Being a Healthier "You"
There’s no need to cut out meat or animal products altogether, but if you need more structure to your nutrition, find a diet plan you’re comfortable with. Some of the most popular ones—Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach and Jenny Craig—incorporate total lifestyle changes.
Robin Eiseman, who weighed 264 pounds, found success with Weight Watchers. “I knew I needed a structured program with a support group,” she says. “Instead of focusing on how much I ‘should’ be losing, I focused on getting healthier and developing a better mind set,” she says. Robin has since lost 60 pounds and no longer feels like life is passing her by.
Get in Motion
The research is clear—almost everything in your life can improve from exercise. From promoting happiness and strengthening memory to improving self-esteem and immune function, exercising for at least 30 to 45 minutes three or more times a week is a key component to healthy living.
There is no magic potion that will help you get out and exercise, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. During the first 30 days, you should start slowly by walking or cycling with some friends, or go bowling, roller skating or swimming. Just make sure you ease into your new routine.
“People jump in too hard, too fast,” says Carol Espel, the national director of group fitness programming for Equinox fitness clubs. “Working harder is not better. You don’t have to do a lot to get the benefits, but anything worthwhile won’t be super easy.”
The best part about exercise is that anyone can do it at any pace they like. For Robin, joining a women-only fitness club like Curves helped jump-start her routine. “I needed to find a way to incorporate exercise in my everyday life,” she says. “Today, I walk anywhere from 15 to 30 miles a week,” she says. “I have a better outlook on life and I’m happier.”
Other Health Factors
Two more factors that directly impact health are sleep and stress. The National Sleep Foundation reports that approximately seven out of 10 Americans say they experience frequent sleep problems. Stress is also a huge factor in living healthier. As much as 80% of all diseases and illnesses have a link to the amount of stress you feel.