10 Reasons to Be Healthy

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Did you start the New Year with the best of intentions, swearing this is the year that you would finally get and stay healthy? Did you do your best for a week, ten days, and then finally give in for just one bite of dessert … that turned into eating the entire fridge? And did you promise yourself tomorrow you’d get back on track … only tomorrow hasn’t quite come?

Remember that this is not just a battle you are fighting. You are waging a war that will last the rest of your life, with your health on the line. Each time you get offered a dessert, walk down the chips aisle, pass the ice cream stand, you are being challenged. And sometimes, you are going to lose the battle. But that doesn't mean the war is over or lost. I always say to myself that today is the first day of the rest of my life. Keep fighting!

The older I got, and the happier and more fulfilled I became, I found it harder and harder to stay healthy and fit. I know this is because losing a few vanity pounds just wasn't important enough for me to fight for. In order for me to get healthy, I had to have a deeper, more meaningful reason. Here’s my ten reasons why I am committed to a healthy lifestyle.

1. Do it for the Kids - ever heard someone say “Oh, she’s naturally thin/healthy/energetic/etc, just look at her mom!” Well, I know there are a few lucky people out there who really are naturally “healthy” and can eat junk food without gaining weight or feeling yuck (we’ll get to whether or not they are truly lucky in a bit) but I believe it’s not just the genes that are passed down, but more importantly the lifestyle habits. And with mom sharing the same genes as you, there’s a good chance she has firsthand experience on what foods you should and should not eat to feel your best.

Funny things is, now we are the Moms. Figure your body out and eat healthy so you can pass down your good habits to your kids. Someday, you can smile when you hear someone say about your kids, “Oh, she’s naturally fit, just look at her Mom!”

2. You Control Your Family’s Diet - If you are a Mom like me (or Dad), not only are you setting an example for your family, you are controlling what is eaten by your family. If you are eating junk, your family is probably eating it too. I find my family would rather get used to eating my way than have to cook for themselves. You are the mom (or dad), you rule the kitchen. You have power over everything consumed by your children. With great power comes great responsibility - cook and eat good, and your family will too!

3. You are So Lucky! - Ever look at a skinny person eating a big mac and fries and feel a tiny bit jealous? You’ve got it all wrong, they should be jealous of you! You are blessed with a body that forces you to eat healthy. When I first realized that I could no longer eat many of the foods I loved, I felt cheated. But after a year of replacing sugar, grains, and starch with fruits and vegetables, I feel lucky that my body forces me to eat healthy. I’m already looking back and thinking I ate 300 apples instead of 300 candy bars just last year! And that’s just changing up one snack! Be grateful that you have a body that tells you to eat better - in 10, 20, 30 or more years, you’ll be even more thankful!

4. Make a Happier Home - Every heard the saying if Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy? I think it is true! As a stay at home mom who is at home all day, I set the mood for our home and family. Eating healthy and getting a little exercise every day has a tremendous effect on my mood an ability to manage stress. When I’m happy, everyone is happy. Be healthy for a happier home for your family!

5. Eat Healthy for Your Country - Yep, I think being healthy is patriotic! You already know that rising health care costs are a major concern for our country. But what if we all did our part and just got a little tiny bit healthier? If we all needed less prescription drugs, less doctor visits, if we all did what we could to prevent diabetes, cancer, obesity - to name a few - what would that do for our country? If kids and happiness aren’t enough, get healthy for our country!

6. Shed the Sweats - Just because you are a Mom doesn’t mean you still can’t look great! Now losing a few vanity pounds was never inspiring enough for me to stay on a diet, but it certainly is a nice silver lining to a healthy lifestyle. I found when I gained those twenty pounds, I hid out, refused to let anyone take pictures of me, and wore sweats. Does this sound familiar?

Now that I’m back down to my healthy weight, I’m excited about doing things and look forward to looking nice. Getting healthy gave me the confidence and pride in my appearance to shed the sweats and open up to the world.
And the Ram isn’t complaining either!

7. Potato Sacks are Cheap- I also find the better health I’m in - and I’m not just talking about pounds, let’s not forget pimples and dull hair and tired looking skin - the less money and time I have to spend on things like clothes and makeup. Seriously, a potato sack is cheaper than $300 designer jeans priced to flatter. Be the mom who people say “She could make a potato sack look good!”

Uh, did I really just tell you to shed the sweats and put a potato sack on?

8. Get More Done - As a mom myself, I know how busy things can be. It may seem at first like having to prepare all these healthy meals and exercise requires time that you don’t have. But look around at the healthy people in your life and tell me, if that’s really true, then why the heck do healthy people get so much done? Here’s the secret: being healthy will give you so much energy, you won’t be able to sit still!

But you have to invest time upfront to get to the point where you feel great. At first you might feel a little tired as your body adjusts and you might even go through withdrawals for sugar and starch. Just be patient with your body - I promise, when you get healthy and start feeling good, you will have more energy and you will get more done.

9. It’s Cheaper - The biggest myth about eating healthy is it’s more expensive. I’m going to argue that eating healthy is less expensive at both the grocery store today and in the long run. For example, a McDonald’s fast food dinner for four could cost on average $28. A roasted chicken with steamed broccoli to feed four will cost about $14 - half the cost! Water from a filter at home is cheaper than soda. Black coffee is cheaper than a latte. An apple is cheaper than a bag of Doritos. And when you say no to things like desert, well, free is always cheaper.

And that’s just the short term cost. Don’t get me started on the long term cost of being unhealthy: Things like having less energy, increased medical bills (Someone pays for medical insurance, even if you are covered, guess who that is? Yep, you.), lost work, and missed opportunities. Be cheap - eat healthy!

10. Be Healthy for You - But most importantly, be healthy for you. You’ve just got this one life to live, make it a rich, full, long one, full of energy and laughter. Be happy and healthy, with the energy to live out your dreams. Our lives are too short to waste on a headache or hiding out in sweats! Be healthy so you can be your best self and live your best life!

And PS - the better you feel, the more time you’ll have to build!

Why do you want to get healthy? Are you already healthy? How do you stay inspired?

Comments

I love this post and your wheat-free post. I am on that path and do feel better after just 11 days I've also lost nearly 6 pounds in that time. Thanks for the list of reasons I can go back to about why it's worth it!!

You're so right, one "bad" meal does not mean the war is lost! I like to tell my personal-training clients: If you were driving down the road and got a flat tire, you wouldn't get out and slash the other three, right? No, you'd fix the flat and keep driving. Being healthy is the same thing! Sometimes you fall off the wagon, but the trick is to do it without guilt, then get right back on. Healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet--you're allowed to have bad days. :)

Thanks Ana, and keep fighting!
-Sarah

Thank you Ana! As a registered dietitian on the reservation in several different settings--dialysis, diabetes prevention, school nutrition, and an overall passionate mom about good health, you hit the nail on the head! It is refreshing to hear it from someone else. In fact, I thought your post was so worthwhile, I'm going to use it in our diabetes prevention newsletter that goes to local participants, if you don't mind!
Great list!

So blessed to hear your health story! I know this isn't your usual content, which I love, but I have a request. Would you be willing to post about what a meal plan looks like in a week for your family? I'm really excited to hear more about how you feed your family. Even my husband was reading over my sholder.... but only after he found out it was your blog! The honesty you bring to this blod is refreshing. I'm always let feeling like I can do it rather than feeling less than because I don't have the 'perfect' life!

Hi Jessica! Thank you! Someone told me hey Ana why would you write about your challenges? Now you just seem so human like the rest of us. Well, I'm in it not to win it, but to make a difference and help people. Glad our less than perfect lives are worth reading about for you!

I'd be happy to post our meals and share what works for our family! Thanks for the suggestion!

Ana

Thank you Ana! As a registered dietitian on the reservation in several different settings--dialysis, diabetes prevention, school nutrition, and an overall passionate mom about good health, you hit the nail on the head! It is refreshing to hear it from someone else. In fact, I thought your post was so worthwhile, I'm going to use it in our diabetes prevention newsletter that goes to local participants, if you don't mind!
Great list!

Hi Christa! I'd be honored for you to share! As a mom, being able to squeeze into skinny jeans just is not enough motivation, is it? But we will do anything to make our kids lives the best, and I am so looking forward to my daughter never having to go through her own health-self-discovery! I'll trade junk food for life for that! Thanks for the encouragement! Ana

Thank you Ana! As a registered dietitian on the reservation in several different settings--dialysis, diabetes prevention, school nutrition, and an overall passionate mom about good health, you hit the nail on the head! It is refreshing to hear it from someone else. In fact, I thought your post was so worthwhile, I'm going to use it in our diabetes prevention newsletter that goes to local participants, if you don't mind!
Great list!

Thank you Ana! As a registered dietitian on the reservation in several different settings--dialysis, diabetes prevention, school nutrition, and an overall passionate mom about good health, you hit the nail on the head! It is refreshing to hear it from someone else. In fact, I thought your post was so worthwhile, I'm going to use it in our diabetes prevention newsletter that goes to local participants, if you don't mind!
Great list!

Thank you Ana! As a registered dietitian on the reservation in several different settings--dialysis, diabetes prevention, school nutrition, and an overall passionate mom about good health, you hit the nail on the head! It is refreshing to hear it from someone else. In fact, I thought your post was so worthwhile, I'm going to use it in our diabetes prevention newsletter that goes to local participants, if you don't mind!
Great list!

Another fantastic health post! And you're SO right about potato sacks. When I'm fit, I can wear anything off of the rack and look cute, but while I'm holding onto a few extra pounds, I find it way more expensive to hide. Only designer jeans will lift those bits to where they could be by skipping dessert. Double savings!

I am finding myself more motivated than ever to get healthy. Losing weight has never been a big motivator, but having energy to get stuff done sure is! I have never been good at time management, but half of the problem is that I'm too tired to get anything done!

I can only be a better mom and wife if my body and mind are healthy. I'd love to be the best version of myself rather than just existing.

I agree with you're idea about eating healthy for your country. How many diseases are at least partially self-inflicted? (Think hypertension, diabetes, heart disease.) If *everyone* would make even just one healthy change, we could move mountains!

We've been trying to eat healthily for the past year and now buy most fruits, veggies, and dairy as organic. I rarely have sweets anymore, trying to work on my husband giving up his ice cream. This year I would like to do two things to help my family become healthier: buy meats that are either free-range, grass-fed, or organic only, and plant a small garden this spring.

After I read your wheat-free post, I decided to try going gluten-free (along with my 1.5 year old son). We've been gluten free for 9 days now and we are feeling a positive change so far. The rashes we had on our skin (which we thought were from eczema or dry winter air) have mostly cleared up. I've had more energy this past week than I've had in a while. My body is still going through the initial gluten free phase and I think I'm having some withdrawal symptoms, but I hope to keep going for the full 30 days and beyond.

I'm having a hard time making sure my 1year old son gets enough to eat because he doesn't like vegetables unless we hide them in soups or sauces, doesn't really like meat (chicken, beef, or fish) yet, and is allergic to peanuts so his allergist said to stay away from all nuts and perhaps coconut as well. I don't know what to do, because all the gluten-free bread recipes are made with almond or coconut flour, and he can't have that. He loves pancakes and blueberry banana bread, but I can't make these for him with wheat flour anymore. Any ideas?

Since you and your child are not celiacs, you can probably tolerate ground oats as a flour substitute. You can grind them yourself in a blender. I've made some banana oat flour muffins that are really good. Search oat flour recipes and you should get some hits that will help. I know that celiacs are cautioned about using oats because of cross contamination with wheat, but others may be okay to eat them. If you ever try grain-free, oats obviously couldn't be used :)

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I'm always tweaking my diet to try to attain "healthy" and then fighting to keep at it in a world of McD's and Starbucks! This year I'd like to focus on exercise. After throwing out my back last year, I found myself suddenly interested in working out NOT to lose weight, but in order to be in enough shape to be physically active! I once read about a person who made up a notebook with enough graphs to document 300 workouts to see how long it would take them. I thought it was an interesting challenge and made my own. It is sometimes motivating to see the progress--and sometimes it is a wake up call (hello? I only exercised 5 times the entire year of 2011???!!!). I'm determined to take it serious this year and no matter how many times my schedule gets knocked around, exercise will be a priority. I need my back in order to build!! I also find it easier to eat well when I've sweated a little.

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Not many people realize just how important it is to take care of your health, having a healthy diet and a few hours of sweating at the gym might be the key to it. Before getting pregnant I use to do a lot of sport, especially aerobics and I'm still doing it today, call it a fitness fad, but it's a good way to get rid of stress and to stop thinking about housework.

If you want to stay fit and healthy, you must eat nutritious food, drink plenty of liquid, follow a routine of physical exercises, and sleep well for at least eight hours a day. It will help you to bring a glow on your face and luster to your hairs.
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Well if you want to make body healthy so eat potato's, chicken, etc... When I'm fit, I can use anything off of the holder and look lovely, but while I'm having onto a few excess weight i discover it, way more costly to cover up.
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Thank you for posting your article. It was really helpful. Health is very important to us. We cannot really do anything especially those things that we like to do if we are not really healthy.

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Very interesting and helpful read, Ana. Staying healthy is very important to achieving your personal goals in life. Thank you for sharing this with us. Keep it coming.

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