This phrase is one of the most used, and yet most ignored on the planet. In most advertising for snacks/supplements/vitamins etc, the prominent part will tell you about the potential benefits and advantages of the product in question, but there is usually another part that remains invisible despite being put right in front of you: “…as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.” The vital thing to realise is that what seems like a mere footnote, is actually the foundation you should be building first.
There is a growing tendency to assign blame rather than ask a very simple question – “Do I have a healthy balanced lifestyle?” It’s far easier to pin your hopes on a single ‘magic bullet’ that promises to transform you – ignoring that it states plainly that you should first have a healthy balanced lifestyle – and then blame the product when those results don’t manifest themselves. What is often harder is looking at your lifestyle as a whole, making positive changes to it, and sticking to those changes.
One of the most common complaints I hear is that there is too much information which leaves people confused and not knowing where to start, so I’m going to keep this as simple as it gets.
Food – do you eat healthily, and avoid eating things that are known to be ‘bad’ for you? Forget the fine print for a minute, just take a broad view of including fresh healthy food, and excluding the usual suspects from the refined foods (pretty much anything in a packet). Any further nutritional strategies normally branch out from this central idea.
Water – are you drinking sufficient water and avoiding things that may dehydrate you like alcohol, tea, coffee, etc? No need for any calculations about exactly how much water yet, just keep it simple.
Exercise – are you quite active on a regular basis? This doesn’t have to mean spinning classes or going cage fighting. Quite simply, does your lifestyle currently regularly include activities that get you moving and get your heart rate and respiration going a little bit? Simple things like gardening, playing with the kids, or just relying more on your body rather than machines for transport will do to start with.
Stress – this really is a big can of worms but just think of the big picture. Do you feel that you currently minimise the stresses in your life that are under your control and do you take time to specifically relax and unwind to counteract the negative effects of stress?