Several people approach me for advice on eating healthy and staying fit. And I have helped quite a few and even trained them at the gym so they could become healthy and fit. But I never succeeded in keeping them healthy or fit. Because it is much harder to change a person's mindset than changing habits and without a mindset change the new habits won't stick and they fall back to old habits. When it comes to health and fitness, it is a like an impossible ideal. It is as difficult, if not more, to continue to stay healthy than achieving it. But since so many people are asking about some health tips, I thought I will write one with my experiences.
Disclaimer: I am neither a nutritionist or a fitness adviser. I don't have any certification. Take all my advice with a pinch of salt. I have been into health and fitness since 2008 and that is probably my only credibility. I am not liable for any health issues that might arise following my advice. Risk is all yours.
Healthy vs Fit
Before going too far ahead, let me clarify that healthy does not mean fit. Health and fitness are two different things and while one can be healthy they may not be fit and likewise being fit does not mean healthy, but they are closely related.
Fit people have good physical abilities like being able to perform pull-ups, push-ups etc in good number. They generally have good physical appearance and may sport abs while out in the beach :). Fitness is almost impossible to achieve without proper exercise. So you may think of fitness as a subset of health, and yet there are some fit people who have bad nutritional habits and so they may not be healthy. They burn off the calories with exercise and look lean, but their arteries could be clogging. So don't just go by appearance.
On the other hand, we have healthy people who may not have the best of appearance, but they have good health markers like low cholesterol, good blood pressure, etc. They have a good immune system and don't feel lazy or tired or sleepy through out the day. Health is achieved mainly through nutrition, good eating habits and some exercise. So there are healthy people who cannot even do a single body weight pull-up.
Very few people are both fit and healthy. Most people fall in the wide spectrum of varying levels of fitness and health. Find out where you are. If you are both unhealthy and not fit, then that is a cause for concern. I consider myself more fit than healthy. I have good health markers, but not the best immune system and I sometimes feel tired after moderate amount of exercise. I actually have over active immune system and as a result suffer from allergies.
I won't talk about fitness, because I think having good health is more important than being fit, and as a result won't suggest any exercises. And health starts with nutrition. You must have heard people saying that 70% (or some other such high percentage) of health is related to what you put in your mouth and 30% is related to exercise. I completely agree. You can become healthy and lean with very little exercise but at the expense of a lot of healthy eating habits. And your habits start from your conscious choices. Unless your thoughts are clear and strong, you will not make progress.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words;
Watch your words, they become your actions;
Watch your actions, they become your habits;
Watch your habits, they become your character;
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
How do you get started? The simple truth about healthy food is that it does not taste good. So if you like the taste of something, then it is probably not healthy ;). It is not always the case, but most times that is the truth. We enjoy fried food and sugary sweets more than anything. And we typically eat a lot of it leading to excess calories and obesity. Even the healthiest of foods, in excess can turn out to be bad. Always eat in moderation. So I covered two things here. Eat nutritional, albeit not so tasty food in moderation. In my upcoming blog posts, I will go into more detail about what you should eat and how much and what to avoid. Stay tuned.