As we transition to March, National Nutrition Month, I want to look back a bit before we look forward! We ended our month with gratitude. I ask…
- Are you grateful for your health? Your ability to do the things you enjoy?
- Do you have a health or diet mindset?
- A growth and design mindset?
- And above all…a strong why for health.
You see, a healthy weight is important, but health is about so much more. Reducing your weight by just 5-10% appears to improve glycemic control, reduce blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol levels AND increase longevity. While the studies cited usually identify the benefits for obese individuals, many people that are overweight experience the same benefits – and quickly. There are many benefits to weight loss. But essentially, weight really is just a symptom of the need to change underlying behaviors. Our focus really should be on the behaviors since that is all we can change – and the scale will typically follow. Now, we recognize that there are underlying health conditions that keep the scale from moving, but, changing the behaviors consistently in most cases will ‘move the needle’ of the scale. For those that still use ‘needle versus digital readings’! In reality, measuring weight is just one additional indicator of health and if we didn’t weigh a person who is following healthy behaviors, but merely did their blood pressure and blood work, we would probably still see the change. We need to remove the fixation on the scale! Healthy nutrition provides benefits beyond our physical well-being, improving depression and anxiety, and our overall emotional well-being.
A diet is often short term, so we encourage a lifestyle of health! Carol Landau, Ph.D., clinical psychology and human behavior, states “You’ll do better if you have goals that have to do not with weight, but with health…Most diets don’t work”. Dr. Landau is not alone. We have heard this consistently, yet people keep dieting – and typically it is the first of the year or for an occasion, only to regain the weight and find the need to go on yet another diet. Diets often set us up for shame and guilt cycles.
Let’s shift to a healthy nutrition plan – fueling our body with premium fuel. That includes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats and is also low in sugar and processed and refined foods. A healthy plan is also high in fruits and vegetables providing ‘micro’ nutrients that benefit our health along with a hearty supply of fiber offering fullness and added health benefits.
Let’s eat for health and life!
I love the analogy of a food ‘bank’ – the actual food bank and a savings food bank – savings for your health! First, let me say, it would be wonderful if our food banks provided healthy choices for those in need. We will talk about caloric density later in the month. We know that fresh fruits and vegetables are best, but if ALL of our ‘food banks’ included better options that would be great. Each time you eat something it either deposits credits into your ‘health’ or requires a payment toward your ‘health’. Many of us have Health Savings account, an account that allows us to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. Well! Let’s deposit into our Food Health Savings account, and we could REDUCE our medical expenses!
We often talk about the ’Big Three’ in health promotion, Nutrition | Exercise | Stress Management. They all work together to improve our longevity and quality of life, thereby reducing our medical costs. But just telling you to improve them isn’t enough – let’s build a toolkit. Start with 20-Health-Tips by Eat Right. We want to ‘inspire you’ to change your behaviors, providing support and motivation to do so. Ideally, you create strategies and actions that you can and will do for a lifetime. This certainly doesn’t mean you will exercise, eat well, and practice stress management techniques every day, but you will consistently have them in your mind and integrate them into your daily lives.
Set up a personal consultation on MindBody to plan your journey to better health!
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Contact TerryGehrke@BalancedWellnessKY.com to learn more about how Balanced Wellness LLC can help your employees on their journey to improved health