We all want to be happy and healthy, but in this day and age, life gets really hectic and we often clutter our schedules, leaving out time for a few key things that could be helping us in the long run – like exercising and choosing to eat healthy foods. Not everyone wants to make the effort to work out or eat right because we don’t put it at the top of our list of priorities. If we simply changed our mindset, we could have a happy and healthy life.
- Work out because you want to, not because you need to.
Working out may seem tedious and trying to find the motivation to start can be a challenge on its own. But instead of thinking you should start working out because you need to, you should change your mindset and work out because you want to. There are many benefits to working out. We are doing ourselves a disservice by putting it off or simply excluding it from our long list of things to do. The benefits are reduced blood pressure levels, better control of cholesterol and blood sugar levels, weight loss, a boosted immune system, better concentration, higher self-esteem, and better moods.
Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which ultimately leads to improved mental clarity. Some activities that are not only good for you, but could be your reason for wanting to work out are taking a brisk walk, going for a jog, dancing, swimming, bicycling, and rowing, to name just a few. These activities use large muscle groups and increase your heart rate. The main idea is to aim to incorporate strength training, aerobic fitness, balance training, flexibility, and stretching into your exercise routine by doing short spurts of physical activity, which will make it easier to stick to.
- Work out to feel better, not to look like someone else.
Now that you know the benefits of working out, work out to feel better, not to look like someone else. If you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t see results quickly, so it is best to focus on taking your fitness journey day by day. The results will come with time, but the main instant benefit is you’ll feel better overall. Plus, you never know if the person you are comparing yourself to eats right or really follows a health routine.
When you make it a point to work out, you’ll start to notice changes in every aspect of your life. You’ll feel more productive and sharper at work, less tired at home, and have more energy to play with your kids. Just stick to your fitness and health routine and you’ll start to feel better.
- Instead of counting calories, go for healthy foods.
You may think that by simply counting calories, you’re on your way to losing weight, but in reality, you may be hurting yourself if you base your food choices on quantity as opposed to quality. What you eat does matter. Carbohydrate-rich foods are a good foundation to developing a healthy eating pattern if they are unprocessed or minimally processed. This includes foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Try eating a healthy snack or small meal every three to four hours during the day and focus on lean protein and produce. You will need to train your taste buds to appreciate the subtle sweetness of berries and the tartness of citrus, cranberries, and cherries. The important thing to remember is to make sure whatever you eat is balanced out with the amount of fuel you’re burning from exercise.
It is important to see your primary care doctor, who can help with establishing overall health goals, provide diet and exercise guidance, and offer encouragement. With the help of your doctor and a mindset shift, you’ll be on your way to a happier and healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Alison Urey is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold’s The Woodlands Clinic in Shenandoah. She joined the clinic in 2015 after completing her residency at Baylor College of Medicine and she welcomes new patients.