital stays to be.  And what about the super nutrient, Omega 3 fatty acids?  Many of us have been faithfully taking our fish oil capsules because we may not like fish, but recently experts say they are no more effective than a placebo.

So who’s right?  That’s the problem with sound bytes – in reality good health is both simple and complicated.  I mean, if all it took were some cranberry juice to lower my blood pressure, I’d be all over it!  Here are a few tips that you can count to make your own decisions about your health:

  • You need adequate calories in order to maintain a healthy weight.  Ultra-low calorie diets are not effective in the long run.  However, weight loss plans can help you find that “sweet spot” in terms of how much you need of each of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat), and how many calories enable you to maintain a healthy weight at your particular activity level.
  • Active people have an easier time maintaining weight loss over the long run.  Sometimes we have to tell ourselves “just do it” as certainly there are many of us who would rather read a book or watch television.  Morning exercisers also seem to be more consistent.  If there is any way to incorporate activity into your life, take advantage of it, even in short increments throughout the day.

  • In keeping with the exercise theme – “rest days” are for athletes in training.  Honestly, most of us don’t need them.  We simply need to get out there and walk for 30 – 60 minutes, and maybe do a little resistance training a few times a week.  Obviously if you are sick, you need to rest.  Otherwise “just do it.”  It lowers stress, improves mood and self-esteem, in addition to a host of physiological benefits.
  • A very small portion of the population has hormone imbalances that make it difficult to lose weight.  But most of us are overweight because of poor lifestyle choices.  Go ahead and see the doctor, and get a second opinion if necessary.  But don’t fail to make healthy food and exercise choices.
  • Sleep is extremely important in the battle of the bulge, and oftentimes when we are stressed out, we experience the one/two punch of insomnia along with unhealthy stress eating.  Taking any steps you have control over to lower your stress level is important, but if things are out of control, sometimes just being kind to yourself during a difficult stretch is necessary.  Just try to be honest with yourself, as well – you don’t want to become your own enabler just because you’re stressed out!
  • Life needs to be about balance.  We all need safety, a sense of belonging, rest, good nutrition, exercise, work, recreation and healthy social interaction in order to flourish physically, emotionally and spiritually.  If you are struggling with your weight, one or more of these areas might need addressing in order to finally beat the problem.

This is a guest post.  Guest author Ruth Suelemente enjoys writing on a variety of topics.  Emphasizing a healthy lifestyle is one of her favorites.  She is a frequent contributor at The Diet Mindset.com, where the Medifast Diet is reviewed.  You can also find Ruth on Google.

Image by ahmet guler: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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