Getting healthy takes a lot of work--and remaining healthy takes just as much. Don't think that just because you finally lost all of that weight and improved your other stats, like blood pressure and lipid profile, that you can suddenly revert back to the habits that wound you up in the situation where you needed to get healthy to begin with.
People look at me and automatically assume that it doesn't take any work for me to stay slim. But this isn't the case at all. It does take a lot of work for me to remain fit, as it does with any person who is fit. We don't magically wake up with these bodies. We also don't spend insane amounts of money on pink drinks and other "health" products to achieve our healthy selves. I still have my daily dose of ice cream while ensuring I don't gain any fat as a result.
We sweat. We eat well. We sleep well. And we take time for ourselves to best minimize the stresses in our lives.
There are so many factors that can contribute to one gaining weight, such as stress and poor quality of sleep, that don't all have to do with food. Even so, much of what you do eat does factor into your personal health. You should opt for whole, nutritious foods that consist of 45-65% carbs, 10-35% of protein, and 20-35% of fat, depending on your level of activity. The more active you are, the more macronutrients you need. However, you don't have to be crazy with counting your macros. Just eat whole, nutritious foods, and doing this will work out the macros for you.
A massive problem nowadays, however, is that people are looking for quick fixes. From Plexus to ItWorks!, there is no end to how much money people are willing to spend so they can toss a pink drink down their throats and not actually have to work to get healthy. If these products do happen to work, it's probably because the people who buy these products naturally begin to adopt a healthier lifestyle--but you don't need to spend loads of cash to do so, and these products demand a sizable fortune. If your health also happens to approve while you're using these products, it's more than likely a result of weight loss, which, again, you don't need to achieve by breaking your bank on MLM schemes.
So what do you need to do in order to get healthy?
The solution is so simple that it's ludicrous: diet and exercise. Your journey to getting healthy should put an equal emphasis on both. There are a variety of percentages out there that contest the importance of both, ranging anywhere from 70% diet to 30% exercise or even 90% diet to 10% exercise. However, I believe in it being 100% diet and 100% exercise. You can eat healthy all day long, but being sedentary isn't going to help with your cardiovascular and muscular health. Being sedentary can be just as bad as eating poorly. By putting 100% effort into both, you maximize your chances of being the healthiest you can be.
For myself personally, I put a huge emphasis on resistance training. I do resistance training about 5x a week, LISS (low-intensity steady state) about 1-2x per week, and HITT (high-intensity interval training) once a week. I have one rest day. If I can squeeze in ballet, I replace HITT with a dance class. If you're just starting out, aim to incorporate resistance training into your routine about 2-3x per week. Cardio should be about 2-3x per week as well at a moderate intensity. Ultimately, starting out, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. You can break it up into any increments you can handle, from 5 minutes to 30 minutes, so long as you accumulate at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly. I would also argue that once you become fitter, aim to put a huge emphasis on resistance training--but don't neglect cardio.
As for diet, I primarily eat lots of fruits and veggies, getting in most of my protein in the morning and consuming some form of protein after an intense resistance training workout. I try to limit the amount of ultra-processed foods that I eat. I also try to limit myself to one sweet a day, enough to take care of whatever cravings I have.
Strive to eliminate most processed foods from you diet. Incorporate more fruits and veggies, get most of your protein in in the morning, avoid foods with lots of added sugars, keep hydrated throughout the day, and don't be swayed by terms like 'all natural' or 'fat-free.'
I can promise you that health doesn't come in the form of pricey supplements, cleanse fads, and wraps. There are never quick fixes to building up your healthy self. It takes hard work, but the effects are far more long-term than the short-term results typically gained from most diet fads.
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
I help people perform without pain.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
All images are either my own, from Canva, or Creative Commons