“Healthy lifestyle” is such a buzzword these days. It’s everywhere! So we stopped to ask, what does it actually mean? Is there a universal definition, a common understanding, of what’s considered a healthy lifestyle? Or does each family life a different healthy lifestyle?
We asked our house nutritionist, Lisa Lanzano, MS, RD, to tell us exactly what a healthy lifestyle is…
Big surprise! Lisa didn’t specifically talk about food at all. What’s up with that? Hello, she is a nutritionist!? But a smart one… She takes the holistic approach. So let’s back up and let Lisa define what living a healthy lifestyle means to her personally:
Food plays a role, but not the only role. The food is the part that fuels us physically. But we have to move our bodies, whatever this movement is defined as. Our body needs some degree of healthy movement, which is anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise, just getting the body used to being active.
It’s important to get adequate quality sleep. Some people get by on 6 hours if they are sleeping soundly. Others might get nine or 10 hours of sleep and still wake up not feeling refreshed, because something is negatively affecting their sleep quality. It could be health-related reasons, it could be anxiety, it could be poor sleeping habits, like erratic sleeping habits.
(Did you know… a recent study showed a strong correlation between kids’ sleeping patterns and childhood obesity. And another study showed that we consume about 300 calories more per day if you are sleep deprived!)
- Calm down
Stress management is a big part of my work with my clients. A lot of us don’t have the transitions from work to being at home and being present with themselves and their family. Learn how to manage that stress that tends to accumulate in our society and that a lot of people don’t know how to cope with, other than through eating or alcohol or drug use… or other pretty unhealthy coping mechanisms.
- Have balanced relationships
A happy balanced lifestyle also includes healthy, balanced relationships – with yourself, with your spouse, with your kids, with your friends and with your community.
- Believe in something greater than yourself
A spiritual belief is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle too. If you think about who we are as individuals, we are not just our skin, bones, muscles and hair. Yes, we are our physical body, and we need to eat to fuel our body, but we also are emotional, feeling beings as well. For those of us who belief that there is something greater than us, we also have to nurture ourselves on this other level.
- Be aware
Think about HOW you eat. Practice mindful eating together. Ask yourself, do I eat with intentional awareness or am I disconnected when I eat? Am I able to eat and be connected to other people or am I eating in secret? Am I eating foods that I love and feel good about? Foods that create memories?
Lisa, of course, couldn’t help herself to go on and eventually talked about what it means to eat healthy, after all… so stay tuned!