Take a moment, assess your lifestyle and its impact on your food, fitness and fun time. It’s the best way to improve your health for ‘future you’!
The next decade is almost upon us - yes, 2020 is only a few months away! - let that sink in a bit. 😲 Time waits for no man or woman. Times are changing, the world is more global and technology seems to have taken over our lives. But one thing still remains: the importance of our good health!
In fact, our health is even more important now that we’re sitting and staring at screens for more hours in the day. Sometimes we even eat a meal without looking at our plate because that Youtube video needs our utmost attention. Or Netflix has us binging on a new series so hard, that we go through an entire tub of ice cream before the first episodes credits have rolled.
The first step is: Don’t feel guilty! Let it go, this is the start of letting go of sneaky habits that have crept into our lives. We’re human, this happens to the best of us! But, when it starts happening more often than not, it could lead to negative effects. By negative effects we mean the serious stuff like chronic disease. 😷😩
Sorry to get serious, but your health is a serious matter, and should be considered with the utmost importance because you have just one life, and we want you to live it to the fullest, starting now! 🙌
Start by considering your lifestyle...
This ‘lifestyle’ word is thrown around a lot from “Lifestyle Magazine” to “Lifestyles of the rich and famous”. But what does ‘lifestyle’ actually mean?
What is lifestyle?
Simplicable defines Lifestyle as... “a way of life established by a society, culture, group or individual. This includes patterns of behavior, interaction, consumption, work, activities and interests that describe how a person spends their time.”
So, lifestyle involves everything you choose to include in your day, from what you eat to what you interact with. Interaction can be your family, a group of people, even a book or your tv screen. The list of what lifestyle includes is long and tedious and extremely hard to monitor all in one go. So we advise that the first step to identifying your lifestyle ‘type’ is Awareness!
What is awareness?
Basically, awareness is being in the present moment, right now, right here. It’s acknowledging your present situation. Acknowledging where you are, what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, who’s around you, even the small details like how your body is currently positioned. It can even mean acknowledging your eyes as they scan these words.
Awareness is also going into the next moment with that same consciousness of acknowledging your place amidst your environment and the choices you make from moment to moment.
Ok, that sounds taxing, right?. 🙆 How can anyone be so aware of every moment of every day, without being completely exhausted by the end of it?
At first it will seem like a struggle, but like everything you first attempt, it gets better with time and practice. So we advise, start small. Being aware of your choices, is the first step to finding out if your lifestyle choices are helping or hindering your health. It’s basically: paying attention! 👀
What are you choosing to eat? What are you choosing to buy? Is your fridge stocked with desserts or veggies for salad? Do your cupboards have shelves of chips and chocolate? When you’re out, what do you decide to buy as a snack or order as a meal? Is it burgers and chips or a chicken salad with avo? When you’re thirsty at lunch do you buy a bottle of water or a can of coke? Do you wake up early to get a run in or prefer extra hours with your pillow on the weekend?
What are your lifestyle choices? Asking and answering these questions can help you understand if your lifestyle is putting you at risk of chronic disease.
What is chronic disease?
According to MedicineNet, a chronic disease is defined as: “A disease that persists for a long time. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear…”
The good news, is that there are simple lifestyle changes we can all make to decrease our risk of developing heart disease and other lifestyle related illnesses such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
What are lifestyle related diseases?
Various dietary and lifestyle factors are precursors for most chronic diseases. Being obese, for example, has been found to significantly increase your risk. Carrying certain variations of a gene will also contribute to your chronic disease risk. Chronic diseases related to our lifestyle choices often can sneak up on us, seemingly with no warning.
Some of us are more likely to develop these illnesses than others. Your family history, food choices, exercise frequency, entertainment choices, quality of sleep, weight fluctuations and even your genetics can all influence your health. The good news is, chronic diseases are generally preventable.
By making the correct lifestyle and dietary changes as early as possible in your life, you can substantially lower your risk of developing chronic conditions.
How does lifestyle choice put you at risk of chronic disease?
The most common chronic diseases are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and cancers. Understanding these diseases and how they happen will help you reduce your risk and prevent their occurrence.
These lifestyle related diseases often exist together and can increase your chances of
developing another chronic illness. For example, if you already have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are significantly increased, and vice versa. It’s a dangerous domino effect, we want to help you avoid! 💪
Early detection of these diseases is key. Identifying your environmental risks, and changing these risk factors can alter your chronic disease risk in a predictable way. This is the combination you need to harness the “prevention is better than cure” idea.
Chronic diseases affect both men and women equally. Spotting the following common lifestyle related risk would be the first step towards prevention:
- unhealthy diet 🍔
- physical inactivity 🛋
- tobacco use 🚬
- Weight imbalance ⚖
So, for example, if you smoke, eat whatever you want whenever you want and spend a lot of time physically inactive, like on your couch in front of the tv scoffing down pizza and soda; this is your moment to acknowledge. Make this where your motion in the ocean of poor quality choices crashes to the shore. Let it stop here, before it causes waves of negative effects that leads to chronic disease. 🌊
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) if we eliminate the major risk factors for chronic disease we could prevent 80% of heart disease and type 2 diabetes!😮
This is a massive percentage potential, right? Preventing 80% of heart disease and type 2 diabetes is a major achievement, and it’s possible! How? It all starts with us, and our choices.
Since these conditions usually co-exists, managing your health for one ailment, will assist in alleviating another. For instance if you cut down on sugar and are more selective with your fat choices you can improve your weight management and reduce inflammation, both of which are needed to prevent type two diabetes, and heart disease.
Limiting your salt intake reduces your risk for high blood pressure, this means your heart disease risk is lowered too. Vitamin D, exercise and omega-3 fats, might seem like an unusual combination, but together it will aid in your heart disease and osteoporosis prevention.
Picking and choosing what you feel like following will hinder your journey, but gradually making these lifestyle changes, will help you in the long run.
Health, genetics and lifestyle
The amount of fruit and veg you would need to eat on a day-to-day basis, for example, can be guided by your genetics. Everyone should, therefore, manage their diet and lifestyle differently.
For a personalised look at your dietary requirements, consider taking a genetic test to see what your body is predisposed to. With Health Fit, you’ll find out vital information like your optimal diet type, carbohydrates & fat response, antioxidant and omega-3 need, as well as lactose tolerance and coeliac predisposition, among other important insights.