So, before we dive in to the meaty topics - what to make for dinner tonight, for example, let's find out just how healthy you are. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (and possibly follow-up with your doctor about) before starting any sort of health regimen.
1. Have you or do you currently smoke or live with someone who smokes?
2. Have you lost or gained weight in the past 6 months for no apparent reason?
3. Do you miss bowel movements some days?
4. Has the smell of your breath changed recently?
5. Have you fainted or come close to fainting recently?
6. Do you have a persistent dull headache?
7. Have you lost motivation, have low energy or find yourself with a 'foggy' brain?
8. Do you exercise less than 90 minutes a week?
9. Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
10. Do you order take out or eat out more than 4x a week?
11. Do you consume fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day?
If you answered yes to any of the aforementioned questions, you are not as healthy as you could be. Don't start freaking out! Most of us are not as healthy as we could be. For those of you overachievers, don't get cocky, just because you answered negatively to all of the questions doesn't mean you're as healthy as you could be either. But that's ok. That's why you're here. Your goal should be to answer as many of these questions as possible with a resounding NO.
Ask yourself what you struggle with most. Perhaps it's addressed on this list, but maybe it isn't. Make a note of your limitations and weaknesses. Now, write down affirmative statements that address these issues and encourage you to be healthier. Be specific. For example, if you find yourself struggling with vegetable consumption, your affirmative goal statement would be something like, "this month I will consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day". Other statements might include, "I will only eat out one time this week" or "by September 23rd I will be 5lbs. lighter", etc. Use an achievable timeline, take small steps and before you know it you'll be feeling fab and looking leaner.
Psychology Today asserts that people who set goals are not only happier, but achieve more than those who don't. Goals provide focus and direction. For those of you science dorks like myself, there's actually a pretty cool process behind achieving a goal: "Achieving a goal you've set produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure. Reciprocally, dopamine activates neural circuitry that makes you eager to pursue new challenges." So grab a pen and paper or whip out your iPhone notepad and SET SOME GOALS!
How healthy are you? How healthy do you want to be?
Eat well. Live well. Be well.