Wellness is a way of life that requires taking deliberate steps to preventing illness and improving quality of life. I’m sharing some simple tips to help you get started today.
We live in a world obsessed with dieting. Each year, new diet books and programs get released – giving hope to the people that failed following the previous one. Some diet books flop right from the get go. I remember seeing a book titled, “The High School Reunion Diet” at half-price books a few years ago.
Other diets stick around for a long time. The Keto and Paleo diet are two examples. When clients come to see me, I always ask for a thorough diet history. More often than not, they share a life time of trying different diets. As you can imagine, they show up at my office confused, and fed up.
If you can relate, I’m glad you’re reading this. Stop dieting your way to death and consider a new approach. Consider a life of wellness.
What Is Wellness?
When I tell people that I am a registered dietitian, they often ask me what exactly I do. I explain how I teach athletes to eat well to perform their best, and I help people understand how to live a healthy lifestyle. Most importantly, I explain my philosophies around wellness and healthy living. That often leads to the question, “What is wellness?”
Technically, to be well could mean to be “free from illness.” But, wellness is so much more than that to me. It’s a way of life.
The term wellness is vague. Dictionary.com defines it two ways. One definition states, “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” The other defines it as, “ an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.”
I’m not sure where either of those definitions originates, but I like them. I especially like prioritizing prevention rather than having to react to a disease. That’s why I became a dietitian – to highlight the importance of food and nutrition to for overall health and well-being.
Wellness Is A Way Of Life
By my definition, wellness is a way of life. It’s taking proactive steps to life a healthy lifestyle. And, though my role as a dietitian revolves around food, there’s a lot more to feeling good than just what you eat. There are many areas of wellness, and each one plays a role in your health, and how you feel.
Choosing healthy foods, staying physically active, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and maintaining a positive attitude are all important. I write about each of these topics on this blog. That’s because, I believe each one is equally important. Each one, alone and together, impacts your mental, physical and emotional health. They all add value to the quality of your live and give you the best chance for life-long health and happiness.
Simple Ways To Work Toward Wellness
If you already practice the different areas of wellness that I mentioned above, you are already taking steps wellness. If you need help, below are some simple steps to get you started. Remember, when making changes to your lifestyle, it’s important to focus on one goal at a time. Once you master your first goal, you can then move onto your next. Before you know it, your way of life will be one filled with wellness.
Choice A Variety Of Nutritious Foods
The foundation of a healthy diet includes high-quality protein, fruits, vegetables, whole-grains and healthy fats. Aim to eat a balance of these foods throughout the day. If you need help, check out my article on how to create a balanced meal plan.
Drink Adequate Water
If you’ve been walking around dehydrated, it’s hard to imagine the great feeling you are missing out on. Healthy hydration is at the heart of feeling good. Try to drink between 8-12 cups of fluid a day. And, incorporate hydrating foods – like fruits and vegetables – into your meal plan.
Aim For At Least 30 Minutes Of Intentional Physical Activity A Day
When the Department of Health And Human Services published the physical activity guidelines for Americans, I was super excited. Finally, there was some research backed advice to move more. I was thrilled that the guidelines include strength training, too. The current guidelines are as follows:
To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.
Broken down, that comes out to 30-60 minutes of activity 5 days per week.
Get Enough Sleep
Adequate sleep is critical to your health and feeling good. Not only does it play a role in your overall well-being, it also impacts your ability to maintain a healthy weight, the quality of your exercise sessions and your ability to focus. My post about the importance of sleep shares more details on each.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. If you’re not getting enough, this is the first place I would start on your way to wellness.
Maintain A Positive Attitude
I can’t say enough about maintaining a healthy mindset. It is key to being happy. That’s because, your thoughts can control and become your actions. If you are living with a negative mind, it’s hard to make positive changes. I share more about that in my post “Change Requires A Positive Attitude.”
When you adopt all of these steps, they become your way of life. You’re not on a diet, or starting a plan with an end. It’s wellness. It’s a way of life.