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Living Healthy Is Really Living

Healthy living. We see the term everywhere. But what does it really mean? Bean sprouts for breakfast? Grueling, pre-dawn jogs? Lettuce-leaf lunches? Zen Master training? Hardly.

Healthy living isn't about not eating the foods you love or pushing your body to unhealthy limits. It's all about finding a balance between the physical, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual elements in your life.

Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, along with plenty of water and a limited intake of alcohol and caffeine make a pretty good recipe for a balanced diet. Too much butter, fat or refined sugar can sent a healthy lifestyle into a tailspin.

How much exercise are you getting? Even a short walk has some physiological benefits. What about rest? These factors and others can directly affect your weight, mood, attitude and general sense of wellbeing — your"balance."

Try these tips to restore your body's balance:

Exercise: If you're not getting any, you're missing out. Physical activity — even the smallest amounts — can actually give you more energy and help you feel more alert. Exercise has also been proven to improve cardiovascular function and reduce your risk of certain health conditions. So get up and get moving!

Nutrition: According to the National Weight Control Registry, successful weight loss is based on eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet and doing high levels of activity. With the proper nutrition, your body will function more efficiently, resulting in more stamina and more energy for the things you want to do.

Stress: Stress is something that happens to everyone. That's life. But prolonged periods of mid- to high-level stress can have detrimental effects on your body, including reduced immune function, mental problems and weight gain. Be aware of your stressors and develop strategies for managing them.

Rest: Forty winks? Most people get twenty, if they're lucky. But a good night's sleep can make all the difference in how good you feel. Pick a bedtime that will allow you to wake up naturally, without an alarm. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed. Turn in at the same time every night. If possible, sneak a nap in on the weekends.

Attitude: No one expects you to walk around giddy and grinning all the time, but your emotional responses can affect your physiological function. Try to have a positive attitude in whatever you are doing — especially when it comes to exercise. Hang out with fun, positive people. Read motivational or inspirational literature. Re-read the tips above. Even small behavioral changes can produce big attitudinal improvements.

A healthy lifestyle is meant to give your mind and body the physical and mental nutrients to live your life to fullest. Even if you don't see overnight results from your weight loss program, know that over time, the results will appear, but more importantly, you will FEEL better - both physically AND emotionally.