Good health is not just the absence of an illness - it is the complete wellness of our physical and emotional selves. Our nutritional habits affect our health, happiness and our ability to get a good night’s sleep. Besides helping you to effortlessly and naturally drop a few extra pounds, a healthy diet can aid you in improving every aspect of your life - including your stress and anxiety levels.
The creation of a healthy lifestyle takes place withing a multi-faceted approach that includes coping with daily stress, incorporating a positive outlook into life, and developing sound nutritional habits. To enjoy a healthy lifestyle (which includes a good night’s sleep) the bottom line is that you require regular maintenance. This maintenance isn’t always easy, but YOU are definitely worth the effort.
Take, for example, your car. You service your car - you put the correct fuel in it, check the oil, have it routinely examined for any potential problems, and you keep it clean. What do you think would happen to your car if you didn’t care for it? It would break down and therefore you wouldn’t be able to use it. Our bodies are the very same. If we don’t do the regular maintenance, how can we expect to stay healthy? An important piece to our overall maintenance plan is good nutrition. In properly managing our body’s “fuel” we need to include premium quality, as well as becoming mindful of when our “tanks” are running empty.
Forming good nutritional habits doesn’t happen overnight. Following are two key points that can turn your new healthy lifestyle into a reality. Start slowly, and gradually build on these foundations.
When you eat
Pay attention to when you eat. Notice when you are hungry. Be attentive to your eating habits: are you eating because you’re hungry? Notice if you forget to eat. Think about how you feel at different times during your day. How is your mood, your appetite? Think back to how you felt yesterday around 5 p.m. Did you feel irritable of calm, hungry or satisfied, exhausted or energized? Personally, I know 5 p.m. can be a time in my day when I am irritable, most likely because I am tired and hungry. Simply by paying attention to what you eat, you can uncover your habits and take a step towards changing them.
What you eat
Another key to good nutrition is becoming aware of what you eat and how it makes you feel. For example, if you eat a snack of fruit and cheese versus a chocolate bar mid-afternoon, do these foods make you feel any different later in your day? These are important things to take note of in your quest for better general health, which in turn leads to better life quality.
Beth wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Sleep Disorders.