Many of us, at some point, have felt like we could eat healthier and make healthier diet choices. Work, family and stress are all factors that can have a negative impact on our health and our eating habits and choices.
However, starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, but the benefits will last a lifetime. Read on to find out what changes you will experience by changing your diet, as well as how to change your diet today.
One of the first changes you will notice will be your energy levels. Processed food and drinks are often packed with sugar, giving you an energy spike. However, this spike will be temporary and will be followed by a crash, and you will be lethargic.
Healthy food will not give you that same energy high, but you will have a more sustained boost. These sustained energy levels will allow you to get far more done and feel more productive. You will also not end up feeling exhausted by mid-afternoon or early evening.
A poor diet can, and often does, lead to poor sleeping patterns. As mentioned before, foods high in carbs and sugars take time to process and give you energy. While this energy is great if you’re about to hit the gym for a couple of hours, it will keep you awake if you try to sleep.
Just like having sustained energy, healthier food will keep your body at a level that allows you to be active during the day, but you wind down as you get closer to bedtime.
Hair, Skin and Nails
Your hair, skin, and nails are three things you may not necessarily notice that start to degrade over time through a bad diet. Brittle nails, oily skin, and brittle hair can all be consequences of a bad diet that isn’t rich in vitamins and calcium.
Many of us have probably experienced skin outbreaks when we have gone through extended periods of eating junk food. Your skin is also one of the first things that will improve or worsen depending on your diet.
Ability to Fight Sickness
One massive bonus of eating healthier is your body’s ability to fight sickness. If you are unhealthy, you are more likely to get sick and stay sick for longer. There is very little nutritional benefit to junk food. Therefore your body is being equipped with the vitamins and minerals it needs to fight sickness when you eat healthily.
While healthy eating is certainly not a cure that can fix or prevent everything ranging from the flu to cancer, what it does do is give your body the best fighting chance. Once again, healthy eating isn’t bulletproof but simply a better option.
Weight gain is something many people struggle with at some point in their life. Stress, mental health problems, or simply not having the time to eat or exercise properly can all lead to weight gain.
While being super skinny and starving yourself is not a good health choice, losing a few pounds won’t do any harm and can have many long-term benefits. One major one being as you get older and your body starts to slow down, you can stay at and maintain a reasonably healthy weight.
Bone strength, especially in women, diminishes over time. As you get older, you become more prone to breaking bones during a fall that would only bruise someone who was younger. As said before, women are also more prone to weakening bones as they age.
A diet rich in calcium and minerals will give your bones the foundation they need to stay strong and healthy as you age. Breaking a bone, no matter how big or small, can often be life-threatening when you are older.
A healthy diet doesn’t just improve your physical well-being, but your mental well-being too. Again, it’s not a cure, and if you are struggling with your mental health, you should seek help from a professional, but healthy food just makes you feel better.
Elevating your blood sugar and having your body process it in a healthy way, releases feelings of happiness and calm. As opposed to the crash that has been mentioned previously, which makes you feel moody and almost sad in a way.
How to Change Your Diet
While these are only a handful of the benefits, actually changing your diet and being able to experience these can be difficult for many. Here are some tips that will help you change your diet and maintain the change as the months and years pass.
Going completely cold turkey and straight to healthy living can be easy for some people and almost impossible for others. A great first step is listing your kryptonite foods, whether that’s sugar, chocolate, carbs, whatever it may be.
It doesn’t matter what food or type of food is your weakness; there is always a healthier alternative. If you like candy, there’s fruit; if you want chocolate, there’s dark chocolate. The point is, you must find more nutritious alternatives that hit the craving you have.
You can build on this, creating a meal plan or seeking help from a dietician if need be. However, simply finding alternatives is one of the best ways to build healthy habits and to stop yourself from caving into your unhealthy cravings.
Maintenance is going to be your next challenge. Initially, you will be very consistent in your eating choices because you may already see improvements. You’re excited by the changes that are happening, but this excitement will diminish over time.
Maintaining your healthy choices is all about long-term commitment. Making an effort to build habits is the best way to keep your healthy diet. Once something is a habit, it is much harder to break and easier to stick to.
Far more goes into a healthy lifestyle than what has been mentioned, but these are the building blocks that everyone needs to start.