Tag Archives: health

Good Health Is More Than Just Diet and Exercise

When people think about being healthy, I would say that the first thing that comes to mind would most likely be diet and/or exercise. While I would absolutely agree that both are contributing factors to living a healthy lifestyle and extending your longevity; however, there are so many other aspects of being healthy that should not be overlooked. I made a short list of other things that people should also prioritize and balance out if needed in addition to eating healthy foods, taking health supplements, and working out. (If there is anything that I forgot to mention, be sure to share it in the comments below)!

Quality and Quantity of Sleep – I write the quality and quantity of sleep because both are equally important. It can be tough for people to fall asleep at night or clock in enough hours of sleep. As a result, that leaves people with low energy levels and over time can deteriorate one’s quality of life. Good sleep is a universal necessity that everyone can benefit from. I always recommend that if your schedule permits, find a time in the day to add a nap if needed to add some extra sleep time in your day.

Self Care (ex: skincare, personal grooming, etc.) – The way in which you take care of yourself matters and this is often a category that gets ignored due to a busy lifestyle. No matter how many professional and personal obligations that you have, it is essential to add self care to that list because taking care of yourself is a necessity! For me personally, self care can include the little things such as taking the time to wear products with sun protection during the summer months. It also means scheduling a monthly facial and/or massage. Never neglect yourself because you are your most valuable asset and deserve to be pampered!

Stress Levels – Throughout the course of our lives, it is natural that you will experience stress but it is important to try to find ways to eliminate stress in its entirety or find things to aid in reducing stress such as meditation. It is said that stress is a silent killer in people’s lives and that too much of it over time can take a serious toll on one’s life. It is for this reason that people need to try their very best to keep their stress levels at bay.

Mental Health – This often can be a taboo subject but it is definitely an aspect of life that should never be ignored. If you are not in a good place in your life, it is important to utilize the right resources to get you back on the right track. That might mean scheduling therapy sessions with a professional or going to a doctor to get a prescription. There should be no shame in seeking help when needed.

Happiness – Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget about increasing and maintaining your happiness levels. Your satisfaction with life matters and you should make this a focal point by pursuing the things that you love and eliminating the things that do not suit a purpose in your life. That might mean getting a new job, getting out of a toxic relationship, booking a vacation, and/or finding quality time to spend with your friends or family. Whatever it is that makes YOU happy, go for it! 🙂

3 Reasons Why Daily Exercise is Essential

While many would agree that staying healthy is a priority, not everyone puts the right practices into place to ensure that they maintain their health. I would say that there are many factors that contribute to living a healthy lifestyle that include implementing a nutritious diet, getting enough rest each day, keeping stress levels low, and daily exercise. While I know many people live very busy lives between their careers and personal lives, I do not think that should be an excuse or a free pass to ignore exercising a few days a week. Why? I believe that daily exercise is not only important for your health but that it is essential for your well being.

Exercise Boosts Your Mood – For me personally, I am in such a better mood for the day after I exercise. Whereas when I do not fit in the time for a workout, I notice a difference in my mood where I might not feel as happy and upbeat. Studies do show that exercise very well does not only uplift your mood but it also helps as a stress reliever. For many including myself, exercise also builds my mental strength which is just as important as your physical strength and perhaps even more so.

Exercise Helps With Weight Management – While some might not feel that they are in need of losing weight or building muscle, it is still a good habit to exercise to maintain your weight throughout your lifetime. As people age, it is natural to put on excess weight little by little due to the metabolism slowing down over time. I do believe that focusing on a healthy diet is more effective than exercise given the choice; however, if you eat well AND exercise daily, that is the golden combo in helping you stay physically fit and obtaining a desirable physique.

Exercise Prevents Potential Health Problems – I look at it like this, we only have one body that is going to carry us throughout life. It is for this reason that we should treat our bodies with care and in order to do so, we have to feed our bodies with the right nutrients and fuel while also keeping the body moving in order for it to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. By taking the time to exercise daily, it helps in preventing future health problems to occur and also can add many extra years to your life. Remember that every little bit of exercise helps and it is never too late to start!

How to Train Yourself to Make Healthier Food Choices

As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. What we choose to eat each day not only impacts our overall health and well being but also influences our mood, energy levels, performance, longevity, and our quality of life. I don’t like labeling anything as “common sense” because I recognize that what is common to one might not be common to another but I think most people would agree that they know the benefits of making healthier dietary choices yet so many people don’t consciously follow through with it. I understand that food should taste good but why can’t it be both tasty and healthy? Given the choice, I tell people that I will always choose to eat something based on the health value over how good it tastes because the long term effects of eating the right foods outweigh the instant gratification of how good something tastes at that present moment. However, as I just mentioned, you can still choose to eat things that you love to eat and that are healthy at the same time. You can also treat yourself every so often to really delicious and decadent foods within moderation. If you currently don’t have the best eating habits, the good news is that there is always room for change and that change can start after reading this blog or whenever your mind is firmly set to make the changes that are needed to adapt healthier eating habits into your lifestyle.

Stock Up on Healthier Foods – I always say, out of sight, out of mind and this most certainly applies to food too. I like to have a concrete grocery shopping list before I set out to the supermarket so that I know exactly what I’m looking for and keep the list filled with both clean and organic foods. I try to avoid buying unhealthy foods and snacks because if I have access to them in the comfort of my home, then they are in sight which will make it more tempting to want to eat them. Of course it is okay to have some treats but I recommend finding healthier alternatives or to buy them less frequently so that the few times that you buy them, it is truly a once in a while treat.

Meal Prep Each Week – When you take the time to meal prep and plan out your daily meals, this allows you to be in control of what you eat in terms of the type of meal and the portion size. It is smart to buy containers and fill them up accordingly with a good healthy mix of foods and nutrients. If you are stuck with coming up with healthy meal ideas, you can easily research what others make through a google search or places like Pinterest and Instagram have plenty of resources to use as a guide.

Eat Out Less Often – Even though many restaurants provide healthier meal options on their menus nowadays, it is still hard to know how healthy the meal truly is. There is often a ton of hidden fats, sugar, and other unhealthy things added to make the food taste extra good but obviously aren’t good for you, especially when eaten in excess. For example, an innocent salad can end up having a lot junk in it by the time all the fixings and dressing are added on top. My point is that meals that appear to be healthy on the surface might not end up being as wholesome as you think. If you cook more at home, then at least you know the ingredients and what exactly you are eating as opposed to a restaurant where you are unsure of what the meal actually consists of.

Learn How to Study a Food Label – It is important to familiarize yourself with food labels and compare them when you are shopping for products. For example, it is beneficial knowing the serving size because although it might come in a single bag, you cannot assume that it is one serving. Other areas that I like to pay attention to are the actual ingredient list to see if the ingredients are mostly natural with little additives and artificial ingredients along with the amount of sugar. There are many foods that you would not think have a lot of sugar but actually do which is why it is good to look at how many grams of sugar are in a serving. In terms of the calorie count, I am not as concerned with this number because sometimes high quality foods are higher in calories whereas foods marketed as “low calorie foods” are not necessarily as nutritious as they want consumers to think they are and tend to be created with a lot of fillers and unhealthy ingredients.

Track What You Eat – Often I emphasize the importance of tracking things down which helps by literally keeping you on track but most importantly by making you stay accountable for your actions which in this case is monitoring your food choices. Even someone like myself who already prioritizes living a healthy lifestyle and is very disciplined can benefit from tracking what I eat. I find that when I take the time to list what I eat each day, I am more aware of what I’m eating along with how much. This practice personally helps me stay focused and mindful about making healthy choices each and everyday! (Trust me, it works)!

How to Make Fitness a Part of Your Lifestyle

Many people understand the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and why adding physical exercise into their daily routine is important but not everyone takes the time to make it a part of their lifestyle. I understand the reason for this is going to vary from person to person but can range from simply not liking to exercise or perhaps living a busy life where it is hard to make the time for it. Whatever the case may be, the good thing is that any little bit of exercise that you do is always going to be better than doing absolutely nothing. So you can start very small and eventually progress over time. If creating a fitness routine is totally new for you, then it can be expected that you might not be doing much in the very beginning and that’s OKAY! As long as there’s a start, you can always build better habits as time goes on. You might now be wondering, “Well, how exactly do I get started?”

Find Physical Activities That You LOVE – Not everyone loves going to a gym but thankfully a gym membership is not a requirement. You can easily workout in the comfort of your own home or find sports/physical hobbies that you enjoy. If you participate in activities that you actually want to do, then it will not feel as much like work.

Set Fitness Goals and Write Them Down – If you have fitness goals that you are looking to achieve, then take the time to write them down. It is good to have goals because this can motivate you to actually take action to achieve them. For example, your goal might be to weight train for three days a week at 30 minutes a session. Once this becomes a habit, you can then reassess and create more challenging fitness goals.

Hire a Professional – It is a valuable investment to hire a professional to teach you how to train properly or if it is a sport that you are looking to get better at, then this is also a good reason to look into hiring someone who can up your skill set. Some people might feel intimidated or that they can’t do a certain physical activity but with the right professional help, there is an opportunity to grow, learn something new, and/or improve from where you started.

Plan Ahead by Creating a Consistent Fitness Schedule – By creating a fitness schedule in advance, you are adding concrete blocks of time within your day/week to work out while also holding yourself accountable to sticking to a fitness regime. It’s okay if it varies from week to week depending on your schedule as long as you are making some type of commitment each week. In other words, it is not as effective to have four days in a week that you work out followed by two weeks of inactivity before you get back on track again to your initial schedule. This plan lacks consistency which means that it is not much a part of your lifestyle. It is more preferable to maybe start with two to three days a week and commit to that rather than fitting in random work outs sporadically throughout the month.

Staying Healthy and Fit – 5 Things I Recommend Most

Before I share some of my healthy habits, there are a couple things to first recognize when it comes to health and fitness. For starters, everyone’s personal standard of what’s “healthy” is going to vary and secondly, what works for me might not necessarily work for you in its entirety as there are various contributing factors such as your body type, age, current health, etc. So please keep this in mind as you are reading because it’s easy to follow advice and then wonder why you are not obtaining the exact same results. As I mentioned, it’s because every body is different but at the same time, my general health tips are ones in which anyone can pick up at any time to achieve their very own personal success–so that means you can keep reading. 🙂

To me, staying healthy and fit is not only a LIFESTYLE but it also is a COMMITMENT to self. Chances are, my personal health standards are probably much higher than the average individual which is why it seems like I put in a lot more effort than most people. I’m sure I probably don’t need to put in as much work as I do to obtain results but I look at it like this: Why settle on mediocre results when I can opt for the very best results? I do what I know works for me and if that means extra workouts or a little extra focus on what I am eating, then it definitely is worth it.

Put in the Physical Work by Lifting Weights and Adding Cardio – Sometimes people are scared to lift weights because they think it will make them appear too bulky. Again, everyone’s body is genetically built differently but generally speaking, lifting weights will give you a desirable body composition and tone you up in all the right areas. Personally, I try to lift weights for an hour a day. I’ll switch up the moves each day to target different muscle groups but each day will be a mix of moves so that I can do a full body workout as opposed to isolating certain muscle groups on certain days. In terms of cardio workouts, I think it’s helpful to incorporate cardio workouts to burn a few extra calories in the day and that it is also good for your heart. With cardio, I try to fit 30-60 minutes of cardio about 5 days a week. (If I don’t have the time to do both in a day, I would choose to lift weights given the choice).

Eat a High Protein Diet – In order to keep the muscle and stay strong, it is important to make sure you eat enough protein in a day and ideally at every meal. If you consistently lift weights but are not feeding your muscles, then all the physical work could go to waste which is why you need to make sure you have enough protein built into your diet. Some forms of protein that I eat on a daily basis include: chicken, fish, eggs, and whey protein. I will also eat turkey and red meat on occasion.

Pay Attention to Portion Control – When I say “portion control,” I do not want this to ever translate as starvation because you absolutely need to fuel your body with enough high quality foods and nutrients in order to stay healthy and build your muscles. What I simply mean is to be mindful of how much you’re eating during each meal and to really listen to your body when you are full–no matter how good the food is (depending on what it is, you can always save it and eat more of it at a later time).

Stay Consistent with Both Your Exercise and Diet – “Getting” in shape is one thing but “staying” in shape is another. When people are determined enough, they can easily get fit but often times they cannot stay fit. The reason is that there is not enough consistency. In order to obtain any type of long lasting results, you need to stay consistent. For me personally, I consistently go to the gym in the mornings, usually 5-7 days a week. If you are just starting out a good fitness regime, I would say a minimum of 3-5 days are needed to build up consistency. You can’t expect to stay in shape when you workout sporadically or you skip weeks of any form of physical activity. The same also goes with your daily diet. While it is okay to indulge and enjoy a good meal here and there, it is important to stay focused on eating healthier and higher quality foods on a regular basis.

Track Food and Physical Activity – While many people might not see the benefits of writing down what they eat and their physical activity for the day, I personally think it’s extremely important for staying focused and holding myself accountable. That is not to say that if I wasn’t writing this down that I’d skip going to the gym and just eat whatever I want but I do think I’m extra mindful of my actions when I know I’m tracking it everyday. It also is a helpful tool to track progress over time which is another reason why I recommend taking the time to record what you eat along with your workouts.

You Don’t Need to Be An Athlete to Have The Body of One

Depending on the sport, often athletes are not only admired for their abilities but also for being in great physical shape. In order to be skilled and play at their very best, it is required to spend many hours practicing their sport but also plenty of hours of physical training. This would explain why the majority of athletes have an attractive and often highly desired physique. Despite all this, keep in mind that you do NOT need to be an athlete to be in the best shape of your life. Anyone can put the time to physically train their bodies and implement the proper diet to maximize their results. People often complain that genetically they are too thin or too heavy to begin with so it is impossible to get in the shape that they want. On top of this, many people are just straight up unmotivated paired with a lack of willpower to commit the time and work needed to get the results. The good news is, these are all excuses and far from the reality. The bad news (for some) is that as I mentioned, hard work and discipline will be required to get in exceptional shape.

So where do you start? You cannot “kind of want” to be healthy and have a nice body. Your mind first determines the outcome by having the burning desire to achieve something. If your mind is set and firm that this is the goal, then from there, all you need to do is take action. By action, it does not need to be extreme but can be small daily actions that gradually increase over time. If you are completely new to adding fitness into your lifestyle in general, then I definitely recommend starting slow rather than adding too much which could burn you out to the point where you want to quit right away.

In this specific scenario, I cannot push enough the importance of tracking your progress with whatever system that works best for you. This can be done either digitally on your phone (or digital device of choice) or handwritten in a notebook. Tracking always holds you more accountable and keeps the mind focused on the target. Once you have your tracker, you are going to track down your action which includes recording the exercises you perform each day and I recommend keeping track of what you eat on a daily basis as well. Personally, I do both.

In terms of what types of exercise, always strive towards the activities you naturally enjoy. In addition, teach yourself new exercises by hiring a professional or looking up fitness resources online. As I recently mentioned, I actually have learned so much in the past few months just by watching short clips on Instagram by fitness professionals and enthusiasts. At the end of the day, you need to want to make the change and then actually take the action needed to make it happen. You will be amazed that as soon as you really put your mind to it, the rest of the work that is involved will actually happen quite naturally because of your mental focus. So what are you waiting for? 😉

Do You Put the “Work” in Workout? – 3 Ways to Maximize Your Results Over Time

I do not find it a coincidence that the word “WORK” is in workout.  For me, a good WORKout is where I am not only breaking a sweat but also pushing my limits.  Although I cannot go to a gym right now (due to strict Covid-19 restrictions in my area), I never picked up a gym membership to “take it easy.”  If that’s what I was looking to do, I could do that in the comfort of my own home or go to a spa to relax. I recognize working out is not for everyone and not always the easiest habit to pick up but the good news is, you do not need to belong to a gym to get moving. Faced with the pandemic, I adapted to working out from home in my living room with just a few weights on hand and continue my cardio workouts with either jogging or even Zoom workouts taught by a professional. My point is, nothing should hold you back from a good workout!

You may be asking yourself, “How do I push my limits?  How do I take my WORKouts to the next level?”  Everyone is at a different personal fitness level, so I cannot give you a direct answer, but at the very least, I can definitely motivate you and share some healthy tips.  For starters, you will absolutely NEED to make a CONSCIOUS choice to push your limits and this will require strong efforts on your part.

The first step is to really focus on what your personal fitness/health goals are.  If nothing comes to mind, then maybe take some time to think about them. I am a firm believer in goal setting in all aspects of life which means that health/fitness is no different.  You will need to set specific goals.  Going to the gym and losing weight are NOT concrete goals.  Everyone’s goals are very personal but things to think about include what your ideal weight might be or maybe how much time each day/week you want to incorporate a fitness regime.  This is where you need to ask yourself what you are ultimately looking to achieve and depending on what it is, it is a good idea to also attach a deadline (or else you may never reach it).

How can you push your limits? How badly do you want to attain your goals? Generally speaking, in order to maximize your results, remember that you do not ever want to get too comfortable or else you will hit a plateau. Here are some ways you can continue to push yourself once you have set some goals for yourself and have gotten into the routine of working out or about to for some people 😉 :

Switch Up Your Cardio There are so many cardiovascular exercises available. Anything where you are keeping your body moving and at an elevated heart rate. To name a few, there is running, swimming, dancing, playing a sport, rowing machine, Stair Master, etc. It is good to switch it up, again so that your body does not get too used to any particular movement and it is good to work out various parts of the body while burning a good amount of calories.

Vary the Settings on Cardio Machines: If you are utilizing a cardio machine such as a treadmill, you can manually change the speed and inclines which can give yourself an extra push. There is even a setting where the speeds/intervals can change every few minutes at random which is good as it always keeps your body guessing and changes up your heart rate versus keeping it at a manual setting where you are doing the same pace the entire time.

Increase the Weights When Weight Training:  In order to continue building strength, it is important to gradually increase the weights.  It is beneficial to do this every so often as the body usually adapts over time and it needs a new challenge.  If you can do over ten repetitions of a single lifting move with ease, then it might not be working the body to its full potential so that is a good indicator to up the weights.  When lifting weights, really try to concentrate on good form even if that means less repetitions.  Like most things in life, quality over quantity!

[A Final Note:  Often times, people ask me how I stay so motivated.  I look at working out like brushing my teeth or any other self care health habit. So for me, of course I want to take care of my health and body. I also aesthetically like being in shape. As a reminder, if you TRULY love yourself, you are naturally only going to want to do what’s best for you.]