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Three Main Targets of Healthy Living -- Part Two: the Body & Soul

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Brooke Faulkner     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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... Continued from Part One.

Proper portions
Proper portions
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First and foremost, read, read, read the nutrition labels, as they can make or break a good day. The caesar salad might not have been a terrible choice (in terms of calorie intake, that is), except that, in reference to the nutrition label, one serving size was only - of the bowl, meaning you could've consumed only 190 calories from that full 760 (and potentially gotten three more meals out of it!)

Secondly, and this is important: absolutely do not feel discouraged.

In this hypothetical, it was only your first day of hitting the healthy pavement, and while you missed your calorie mark, you totally crushed it in terms of effort and mindset. Congratulate yourself! Feel good about your choices, and learn from those that might've been a little more hurtful than helpful.

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The hardest part of changing your diet is finding a rhythm, and while that may take some time, it's 100% possible. You'll make mistakes. You'll eat too much one day and maybe too little the next, you'll eat nothing but clean and then binge on junk food later.

Just remember that, like everything else, eating well is something that takes practice. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your healthy body.

The Body

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Alright, so we've tackled healthy eating, now let's take a gander at the second most important aspect: exercise, and staying active.

You might already own a number of fitness DVDs (I know Jillian Michaels was my personal in-home trainer for a long time) but maybe they sit dusty on the back of the shelf. I can't blame you-- repeating the same moves over and over again, day after day, can't possibly be the only way to get your body moving.

As it turns out, you don't need a treadmill, a stack of weights, an elliptical, or any other potentially-intimidating machine at the gym to work your muscles. In fact, you may even never have to do another squat, burpee, or push up again.

When people say: "I don't enjoy working out," what they really should be saying is, "I don't enjoy going to the gym (/running/push ups/squats). In which case I ask, "what doyou enjoy?"

"Working out" or "exercise" isn't limited only to getting sweaty in the gym, surrounded by strangers grunting and taking selfies in the mirror. In fact, the definition of exerciseis exactly this: "bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness."

What can you think of that you already do on the daily that renders you breathless? That breaks a sweat on your brow? Is could be as simple as vacuuming, fidgeting in your desk chair, running down the stairs of your apartment, chasing your kids out the door, practicing your golf swing, or, we're all adults here, doing the deed.

Leading an active lifestyle doesn't have to cost the same as a gym membership, your day doesn't have to take a pause because you have to go for a run or clear the kids from the family room because you need the TV for your DVDs.

Despite what some (less than ideal) personal trainers may tell you, you don't in fact need heavy machinery to get your heart rate pumping. There are easier methods of incorporating exercise into your daily lifestyle. (And, even if you prefer to set aside a specific amount of time dedicated solely to working out, most bodyweight exercises are just as accessible as vacuuming or washing the kitchen counters.)

The Soul

In my humble opinion, the soul might be the most important factor to consider when beginning, and eventually successfully leading, a healthy lifestyle.

Particularly while you're just getting started, the soul is something that must be catered to just as well as your gut and your bod.

Remember that doughnut you ate at in the morning at the office? While you justified it as being only a pity-snack for your managers' sake, and might've later even cursed yourself for giving in so easily, consider what might've happened if you'd totally avoided it. You might've snapped and binged later, you might feel more disappointed in yourself than ever, and a positive mentality is equally as crucial as everything else.

Particularly after the start of a new diet, your body is still going to crave the old foods you used to indulge in: sweets, salts, and fats, even if you weren't a big partaker of them to begin with. So while you may think the best way to fight a burger hankering is to completely abandon it and attempt to go cold-turkey, "cheat meals" are actually advantageous in respect to the lifespan of your diet.

And so, while I'm not advising you to indulge every day, (ideally, cheat meals should only come every one or two weeks, depending on the size and decadence) there is certainly meaning and reason behind enjoying those less-than-ideal foods once in awhile: catering to your soul is just as important as catering to your gut.

The guts, the body, and the soul are not the sole (heh) factors of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, of course, but they certainly are members of the building block-family. With those three aspects wrangled in and under your control, everything else should fall naturally into place. If it's your goal, you'll lose weight and be more confident in yourself. You'll be more alert, more focused at work, and more active in the day to day, which overall is one of the resounding goals of becoming healthy.


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Writer, proud momma, and animal advocate from Portland, Oregon.

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