In today’s busy lives, we all need instant solutions to our nutrition and fitness needs. It is often said that, in a healthy body resides a healthy mind. We all are constantly running behind something, be it money, or finding a better job, building that dream house or struggling to keep a relationship going.
Amidst all this it is difficult to pause and look at our own selves. How many of us really take out the time to look after our bodies and over all well-being?
Let’s take a look at how we can achieve this with simple changes made to our lifestyle and diet.
1. Eat local, think global
There are so many nations in this world and each one has its own traditional cuisine. Now, if we carefully determine what goes into the food eaten by people of that particular region, we will come to realize that the food consumed is specific to the climatic conditions of that region. The climatic conditions are responsible for the proper digestion of food.
I know that would be like a lot of work to monitor everything you eat, right? Well, not really. The drill is simple; eat the most of what is grown locally. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are in, just eat what is the staple food there.
We need not understand the science behind. We all don’t fully understand the functioning of an automobile, right? But we still drive it and enjoy it.
I’m not asking you to stick to only local or traditional food. A little treat at the Italian or Greek restaurant once in a while wouldn’t hurt. But the key is to eat mostly that which is locally produced and is referred to as the staple diet of that region. Trust me, it works.
2. Mindfulness is the key
Have you ever eaten a bar of dark chocolate, little by little, very mindfully, enjoyed every single moment of it and ended up feeling truly satisfied? That is nothing but the art of eating mindfully. Now don’t get scared, initially it would sound like a lot of work. But with practice, it will become effortless and a part of your everyday living.
Mindfulness is that state of being completely aware of your present and truly experiencing it.
Most people who over eat, are the ones who just stuff themselves with food, without actually being satisfied with it. And because they are never satisfied, they keep eating.
The first step is to know what you are eating and then reassuring yourself that this is the right food for you. Nothing can beat the aroma of freshly cooked vegetables with fresh herbs, right? Observe the food on your plate, smell it, be grateful that you have freshly cooked and healthy food to eat, take a small bite and savor every bit of it. Food should be savored, not gobbled down. That gobbling down of huge morsels of food is called filling yourself and not eating.
Take your time to complete your meal, don’t hurry. What are you saving time for? Eat slowly, eat mindfully. Only then you will feel truly satisfied. And when you feel satisfied for every bite you take in, you will never have an urge to over eat. Think about that now.
3. Natural exercises
Going to the gym and workout sessions are the fancier (read: expensive) modes of staying fit today. You don’t need a personal trainer to help you lose weight or tone those muscles. Celebrities get paid to look like that. We are ordinary people who have more meaningful things to invest our time, energy and money into.
First things first; get it out of your head that only going to an expensive gym or hiring a famous trainer will make you fit. In fact, in my opinion, these things are nothing but harassment for your body.
Get yourself a pair of good running shoes, or buy a skipping rope and go! That is probably all you need to be able to maintain your weight and stay fit. Exercise in natural surroundings for more benefits.
Don’t you think your heart will be happier to pump it up in a natural surrounding full of fresh air than in a compact room running on an air conditioner? Also think about the contrast vibrations both these places send out. Which one is more likely to make you feel positive and motivated?
The rule is simple; the more in sync with nature you are the healthier and fit you find yourself to be.
4. Throw away those pills and supplements
How many of us have the ‘pill-popping’ habit? Let’s see; Protein shake after exercise, One pill after breakfast for vitamins, one before lunch for calcium and one before going to bed because you think you are suffering from insomnia. Oh come on, do you really think it is helping after all?
All those people who think pills and supplements are going to cure them of some deficiency are downright wrong and mislead. Need vitamin C? Eat oranges, lemons and all citrus fruits. Why protein shakes when you have fish, meat, pulses, legumes, cheese and soy? Have you tried chilled yogurt or warm milk before bed to cure that ‘I-think-I-have-insomnia’ syndrome?
For every health problem or deficiency, help is right there in your kitchen. And if you have a well-balanced diet you will never run short of any vitamin or calcium in your body.
So stop popping pills and alter your diet. Pills and supplements make you their slaves; you have to become independent of them. Remember, people lived healthy and fit lives even before pills and supplements were discovered.
Artificial made anything will always have long term side effects so always go natural!
5. The wonders of walking
When you tell your grandma that you need to cut down a few kilos, have you ever heard of her saying that you should join a gym, hire a personal trainer or enroll in a class that promises instant weight loss in a week’s time (Which in the end you realize was nothing short of a scam)? No right? She will always tell you to walk. Why? Because this age old formula never fails. It works every single time, for everyone, no exceptions.
Walking is good for your heart and also good for your mind. It keeps us active, motivated and always bustling with energy. You can do a leisurely walk or brisk walk, both are good for you! So now you know what to do when you feel inactive or low.
How much ever I talk about the benefits of meditation, it always falls short. It’s really hard to describe the benefits of meditation unless you actually experience it yourself.
So what is meditation? Meditation is nothing but watching your breath; the feeling and state of being full alive and aware of all your emotions, thoughts and sufferings. Meditation has proven to reduce stress, overcome emotional baggage and help people to develop a positive attitude towards life.
7. Eat fresh
From frozen chicken to frozen chips and from heat and serve pasta to heat and serve mac and cheese. Our neighborhood market and the frozen food companies seem to have made our lives so much easier (read: unhealthy). What? Shocked?
Yes, frozen food is unhealthy and lacks nutritional value. Isn’t that like common sense anyway? The most experienced nutritionists have claimed that is it useless to eat food that has been cooked for over 4-5 hours because it doesn’t consist of the nutritional value anymore. We all live an instant-gratification lifestyle these days; we either don’t like waiting for something or taking efforts to do something; Shortcuts have become a way of life.
Make it a rule; don’t include frozen food (I know, even though it’s fast and really yummy) in your daily diet. Once in while wouldn’t harm but eat fresh cooked food daily.
8. Water intake
We all have heard about drinking gallons of water advice to stay healthy. What? No! We all are different and have a varying appetite, so how come 3-liters-of-water-for-everyone logic makes sense?
Drink water when you feel the need for it. Drink when thirsty, after meals etc. And by the way, it’s not about how much water you consume, it’s actually liquids. So count the soups, juices and coconut water too!
9. Fruits and vegetables
This is a known fact for almost all of us, but then why the emphasis? Because most of us who are aware of this, tend to not follow it. A diet rich of fresh fruits and vegetables will keep you healthy and never have a need to pop a supplement pill again.
10. A positive attitude
If you are going to keep worrying, complaining and crying all the time, you will never feel good about yourself. And all that you’ll do to stay healthy will just go down the drain. Your body will not show results overnight and so be patient. Love yourself, be kind to others and channelize your energy in doing constructive work. Being healthy is also a state of mind, so take the right steps and feel healthy on all levels of your being.
Stay healthy, stay positive.