Monday, January 26, 2009

4 Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle

My friend doesn't believe that I am overweight. Nope, she is not listening to a word of it ! Perhaps I should have stressed 'slightly' overweight, but the 'slightly' part of the sentence still places me at increased risk of developing a chronic disease !

Below is the information you need to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. I will cover more on each step in future blogs, but for now here is a quick summary and some websites you can visit.

Step 1: The first step to changing a behavior is to acknowledge a problem exists. Check out your weight status using the Body Mass Index (BMI)** calculator and assess your risk. Which BMI category do you fall into ?

* Underweight = <18.5
* Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
* Overweight = 25-29.9
* Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

** BMI Calculator (

Step 2: Record your diet. Be honest with yourself. Keep a diary for a week and write down everything you eat and drink. Do you eat off your children's plates ? I am so guilty of this - I hate waste!

There are are resources available to help you calculate your dietary intake. To be honest, it is time consuming and, if you have the financial resources at hand, you may want to pay a nutritionist to analyze your food diary. If not, enjoy the experience of calculating your daily intakes. You can do this by using the "MyPyramid Food Guidance System". MyPyramid offers personalized eating plans, interactive tools to help you plan and assess your food choices, and advice to help you.


So once you know how many calories you are consuming, you can work to modify your diet.

Step 3: How much exercise do you get ? I suggest you get checked out by your physician if you have not been engaging in regular physical activity. Once you get the all clear to start exercising, take it in small steps !

For the first time, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans exist. The key guidelines for adults are as follows:
All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.

For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.

For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.

Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.

So become more physically active !

Step 4: Take care of yourself emotionally. We often neglect our emotional needs, particularly if we are busy with our work and our family life. We forget to pause and reflect. We spend too little time being quiet and still. Try yoga, taking a long walk, listening to music, getting a massage - do something that helps you check out of your hectic life for a short time. And here is the tough part, do it without feeling guilty!

Changing any unhealthy behavior is difficult - it takes strength and determination ! Take small steps first and be honest to yourself!

1 comment:

  1. To stay healthy I just recommend you to take Green drink daily in the morning. I am sure you feel very refreshing and energetic with this!