Updated: Jan 4, 2021
Have you ever heard the phrase, "You are what you eat"? How about, "You get out what you put in"? Well, both are spot on when it comes to your health.
Are you healthy? Am I healthy? I don’t believe there is a breakpoint where one can consider themselves healthy. Good health is a state of being, which is why we say “being healthy”. You can’t just “be” healthy. Therefore, when we talk about good health, we are referring to the practice of being healthy.
With that said, to have good health, you must work at it every single day. Being healthy can be easy and fun; I look forward to improving my health every single day. And you can too.
Whether your goal is weight loss, increased performance, or improved health, the secret to getting there is the right diet. You can exercise all day every day, but unless you're eating right, the results of exercise are not as effective.
Think of it this way: unless you're in the fitness industry or a professional athlete, you spend more of your time and effort eating than you do exercising. Even if you exercise for an hour every day, it's still unlikely exercising involves more time in your day than eating.
Therefore, diet is the majority influence on your health with respect to time. So don't you think optimizing the thing that has greater influence on your health (your diet) will have a greater effect than the thing you do less of (exercising)?
Don't get me wrong; exercise is a very important piece of proper health, but exercise will not get you healthy without pairing it with the proper diet. Many people believe that they can offset what they eat by exercising. That is FALSE. Younger people might be able to get away with it, but as you get older, bad eating habits will have a greater effect on your health.
It's easy to understand why your first attempt to get in shape is to exercise. It's because so many people do it. You see people you consider healthy that are exercising, and think exercise must be the way to better health.
What you don't see is what they eat. There's a very good chance that the people you want to look like have a fairly healthy diet.
Why is diet so important? Well there's many reasons, and here's the top 3.
1. Increases activity
A healthy diet increases physical and mental health by providing the nutrients your body needs to perform vital functions. If you prevent your body from getting proper nutrients, you will be prone to being tired, irritable, stressed, and unfocused.
2. Reduces the risk of chronic conditions
A poor diet that leads to being overweight or obese increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, poor bone density, and some cancers. Managing weight through proper diet helps reduce the risk of chronic health conditions. Supporting your body with proper vitamins and minerals also maintains your immune system, which prevents you from getting sick.
3. It's Cheap
A banana costs less than a candy bar. A bag of carrots costs less than a bag of chips. All of those costs add up. The long-term cost effect can be even worse. As indicated previously, poor diet leads to chronic conditions, which cost money to treat. Decrease your risk of undesirable health conditions through proper diet, and you decrease spending on health care costs.
So, are you ready to change your eating habits? Want to start eating healthier today? Below are 3 tips for eating healthy. Or check out my Beginner's Guide to Eating Healthy.
1. Choose whole, natural foods: Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, whole grain foods, beans, nuts, nonfat dairy, and seafood are all great choices. If you're unsure whether a food item is whole or natural, just consider whether it comes from nature or if it was processed by humans. Read the label. If it has ingredients that look like chemicals or are artificial, don't eat it.
2. Stay away from foods high in calories, fat, and sugar: All of these are contributors to poor diet. My golden rule is if a food or drink item has more than 10g of fat or added sugar per serving, I try my best to choose something else to consume. (US FDA recommends no more than 78g of fat and 50g of added sugar intake per day for an adult).
3. Track what you eat: Most people are visual learners. If you write down what you eat, along with nutritional information, it will be clear to you what you consume in a day. You can then review your day's intake and identify which of your food choices can be improved. After knowing what's going into your body, you may think twice about that salted caramel mocha frappaccino.
Want more great tips on eating healthy? Check out all our articles here.