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Obstacles to Healthy Living

Posted by: Emily Esmaili on March 15, 2013

Emily Esmaili

You know who they are: the “healthy people.” Often seen in workout clothes sipping on green smoothies. And they’re so happy and productive and confident; how do they do it? Are they just born with a craving for kale,  spinach and healthy living? Actually, yes! But the good news is that you were, too!

Our bodies are incredibly smart and they are sending us messages all the time about what we need to do to be healthier and overcome obstacles to healthy living. That bloated feeling after you’ve eaten a big fat-filled meal, restless legs when you’ve been sitting too long, parched lips when you haven’t been drinking enough water — these are all ways our bodies speak to us.

The bad news is that we often drown out these messages by our unhealthy life choices. And over time, our body’s messages become more insistent and manifest themselves in disease, illness, pain, depression, just to name a few.

Here are four “s’s” to help you remember some of the ways we ignore what our bodies are telling us and overcome those common obstacles to healthy living.

  1. Stress — When we are constantly in a hurry, we limit our opportunities to make healthy choices. Eating fast food on the way to a soccer game, sitting in traffic, and staying up late to finish an assignment are all obstacles to health. When your body tells you to sleep, do you listen? Or do you pour another cup of coffee? Our bodies also need restful times during the day to recharge. And in those moments, it’s easier to think more clearly about our life choices and to plan to implement better ones, like having a green smoothie instead of a Big Mac. An added benefit is that when your brain is fed real nutrition and has had a full night’s sleep, you stand a better chance at winning that soccer game, you might opt to ride your bike to work, and it might not take you so long next time to finish that assignment.
  2. Sedentary lifestyle — Sometimes my iPhone means iSit and iWasteTime. With so many tasks made possible with technology, it’s so easy to forget to get up and move! Exercise not only helps burn off excess weight, but your energy level soars, your blood receives more oxygen, and your internal pharmacy is open for business. Your body will thank you for it, as the happy hormones flow. And yes, there’s an app for that.
  3. Cynicism (well, it sounds like “s” at least) — Thinking “I can’t change” or “it’s too hard to exercise” and “it’s too expensive to eat healthy” can become self-fulfilling prophecies. It can also lead to binge eating and an unhealthy Pinterest addiction. Rather than reaching for a doughnut and your Facebook page when you feel blue, which can only make you feel worse, listen to your body (who has always believed in you) and change your thinking to include more “I can!” statements. And those make much better status updates than, “I just ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerrys.”
  4. Standard American Diet — Is there any wonder why the acronym for this diet is “SAD”? We know that eating poorly turns our taste buds into taste enemies. Just as your body tells you what is good for you to eat, your brain is a lazy organ and craves whatever can turn into energy the fastest — sugar and processed foods give the brain what it wants so it in turn tells you to eat more. And more. And more. Changing your eating habits will change your eating desires, which will make it much easier to turn down those cute Girl Scouts.

If we make changes in these areas of our lives, we can begin to hear what our body is telling us. Our cravings will change, our sleep will become more restful, and our attitudes will brighten. Take the time to turn down these other noises and listen to what your body is telling you — you might just end up being one of those “healthy people” too!

Another way to remember these four areas that health impacts is the acronym “L.E.A.N.” (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition) — for more information on how to attend a L.E.A.N. workshop and learn practical step-by-step ways to implement these changes, click here.

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Emily Esmaili is a vegan blogger and a Certified Health Coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.  A homeschooling mom of three and small business owner, she enjoys writing, obsessively cleaning, singing in her church music team, and actually laughing out loud. You can find her on Facebook.com/EasyVeggies or contact her at emily@easyveggies.com.


 

One comment so far for “Obstacles to Healthy Living”

Diane Yelich
Well said, Emily!

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