What exactly is a healthy lifestyle?
It seems experts are constantly telling us what we should eat, how much to exercise, bad habits to cut back on, how much sunlight to get, what vitamins to take, and on and on until we feel it's just impossible to live up to those lofty standards. We decide that it doesn't really matter how we lead our lives, and cite examples like our great-uncle who smoked like a chimney and ate nothing but bacon but was still hitting the ski slopes at the ripe old age of 98.
Despite the occasional blaring exception, however, we can't deny the harsh truth: the lifestyle we choose to lead has a huge impact not only on our physical health, but also on our mental well-being and overall sense of happiness.
We CAN change nasty habits, and when we finally find the courage to make those difficult changes, we feel so much better. We quit smoking and breathe more easily and start jogging again; we cut the greasy foods out of our diets and we're less sluggish; we get more shut-eye and feel on the ball at work. In the end, the changes that seemed so painful and nearly impossible become such a major part of our lives that we can't imagine how we could have lived the old way. We never regret those healthy transformations.
So how do you get off on the right foot and make the decisions that can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle? First, educate yourself; find out what your body needs to operate smoothly. The next step is to evaluate how your body is doing. Finally, the most challenging but also most satisfying part: you must make real plans to incorporate any necessary changes. As Margaret Fuller once said, "A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body."