Striking a balance: The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

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What is your image of a healthy lifestyle?

What images do these words conjure up in your mind? 

  • A lean person holding a green juice in a leisurely pose?
  • A diet consisting only of vegetables and fruit?
  • A ripped, tanned guy running along the beach?

Surprisingly, even if you fall completely outside all or any of the above, you can indeed live a healthy lifestyle.

The image of heavily stressed out professionals seems way too removed from the "healthy image" portrayed in everyday media but taking the right steps towards exercising and nutrition will get you there.

The reality is ...

You do not need to be ripped to be healthy and to be ripped (like those models in sports magazines) requires hours and hours of training which probably scares you off.

You do not need to eat grass (my term for vegetarian and vegan diets) or eat like a caveman to be healthy.

On this point there was a study conducted by the Institute for Preventive Medicine, Nutrition and Cancer (British Journal of Nutrition 2009, 102, 1803–1810) which compared the effect of regular omnivorous and vegetarian diets on the muscle mass index in healthy Caucasian women. Results indicate that a vegetarian diet seems to be associated with a lower muscle mass index than is an omnivorous diet at the same protein intake. Furthermore, they reported that a good indicator of muscle mass index in women seems to be animal protein intake and not total protein intake.

It is OK to be stressed and feel under the pump. Adrenalin can increase productivity so long as you are not running on it for a prolonged period of time and know when to let go, release and inject some serenity and “you time” into your schedule.

Finding the right balance for you

The key is balance, putting all your worth into doing what you love, what you are passionate about, knowing how your body functions, how your body interacts with macro food nutrients, the part played by hormones in causing certain “repository” of fat in unsightly areas, how to exercise without going through crushing routines, how to get motivated to train and incorporate that as a fun addition to your schedule.

Some common misconceptions when it comes to training and  choosing the “right” exercise for a healthy lifestyle:

  • Running can help with weight loss

Any exercise on its own will not guarantee weight loss as this needs to be considered in light of the diet of the individual. Running can impact the knees as you constantly jar your knees with your body weight with each step thus can cause joint problems. This is true whether you run on concrete or on a treadmill. To reduce knee impact, workout should be varied. Perhaps mix running with riding an exercise bike or use an elliptical machine.

  • Crunches and ab machines will get rid of belly fat

Late night infomercials try to sell you ab-crunching machines with models who are ripped and beautifully toned. Even though those ab devices help you build core strength, you may still not be able to “see” your abs unless you reduce your belly fat. It is the overall fat composition of the body that determines whether you are going to look ripped or not. In order to burn fat, you need to create a workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength training elements to reduce overall fat percentage on your body. An aerobic workout will boost your metabolism for hours after you stop working out.

Whilst this is true but the amount of calorie burn is negligible, some experts say this will be around 20 more calories for the day. Strength training may give a little more of a metabolic boost, but it is still marginal.

  • Swimming can help with weight loss

Swimming is great for increasing lung capacity, toning muscles and help burn off excess tension, the truth is that unless you swim for hours at a time, it may not help you lose much weight.

The buoyancy of the water supports your body and prevent.s you from working as hard as you would had you been exercising with gravity. It is also very common to feel ravenous after a swim which will make you eat more than is required to replenish energy and make following an eating plan difficult. 

  • As long as you feel OK when you are working out, you are probably not overdoing it

One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when starting or returning to an exercise program is doing too much too soon. Potential risks of injury aside, it makes it psychologically harder to look forward to the next training session. The truth is, you will not fee you are overdoing it until a day or two later.

  • No Pain No Gain

This by far is the most misunderstood fitness rumor of them all. Whilst feeling some soreness a day or two after a workout is expected, feeling pain while working out is very different. A fitness activity should not hurt while you are doing it, and if it does, then either you are doing it wrong, or you already have an injury. No one should be working through pain.

Importance of Diet

Eating a well-rounded balanced diet that right for your body is essential. From weight loss to gain, getting your nutrition right is important. Just remember that as long as we consume what’s right for us, we are definitely on the right path. The motto "you are what you eat", have been repeated to death but some of us still choose to give it deaf ears. That’s why we aren’t gaining muscles or losing weight and achieving the body that we long for and desire.

Also, our bodies are made up of 70% of water. Water plays a key role in helping us to maintain a healthy weight by suppressing our appetite. Dehydration, however, can cause you to feel more hungry, which ultimately could result in a higher intake of calories. Dehydration can even cause food cravings, because dehydration is often misinterpreted as hunger; so if you are craving sugar when you perhaps would not normally, it could just mean that you are thirsty. When cravings occur frequently it can (obviously) lead to weight gain (Natalie Roberts – "Has Dehydration stopped you from losing weight").

Determination and Discipline

Being determined and disciplined is just as important as everything that’s mentioned above - I‘m sure we’ve all heard the saying mind over body. Setting goals is important as it helps propel us making our vision possible. As human beings and we all have days and moments, when we just don’t want to train and/or do anything and that’s fine. However, we cannot be lazy if we want to achieve results, live and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

In a nutshell, all the points that we covered above, point towards striking a balance by creating a healthier you and lifestyle. When our bodies are healthy, harmful diseases are kept at bay and as a result of that we are able to enjoy, live longer fuller lives. Ring (03) 8528 1001 or email us: mob@yogaxtc.com.au to make an appointment to make the best decision of your life to create the best version of you.