There are four immediate benefits of a healthy diet; and, surprisingly, none of them have anything to do with physical health or losing weight. Yes, your physical health and losing unneeded pounds is a GREAT reason to change your diet, and a person who is overweight is definitely going to benefit physically from changing to a healthy diet, but that is something that takes time to realize the results – sometimes several months or even longer.
If you are struggling with being overweight, and especially if you are clinically obese – even if you have not had a doctor tell you yet that you need to lose weight for your health – here are four immediate benefits of a healthy diet that you will benefit from aside from just the physical change in your appearance if you choose to commit to changing your diet. If you are not obese, share this article with anyone you know that is living with obesity.
The four immediate benefits of a healthy diet:
1) Overcoming unhealthy emotions. Most food choices are motivated by feelings and habits, and not hunger. Anger, resentment, unforgiveness, envy, lack of purpose of personal vision for your life, anxiety, boredom, rejection, and personal insecurities most often drive the impulses to eat. These impulses typically are like a flash fire when they come. When you feel them coming on, discipline yourself to take the time (five or ten minutes) to step back from your initial impulse to eat and determine what is at the root of your impulse. While you are doing this, consider alternatives to heading for the kitchen, pantry or nearest drive through to get something to satisfy your ‘craving’ – maybe like drinking a full glass of water like you were chugging a beer or taking a bottle of water with you and going on a short 20 minute walk (about the time if would have taken you to polish off that bad of potato chips or make your Mac and cheese).
If you can take this small first step in avoiding immediate response to your urge to eat, you will do something else other just avoiding eating. You will have embarked on developing a new habit in your life. This will be a HUGE first step. Being that we are creatures of habit, it will not take long for you to develop another habit, and then another, and another to replace grabbing the first bag of potato chips or bowl of Mac and cheese that you see, and sitting down to polish it all off in a matter of 15 or 20 minutes.
If you are convinced that you are really hungry in those times of internal (or external) emotional conflict, take the time to prepare something healthy for you over that which is ‘convenient and fast’. When you begin to learn and apply healthier eating habits, you will find that as you are preparing and eating the right foods, you will have the time to consider more healthier ways to calm and/or bring healing to your emotions. Healthy emotions, means a healthier you – all around.
2) Recharging your energy pack. For most individuals who are struggling with obesity, they have lower energy levels, and tend to lean towards NON-activity instead of pursuing physical activity. Part of this is because of a suppressed cardiovascular system, and part of it is psychological. BOTH can be addressed through that of taking some baby steps towards increasing your daily physical activity. Listen. There are millions of people who get out of breath just walking up a flight of stairs, or even making their bed in the morning. It’s OK if you are one of them.
The good news is that you are only 20 minutes away from starting a whole new life of mindful motion moments. Mindful motion moments are those moments where instead of doing a bicep curl to lift a Coke and hand full of potato chips to you mouth, you get up and take a short walk around the block or do one set of as many push-ups as you can do (even if you have to do them on your knees and can only do three). The goal here is not to go extreme in exercise, but to just make a small step in the direction of burning energy. Anything that burns energy at a higher rate than sitting or playing video games is good!
When you begin to replace the docile activities you do like that of watching TV or sitting at your computer for hours upon hours in hopes of connecting with some long lost friend on Facebook, with energy burning activities of any kind, you begin to change things on a molecular level in your body. When you exercise, your metabolism begins to increase, and calories begin to be burned at a higher rate. When you exercise, stored up physical energy that is a result of stored up emotional stress begins to be used. As this stored up energy in the form of fats begins to be used, your body releases hormones and chemicals that both balance your physical body chemistry and your mental/emotional body chemistry. In short, you are making natural drugs in your body that can literally heal you.
The more energy burning activities you do, the more of these ‘good drugs’ you body makes. Another byproduct of physical activity is that you build muscle. The more muscle you build, the more your metabolism increases, and as this happens, your body burns more calories even while you are at rest – up to 1,000 calories per day for every ten pounds of muscle you add. In the midst of all of this going on, your energy levels begin to increase, and you start feeling like a different person from the inside out – physically as well as emotionally.
Also, as the laws of physics so readily attest to, an object in motion as a greater tendency to remain in motion than an object that is not in motion. If all you do is to call up a friend and take a 30 minute walk at the end of each day (after an early dinner ideally), you will begin to love how you start to feel. You will begin to love your ‘diet’ of healthy physical and mental choices.
3) You become an inspiration to others. Do you remember that guy in the subway commercials? I can’t remember his name, but I do remember the inspiration I had when I saw this guy who had lost some ridiculous amount of weight eating one of Subway’s health subs (not sure which one) each day. Anyway, he dropped something like a few hundred pounds, and Subway was so impressed by the story that they hired him to do commercials for them. Remember that guy? My point is that as you begin to make healthy emotional and mental choices in your day to day life, you will begin to see some major differences in your physical appearance and mental mindset. AND, it will not go unnoticed by those in and around your life. You will become an inspiration to friends and family as your life and body change right before their eyes.
4) YOU WILL LOVE THE WAY YOU FEEL. Remember those little walks you started taking a while ago, and that one single set up as many push-ups as you could do each time you felt that emotional urge to dig into the frig in search for your next food fix? Well…. those three push-ups that you were barely able to do, have turned into 50 or 60 now. Those walks you have been taking with God or an acquaintance have turned into one of your daily high points, and in the process you have build a great friendship with someone. You have been able to work through some of the emotional baggage that you ave been carrying around for years now, and feel like you can finally kick it all out the door of your life once and for all. Yes, life is good.
These four immediate benefits from a healthy diet ? Consider the possibilities of fitting in to that bathing suit you used to wear (or maybe for some that you have never been able to wear); or being physically able to learn to surf, go hiking for a weekend, or playing a sport that you have wanted to, but could never do it because you were too overweight and out of shape. When you are finally willing to make even the smallest commitment to turn away from the unhealthy habits you have held on to that have caused you to get into the physical and emotional condition you are now in, you will forever find positive change in your life that will add years to your life and joy to everyday living.