Steps to healing:
1. RESTORE gut function
2.BALANCE nutrients and systems
3.ALIGN goals and lifestyle
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It seems that everyone wants to have a healthy lifestyle lately, but most people have no idea what to do to get one, and what to do to keep it. Healthy lifestyle habits are the ones that make the biggest impact in your life. Many people don't realize what they’re doing every day is what is causing their health issues.
Good physical health has nothing to do with how thin you are. It has everything to do with how healthy you are. It is not how well your body bounces back following pregnancy or how you don’t gain a pound no matter what you eat. Your physical health plays a prominent role in how you live your life, and it’s time to make positive habits to encourage physical health a part of your everyday life.
Below I will discuss 5 habits you can implement today which will lead to a healthy lifestyle. You won't have a healthy lifestyle overnight, but you will start to build a foundation of habits which will improve your health in the long run.
As a whole, we consume massive amounts of sugar in our diet each day even though it has been linked to a slew of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer just to name a few. Put simply, you can't have a healthy lifestyle if you are still eating tons of processed sugar laden junk.
Sugar is a carb that is naturally found in many foods, including lactose (in milk) and fructose (in fruit). These aren’t necessarily the big problem for your health; it’s the processed and added sugars that pose the biggest dangers and it’s not as easy as you may think to avoid them.
Sugar is in so many foods - much more than you may realize. Soda and other soft drinks are the obvious culprits, with just one can of soda having as much as 7 teaspoons of sugar - but that’s not all you need to watch out for.
Low fat “diet” meals often contain plenty of sugar to make up for the lower fat content and to stop it tasting bland. Processed foods in general have added sugar, including canned soups and ready-made sauces. You may not realize, but even bread can be a victim of sugar! This is why checking your food labels is key to ensure your diet isn’t falling victim to sugar.
Too much sugar essentially spikes your blood sugar levels and then leads to a big dip. You might get a sugar high in the short term but it’ll be followed by a crash that affects your mood and makes you crave more sugar. This vicious cycle is one of the main reasons why sugar is so heavily linked to obesity as it encourages you to keep eating more sugar.
The health problems associated with sugar can go far beyond this though. One of the main concern is focused on high fructose corn syrup. Fructose in fruits isn’t all that bad and this can fool you into thinking that high fructose corn syrup can’t be that dangerous either. In reality, it’s one of the worst types of sugar you can consume. It’s a major ingredient in a lot of foods these days as it’s cheap to produce, so it’s definitely one to watch out and stay away from as much as you can.
Why is it a problem? Our ancestors didn’t eat fructose other than the amount that was naturally included in fruit and some vegetables. Your liver can metabolize fructose to a large extent but when it reaches the tipping point, it starts turning it into fat instead and this is where the health problems begin. In the modern world, a lot of us eat more fructose than the body can handle.
Eating too much fructose can make your liver inflamed and start building up fat. It also encourages uric acid to be produced, which raises your blood pressure and even lead to gout. More worryingly, it also affects blood lipids and cholesterol levels, which can lead to cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.
Even fruit juice can contribute to this as it is high in fructose. According to studies, its fructose content can encourage the body to store abdominal fat, especially the type that surrounds organs.
You’re better off choosing whole fruits (rather than fruit juices) or juice your own fruits as the fructose in these is naturally occurring and in no way a danger to your health. You’ll also get more fiber from whole fruits and you’d have to eat an unrealistic amount for their fructose content to become a cause for concern.
This is probably one of the most common adverse side effects that added sugar has on your body. Your liver is put in jeopardy if you consume too many foods with added sugar, since fructose can overload it. Sugar will be broken down into fructose and glucose, and your liver can only metabolize so much of it at one time. This may lead to issues later on with your liver. It is important to note that the amount of fructose needed to overload your liver is only possible with an excessive amount of added sugar, so fructose found in fruit is likely not nearly enough to cause this.
Having too much sugar in your body can also trick your body into holding onto weight or gaining weight, making it very difficult to manage a healthy body. When you have too much fructose in your body, it doesn’t stimulate insulin properly. This ultimately causes your hunger hormone to work in overdrive, which is why you tend to eat more or feel hungrier after you have eaten foods with a lot of added sugar. When you keep feeling hungry, you eat more to be satiated, and thus have a much higher risk of gaining weight.
While sugar is not the only culprit for type 2 diabetes, it can definitely help it progress further. This is due to insulin resistance of your body when you consume high amounts of sugar. As mentioned previously, your body becomes resistant to insulin when it is trying to digest a lot of fructose, which can cause mismanaged levels of blood sugar. This in turn may increase your risk for diabetes, or accelerate it to where you notice its effects much sooner.
If you are someone who suffers from mood swings or mental health issues, you might notice that they become worse when you consume a lot of sugar. Sugar causes a short-term boost of energy that leads to a much longer sugar crash. This in turn can make it harder when dealing with mental health issues like depression, as the crash often mimics a depressive episode. Too much sugar can also cause severe mood swings and irritability.
Another habit which can lead to a healthy lifestyle is to focus on increasing the quality of your meals each day. Even if you don’t want to eat something that’s good for you every day and do it by replacing something that’s not good for you. Instead of having a dinner roll with your dinner, grab an additional helping of broccoli instead. Instead of eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, have 2 scrambled eggs with butter Yes I said butter! It's really a good food, as long as you are not increasing your fats with meals high in sugar. Replace one thing you eat every day with something healthy as a start.
If you want to train yourself to create healthy lifestyle habits for your physical health each day, start slow and work your way up. Start by moving your body for 20 minutes each day. Take a walk, play tag with the kids, or take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I am not talking about exercise here, just get up and move more. You don’t need to go to the gym, but you do need to make it a habit to move your body and stay active 20 minutes per day for good physical health.
Your sleep habits have an effect on your physical health. If you’re not getting enough sleep each day, make it a point to get to bed a bit earlier at night and get more sleep. Your body needs this time to rest for the following day. You’re less likely to suffer from depression, health problems, hormonal issues and even a weak immune system if you’re getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Work it out so this happens, and your body will become a lot more physically healthy and be on your way to a that healthy lifestyle you're after!
Your physical health won’t change as easily if your mental health isn’t changing with it. A gratitude journal is a way for you to write down something you’re happy and grateful for each day. It’s a good daily habit that helps you focus on the good things in life. This helps you find more energy to use when working out, when making meal choices, and when you’re looking in the mirror.
The best way to create healthy lifestyle habits is to start slow. Choose one thing to change and work your way up the ladder to bigger and healthier changes in your life. Your body responds better when you don’t shock it into a complete change. Your physical health also responds to your mental and emotional health, so it’s important you don’t forget to change those.