healthy family

How to Be a Healthy Family

Have you woken up and glanced in the mirror only to notice you’ve packed on some extra pounds? You may convince yourself it’s not that bad. Then you get a Facebook notification. Your friend from college has tagged you in a throwback picture. It’s noticeable that you were in amazing shape. You look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What happened?”

Now it’s time for the moment of truth—the scale. You step on and see the numbers roll up and realize you’ve gained significant weight in the last six months. You have a decision. You can continue to convince yourself it’s not that bad as you hit the McDonald’s drive-thru on your way to work or you can make a change; you can lay off the fast food, eat healthy, and exercise. A healthy family starts with you. If you want to make a change, here are some practical ways.

Good Nutrition

Balanced Diet

Fad diets may promote the neglect of specific food groups, but the healthiest way to feed your body is a well-balanced diet. Your body needs the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and even fats to function properly.

Fruits and Vegetables
Sneak them into your meals to try and get four to five servings of each per day. Put sliced fruit on your cereal or oatmeal and add veggies to your spaghetti sauce.

No Skipping Meals
Skipping meals is never a good idea. Your body best metabolizes your food by getting a steady amount throughout the day. Consider eating five smaller meals instead of two or three large ones.

Water is essential for transporting nutrients in your body. It aids in digestion and even helps to keep your skin healthy. If you have special health conditions, you may want to talk with your doctor about how much water to drink daily. Otherwise, the recommended amount is at least six to eight eight-ounce glasses per day.

Good Exercise

Besides keeping your heart and body healthy, it lowers stress, helps increase energy levels, and ensures better sleep.

Talk with your doctor if you don’t already have an established routine. Certain health conditions may limit the amount and level of strenuous activity you can handle. Don’t expect to run a marathon if you’re just starting out. Gradually build up the amount of aerobic activity and amount of weights (or other resistance tools) that you use each week rather than starting at advanced levels. Try to build up to a half hour of aerobic activity at least four days a week.

Overworking your body will actually work against you. If you are weight training, give your muscles a day of rest or alternate what muscle groups you use each day (i.e., lower body on Monday and Wednesday and upper body on Tuesday and Thursday).

Consider adding basic stretching exercises to your workout routine. Good flexibility will help prevent backaches and sports injuries. It will also help you keep good posture.

Good Sense

Annual Checkup
Be sure to have an annual visit with your doctor. Don’t forget any recommended screenings and vaccinations for your age group and your family.

Dental Health
Beyond what you do at home with brushing and flossing, be sure to schedule regular cleanings with your dentist.

Studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to poor metabolism, concentration problems, and increased stress.

Spiritual Health
Numerous studies have shown that people who attend regular church services and pray are less likely to have stress-related illnesses.

Sound off: What is your biggest challenge to having a healthy family?

Primary sources for this article include WebMD and Aetna’s Intelihealth.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What does it mean to be healthy?”