Healthy lifestyle takes commitment

January 31, 2014 Editorials Print Print
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Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions that will most likely not make it past January. The most popular resolution seems to be “get in shape,” “lose weight,” or “exercise more.”

However you word it, most people who have any of those goals will be trying an ever-popular remedy to the American obesity crisis — dieting.

First of all, I will say I am guilty of making an empty promise each year to change my eating habits or to visit the gym more but, sadly, I never make it past March. This could be due to my poor self control, or lack of motivation. However, I think the way we view becoming more healthy in our minds makes all the difference.

There is a problem with the way Americans view their health. We often think our bodies can be fixed by a one-time simple solution. People use diet pills, Slim Fast, the latest drink fad such as Herbalife or Plexus, or cutting out sweets for a week.

Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but all of those things are temporary fixes. You can’t just stop drinking Slim Fast, Plexus, or Herbalife one day and expect to stay in great shape. Cutting out sweets for a week may help you lose weight the first time, but once you start eating them again, you’re in the same unhealthy boat again.

Losing weight, or getting in shape, doesn’t happen overnight. It is something you have to continuously work at and be committed to. There are plenty of ways to adapt your lifestyle to have healthier results.

The American Heart Association recommends that people should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

There are many benefits to making exercise a part of your daily routine such as having a stronger immune system, good cholesterol and prolong optimal health.

Eating right also is a major part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people stay within their calorie counts each day.

Fruits and vegetables are important and provide nutrition that other foods cannot. Whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk and calcium rich foods can help maintain weight or help with weight loss. Foods with low saturated and trans fat, sodium and sugar are healthier options.

The Harvard School of Public Health uses a “Healthy Eating Plate” that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins, water and healthy oils.

Drinking water is a small change that can make a large difference. Sugary drinks are not healthy because they add empty calories to daily intake.

Sleep deprivation also can cause people to eat more because lack of rest can cause imbalance with hormones, leading to a larger appetite. People also are advised to stop smoking because of the damage that it can do to your lungs and other organs.

There are many free recipes and helpful lifestyle changing tips at www.heart.org.

For the fifth year in a row, I will be attempting a healthy lifestyle change along with many other students. It’s never easy but, hopefully, I can make it at least until the summer.

To contact Lauren Daniel, email editor@occc.edu.

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