By Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis, MS RD CDN
Achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes some thought and effort in today’s society. Our lifestyle habits which include our eating, sleeping and activity levels are well entrenched and take time to change. While you are creating new habits you need to be diligent to prevent yourself from unconsciously reverting to your old habits. Below are some principles that have helped others achieve long term success.
Personal Accountability – You are responsible for your success. There are always going to be reasons why you can’t make healthy lifestyle choices but there are more reasons why you can. Creating a way to help yourself stay accountable can help you stay on track, technology can help with this.
Portion Control – Realizing that the portion size needs to be in line with your body’s needs. Portion distortion is everywhere and we need to be diligent about paying attention to what we are eating and not just eating it because it is served to us.
Nutrition – Try to make healthy food choices each day and limit the consumption of foods that are high in calories and low in the nutrients.
Fluid Intake – Having adequate fluids each day aids in digestion, helps move nutrients through the body, helps control hunger, and prevents dehydration. Aim for 64 ounces daily.
Regular Exercise – The combination of cardiovascular activity and strength training has been shown to help reduce the incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. It also can reduce stress, improve sleep patterns, increase stamina and agility and improve quality of life. Aim for 40-60 minutes 4 times a week.
Sleep – Shorter sleep and interrupted sleep have been linked to a higher body mass and create an increase hunger and appetite while decreasing your motivation to exercise and make healthy food choices. Aim for 7 to 8 hours a night.
Be mindful – Unconscious factors effect are decision-making and are all around us.Be aware of the foods you are choosing to eat, how much you are eating and why. If it is out of hunger, enjoy your food, but if it is an environmental influence, your mood or “just because”, take a moment and make a conscious decision.
Have a Positive Attitude – Remember you are making an active, positive lifestyle choice and can make any choice you would like; you should never feel that you are “deprived”. These negative feeling and can undermine your successes. Emphasize all the positives and give yourself some slack.
Make your Health a Priority – Don’t take your health for granted. If you don’t take the time now to take care of yourself, you may be forced to take the time later. Not everything that we do to our bodies can be “fixed”.
Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been practicing in the clinical and outpatient settings for the past 15 years, specializing in Bariatrics and Weight Management.