Okay, I've been on a health kick lately and been evaluating my physical well-being. I have been thinking a lot about balance. Balance is important in so many areas of our lives. Our physical body has 4 basic needs
AIR: Luckily for me the first one is a no-brainer. Although I have had times when breathing was more difficult (asthmatic symptoms) and it greatly affected #4. I also realized after the fact that my water and food intake also had an effect on difficulties with #1.
WATER: This is so important! Just drink water. Your body will thank you. I don't know what's wrong with me, but this is a struggle for me. I am constantly dehydrating myself... I've really been working on that for the last few years and it has really helped my overall physical well being. Also drink water more than anything else. We don't need all that sugar in sodas and we definitely don't need artificial sweeteners [see Splenda and Neotame/Aspartame ]. Part of my problem with dehydration was that I would drink less because I was always grabbing sugary drinks and I would think boy this is overly sweet/adds a lot of calories. So I would drink less instead of just getting the water that my body needed. When you get used to ignoring your thirst you can confuse it for hunger. If you drink a glass of water before a meal you won't be eating to satiate your thirst.
FOOD: Okay. I think Americans, especially, are brainwashed about food. We think that it is all about pleasure. I've noticed my daughter indignantly exclaim that she just doesn't like what I am serving and that is the only excuse she needs not to eat it. "Oh well," I tell her, "Sometimes we do things because they are good for us even if we might not like it that much." Another problem we have is easy, ready-made, over-processed, calorie-dense food (Frankenfood). I watched a documentary called Forks Over Knives on Netflix and realized many of the reasons I over eat. I don't want to be a Vegan but I definitely need to eat more bulky foods that fill me up without overloading on calories. It has a lot to do with the different ways our body tells us we're satisfied. I've added lots more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and more plant based proteins to my diet. In the last month I have been eating more, snacking all I want, feeling very content and full .... and finally lost the last 5 stubborn pounds of baby weight I've struggled with. Plus I feel so great I'm starting to exercise again to tone up my thin yet still a bit flabby figure.
-Another plus is that my grocery bill has actually decreased... one excuse I always used when I thought about eating healthier (although I am not buying all organic foods). I look at what produce is on sale for the week and plan my menu around that.
SLEEP: We are so crazy trying to accomplish so much in our lives that we often forget the importance of sleep. I can directly correlate times in my life that I have gained the most weight to the times I've gotten less sleep. I was almost my heaviest (non-pregnancy related) weight as a senior in high school. I remember having lots of sleepless nights stressing over homework, life-decisions, fears of my future, goals I wanted to accomplish, and plenty of things I had little or no control over. I was tired had a lot of near-sleepless nights and I think I really started depending on sugar for a pick-me-up to try to replace energy I lacked because of poor sleep. Other times I packed on extra pounds: the last year or so of college, ends of both pregnancies, caring for my newborn babies. I know life can be stressful. Keeping a pen and paper by my bed to jot down my worries helped me to get to sleep. Looking at them fully rested in the morning made them seem much less daunting. Try to indulge yourself with more sleep when you can and you'll find your awake hours to be more productive and you won't be grabbing high calorie sweets to fuel your fatigued body.
They are all related. If one area of our physical self is out of whack it affects the others. Sometimes it causes confusion if we don't address the real problem. Like replacing sleep with sugar. Sometimes we over eat when we are really just thirsty. Okay, I could go on for days. This is something to think about. Find ways to indulge in your health and feel good about doing something good for your physical body. Do you feel out of balance? What areas are hard for you?