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Though there seems to be little time for a well planned diet, health does not have to suffer. Simple changes can be easy and worthwhile. I have a good friend who looks at eating as a chore. He will often rationalize not eating or chose to eat light snacks for his total daily consumption. There are many reasons why he says this is right for him; sometimes he claims not to be hungry while others he admits not wanting to get fat. Whatever his reasons, the decisions my friend makes regarding personal nutrition could return some ill effects later in his life. In fact, according to a number of health studies, this practice though common is bad.

Often people use excuses to rationalize omitting a healthy diet. One of my friends most often used excuses, “There is really no time to eat, and even less time to eat something healthy…” is an argument shared by many who work, attend school and raise families. I have witnessed firsthand the ups and downs of following poor eating habits similar to my friend. Though I have not lost nor gained weight dramatically, other aspects of my well-being like my energy level and attention span were affected. When healthy eating was removed (or eating at all) I would have to spend more time on a project or task.

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My energy and retention level diminished to the point where I began making simple mistakes that a more alert person would have avoided. Later when I did eat, it was just to satisfy the hunger. I did not spend much time caring what I put in my body. Over time, I gained a little unwanted weight because my body was storing fat. After time, the body becomes afraid I would continue to starve myself, so to compensate, it began storing fat to use at critical energy and body fuel loss. Stubborn fat (or fat the body just wants to store) seems to me like the hardest to work off.

Point blank, methods choosing not to eat in a healthy manner because of the lack of time can cost even more time and energy in the long run. I would like to open the thought that once we figure out what healthy eating means personally then we can plan accordingly and see how the choice will better benefit and enhance our lifestyle! This is not meant to be a guide to how to eat healthy but rather look into options and suggestions to incorporate healthier eating practices in one’s life. I. What is health and how does proper eating affect us? It has been said many times and many different ways that good eating habits equal better health.

This can be translated many ways depending on which source the information comes from. For most, healthily means being slim and fit, while to others, it means being able to be active and enjoy long life. It is understandable how being slim and fit can affect the amount of activity one can achieve. That being true, it is also fact that healthy people who are not fit and trim can achieve long amounts of stamina or exert large lasting amounts of energy. While that argument is open to interpretation, some may argue that mental health is the greatest benefactor to a healthy diet.

No matter which side of the fence one may sit, it is true that eating healthy is an important part of life. Helpguide (2008), a website dedicated to nutrition and health suggest that, “By committing to eating better, you can reduce your risk of many chronic diseases – including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers – while increasing your energy and stamina. ” No matter which of the three ideas of healthiness one follows, any of them could be at higher risk if the chance for chronic diseases were increased because of the lack of nutritional health.

The reality of healthy eating does not simple stop at food. There are many websites and studies dedicated to healthy eating and nutritional health. Much of the information offered agrees that a healthy diet fits hand in-hand with a healthy physical activity. A report given by Harvard University (2008) reports, “Next to not smoking, getting regular physical activity is arguably the best thing you can do for your health… Plus, it helps keep weight in check, helps control stress, and gives a boost to mood. ”

So with such good advice why does a healthy diet and exercise elude so many? One thought could point to the myth that eating healthy is expensive and hard to stick with. This does not necessarily have to be true. Learning to eat healthy does not mean that one has to shop exclusively at organic grocery markets or frequent expensive gyms. Much can be accomplished by learning to eat the right types of food combinations and rely less on the quick easy meals that often pack less healthy ingredients. A major drawback is the lack of time and positive direction.

Many choose to ignore the healthy eating aspect and turn to quick remedies that promise weight loss and gain of energy with the use of a pill or dietary drink. The empty promises and supportive celebrity endorsements seem to take the guess work out of learning about proper eating practices. The friend I mentioned before commented, “Why would I stop eating my favorite cheep and ready when ordered Big Mac if I could remove the negative affects with the use of a pill? ” While this may be true, it left me wondering what else is the popular McDonald’s sandwich doing to our bodies that the magic diet pills are not accounting for?

Often not noticed are the remarks listed on the bottles that the drug is simply a dietary supplement, not a replacement for dietary responsibility. II. Lack of Time and Meal Management For a while finding time to eat seemed almost impossible; especially when the hours in the day seem more diminished due to work and school. “By developing your own plan for healthy eating, you’ll be able to expand your range of healthy choices to include a variety of foods, especially delicious vegetables, grains, and fruits that you may have previously ignored. Helpguide (2008) Remember the days of recess and lunch breaks that most of us growing up in Americas education system enjoyed? We were positioned in situations and time blocks that promoted healthy eating and fitness. Food for the most part was always coordinated and prepared by cafeteria staff while the main attraction, running out to the black top was a reward we received for finishing our meals. Even growing up, I was in a generation where my parents prepared the meals and then allowed me and my siblings to leave the table to play outside.

Times seem to have changed where the same may not be so true with todays on the go families. So what happened? The older we get it seems that time for healthy food and recess is little to none. The main reason for this; because the older we get the more responsibility we put on our shoulder, the sooner things need to get done and frankly, healthy eating is not as high an importance as paying the bills in most minds. Gone are the balanced meals including fruits and vegetables only to be replaced with the two pound, two dollar burger, super sized fried potatoes and jumbo sugar shake.

According to Helpguide (2008), “Generally, fast food meals are higher in calories, sodium and fat, and often lacking in important vitamins and minerals. And sit-down restaurants offer their own challenges, with large portions and overflowing breadbaskets. ” Often, people are not even aware the dangers of common unhealthy eating practices until a visit to the doctor’s office or worse, the body signals a problem through fatigue or unwarranted headaches. Sometimes those signals are life threatening responses like cardiac arrest.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel… Helpguide suggest that, “It’s possible to eat a fairly nutritious meal on the go…” Before we do that though, there needs to be a point where overcoming the myths, laziness and ignorance becomes reality. III. Overcoming hang ups There is an expression that says; to fail to plan is to plan to fail. Simply put, if you do not plan ahead you will not succeed; changing poor eating habits from bad to good work in a similar manner. Our lives often take the things we do daily and simplify them into normal task that we can almost do on autopilot. Take brushing your teeth or showering for example.

How many times do we really think about the action that is about to happen? Perhaps those tasks are triggered by what the body or surroundings tell us like smell or taste. Eating in a sense can be thought of in the same light. Poor eating often is triggered from the normal hunger or cravings that go off in our bodies without even thinking about it. Common responses are to response to those triggers in the quickest method possible. Combined with the quick knowledge of locations to acquire unhealthy yet easy to prepare meals and the body seems to almost go on autopilot toward unhealthy eating.

Two minute dollar tacos should do the trick right? Maybe for the hunger and satisfaction, but how about what will happen 2 hours later or maybe 2 days from the time of consumption? How will the body process the grease and other products used to quickly make those super quick, super cheep tacos? What is important to note is although those signs and senses are triggered, it becomes important to properly manage then with smart health choices. Why does someone use toothpaste instead of toilet cleaner? Primarily because they know that chemicals are generally not good for the body and can cause harmful effects.

The trick is to realize the good and bad that food has to offer; also, ways to maximize the benefits by reducing the negatives. Accomplishing this can be difficult but simpler if applied in a structured way that is easy for both the mind and body to follow. If we trained the body to think about the harm unhealthy foods could cause, perhaps the choice for two minute dollar tacos might not be as an appealing option as before. So how does one get over what we have been trained? The answer is to learn more about what we ignore.

Exposure to health information can help to open the door to realizing the good and bad of healthy and non-healthy eating. Recently highlighted pop singer Britney Spears was reported to have once commented, “How would you ever really know if no one in your whole life ever told you? ” While this statement fails to hold water in many arguments, it does have merit in the arena of knowing most about healthy eating. By researching and leaning more about foods and their affect we can help set the path of overcoming the hang-ups and obstacles blocking the truths about proper eating. III.

Scheduling Eating and Exercise With busy schedules and filled days, routines help fit the repetitive things in easily. Unfortunately, poor eating habits can become a routine as well. One could even think of it as an addiction in that it is hard to break and easy to relapse if not well disciplined or supported. Many times, especially among those who battle with weight loss, the same routine like habits are true. A person works out and attempts to get in shape, often making dramatic eating habit changes; however because the changes are sudden and often poorly supported, the chances for success is far and few.

So I have busy life and then made the challenge to learn more about healthy eating. How are we expected to fit all this in? It is not secret; training to eat well is an exercise in itself. One that at least for me was a painful chore because I was not truly open to giving up the ease and comfort I had learned over the years. Getting in the habit of good eating can take practice. Think of it this way, we have had many years to practice and train to achieve the gold medal at poor eating habits. Stopping and going cold turkey can be a hard, seemingly impossible task.

If we commit to learning more about healthy eating, I have found that the flexibility towards healthier choices becomes stronger. In a way it is much like working a muscle. The more we use it, the easier it becomes to use. One way of learning is reading nutritional facts about what we are eating. When I learned what I was eating, I found myself more critical at looking at it in a healthy or unhealthy light. After a while I found common ingredients like Monosodium Glutamate MSG that after further research stuck out as red flags in what to avoid.

By spending a little time reading the packages before, during or even after consumption helped flex my knowledge of what I was putting in my body. Here are a few modified tips for mixing healthy eating and exercise into a daily lifestyle. 1. Purposefully park your car a little further from the restaurants or grocery stores. It may not seem like much, but over weeks and months, these minutes of exercise add up. 2. Take a walk for 20 minutes of your lunch hour. 3. Walk to the lunch location instead of diving 4. Make it social.

Walk with a friend, your spouse, or your family in the morning or evening after lunch or dinner. 5. Keep an exercise and food log. It will help to make you more accountable. 6. Keep good snacks near IV. Last minute Snacking But what are good snacks? Like most office professionals, I keep a number of unhealthy snacks in my cubical hiding spots. Bad for you snacks are or at the least seem, much easier to store and attain. My coworker, who’s cubical is no more than 4 feet away, is known as the chocolate haven because of the never-ending refills of snickers, butter fingers and other candy bars.

In addition, most of the office meetings I get to attend offer the traditional donuts and coffee to entice the crowd. Vending machines are also a horrible source of snacks if healthy eating is a concern. They normally offer the smaller version of the junk food we see pushed in the big markets. Good snacks should not be difficult or scarce. I have found that by replacing hidden junk food rich in sugars, MSG and starches with snacks that are fresh, low in salt and sugars help curb my need to visit the candy bowl. In addition, reading more about what I put in my body has helped the decision process as well.

Honestly, understanding the difference that an apple or orange has on my body than the combination of sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milk fat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, butter, milk fat, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose, salt, egg whites and artificial flavors (ingredients of a Snickers candy bar) has. Maybe that does not sound incredibly bad, but when I think of eating two or three oranges, I might not want two or three times this ingredients processing through my body.

So what happens at the end of the day or week? Is it possible to fit a healthy eating lifestyle in ones busy daily life? Looking at just a few of the examples discussed, it should be easier to do. I hinted that eating healthy does not just stop at food and what we put in our bodies; but also includes what we do with our bodies to help that food work for, not against us. Exercise can be tough to start, but finding what works for you is important. Do not give into being lazy or quick to give up.

Doing so can lead to weakened will power used to help fight against those cravings and bad habits. Arming oneself with the knowledge about nutrition is important to help fight the cravings. Plus, with all the benefits choosing to eat healthy has to offer like mental and physical improvement, it might be an exceptional idea to explore this life changing experience. References Barston, Toscano and Arthur (2008). Healthy Eating: Tips for a Healthy Diet. HelpGuide. Retrieved April 20, 2008, from http://www. helpguide. rg/life/healthy_eating_diet. htm Harvard School of Public Health (2008). The Nutrition Source. Harvard School of Public Health Retrieved April 22, 2008, from http://www. hsph. harvard. edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/index. html Parnes, R. (2002). How Organic Food Works. HowStuffWorks. Retrieved April 20, 2008, from http://recipes. howstuffworks. com/organic-food. htm White, S. (2008) Daily Healthy Eating Plan. Love to know. Retrieved April 25, 2008, from http://diet. lovetoknow. com/wiki/Daily_Healthy_Eating_Plan

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