Shutting It Off Is Key for a Healthy Life
Health, we all take it for granted until we lose it. Ask anyone who is sick right now. Our health is something we all know is important, yet we neglect it. I’m one of those people. I can be healthier, which is why I’m focusing more on my health this year.
When our vehicles wear out, we replace them. We toss a pair of old shoes when they lose their value and think nothing of it; however, we cannot replace our bodies. What we have is what we get until we take our last breath. I will turn 44 this year and I know my health will become of greater concern with each passing year. I don’t want to look back 20 years from now and wish I took better care of myself, which is why I’m dedicating the first few blogs this year on health, for I know it’s something we all must manage to lead long and fulfilled lives.
I mentioned in a previous post that I cut soda out of my life. It’s been over a month since I sipped my last carbonated, sugary drink. Honestly, I don’t miss it and I feel great! I thought it would be hard, but it truly wasn’t, because my long-term health is more important than my short-term satisfaction. I don’t know about you, but I plan to stick around for a very long time. I want to see my kids grow and enjoy my grand kids, which is why I’m not stopping at just cutting out soda.
The next step, for me, is to address my eating habits at night. I tend to snack and consume food up until my head hits the pillow. I’m stopping that habit now. I will no longer fill my belly with empty calories that sit unused in my body and then get stored into fat. There’s no reason for me to eat a bowl of cereal late at night or munch on crackers or pretzels a few minutes before I go to bed. It’s a habit that I allowed myself to slip into over the years, and I recognize the importance of eliminating it from my lifestyle.
Studies show that food consumption should cease about two hours before bed, which is why I decided to use 8:00 pm as my threshold. I will enjoy food up until that point and then begin to develop a new habit of only consuming water after 8:00 pm and allowing my food to properly digest. I’ve also read some studies that indicate that we sleep better if we don’t stuff ourselves before bed as well, which is a bonus.
I don’t beat myself up if life requires me to eat after 8:00 pm. I have a busy family and there are some nights that we don’t even sit down for dinner until 8:30 pm, but that’s not the point. The point is to not mindlessly stuff my mouth with food well into the night with no purpose or intent other than I like the taste of food and I’m bored.
So, what will I do if I’m truly hungry later in the night? The answer is protein shakes. Yes, there are times I experience a very physical day and burned more calories so that my body craves more food for energy later in the evening. In the past, I would just feed on snack foods filled with carbohydrates, like popcorn, chips, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Now, I plan to consume protein instead, why? Protein is burned immediately and not stored into fat, and it tends to be “filling” and a satisfying snack. The bottom line is that I plan to be smarter with my choices as I develop a new, healthy habit, this year.
How about you? What can you change in your life that will lead to better long-term health? It doesn’t have to be big or drastic, just something that will be better for you and protect your body so that it may serve you well for many years to come. Here’s to a healthier year, now go out make healthy choices!