What Does Being Healthy Mean To You?

Written by Tanya Pavan.

With the onslaught of new gyms, fitness trends, health tips and tricks the true value of one's health (or leading a healthy lifestyle) can become frustrating and downright unnerving to those trying to get in shape. How do you pick which diet or workout regime to follow when you are bombarded with so many different choices?

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Your first decision should be: What do you consider to be a healthy lifestyle? Does a healthy lifestyle for you include workouts every day or 3-4 times per week? Do you enjoy waking up and going to the gym first thing in the morning or do you prefer working out after work, or just on the weekends? Your opinion of a healthy lifestyle is personal, and should be your driving force in developing a workout and nutrition plan that you can not only stick to, but that you enjoy as well. Knowing what you like and dislike are important in developing a program that will work for you, as each individual needs and desires different things from their lifestyles.

Another question to ask yourself is: What kind of exercise do you find the most enjoyable? Do you enjoy yoga, aerobics, or lifting weights? Or perhaps you like to add a variety of activities to your week to keep yourself motivated. Do you need a workout partner? Or do you prefer working out solo? By evaluating activities that you find most fun or by taking up activities that you may enjoy you are more likely to stick with it for the long term. Let's face it, all the research in the world on fitness programs is great, but if you do not find an activity fun the likelihood of you maintaining with that program is doubtful.

The second step to leading a healthy lifestyle is rooted in your daily diet. Are you following a diet that includes all the vitamins and nutrients your body requires to function? Do you get enough servings of fruit and vegetables per day? Do you eat too much junk food? Do you keep a diet journal, or have you kept one in the past? The best thing we can do for ourselves is be upfront and honest with our diets.

If you are constantly making excuses for your nutritional intake (or lack thereof) the only person you are harming is yourself. Sometimes when you aren't accustomed to seeing everything you eat down on paper, keeping a journal will open your eyes to what you're actually putting in your mouth. It's this kind of honesty that will produce the most results and impact our awareness on just how healthy or unhealthy our lifestyle really is, instead of what it appears to be. Experts agree that following a good nutritional plan is imperative to achieving your overall fitness goals, and suggest that your diet is responsible for up to 85% of the results you see.

The final question to ask yourself is: What are your goals? Would you like to lose weight, gain weight, or tone up? Having and setting specific fitness goals is a great way to get you going on the right path to determining your healthy lifestyle. Keeping these goals will also remind you of what you should be doing to achieve them. For example, if you'd like to lose 5 lbs., your workout program and your nutritional program should dictate what you do and what you eat to achieve those goals. This part requires some willpower on your part. Be honest with yourself.

Setting a weight loss goal but eating every cookie in sight is counterproductive, which in the end will make you feel guilty about indulging. If you cannot or know you will not keep up a specific diet on certain occasions, allow yourself to be flexible. A healthy lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. It should not be a quick fix scheme, but rather should be something you adopt for the long run. Consistency and persistence are the only ways to achieve greatness, whatever your goal. Keep this in mind when you ask yourself what being healthy means to you. Can you keep up this program for the long term? If your immediate thoughts are no, then you may want to reconsider your program for something than you can do long term.

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