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Why You Can’t Stay Healthy and What to Do About It

Why You Can’t Stay Healthy and What to Do About It

    I’ve been a chubby guy most of my life. When I was young my parents never instilled a good sense of what was the right way to eat and exercise, because they didn’t know, because their parents didn’t know. Candy, fast food, and TV watching were the norms.

    It wasn’t until I got older that I realized my diet and exercise, or the lack thereof, had to change. But it hasn’t been an easy task.

    Meeting your diet and exercise goals can be a tough thing to do, especially if you are setting yourself up with unrealistic ones and haven’t built a framework for healthy living into your life. Here are the reasons why you can’t stay healthy and what to do about them.

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    Your diet and exercise goals are unrealistic

    “I want to lose 20 lbs a month until I reach me ideal weight.” Yeah, you and everyone else.

    Losing a bunch of weight fast is basically what everyone wants to do. Humans are creatures that are always looking for the fast and easy way out of any situation. We have been promised that this pill, this diet, and this exercise gizmo will help us become the man or the woman on the front of the health magazines. It’s all unrealistic, and if you think this way you will more often than not fail at your health goals. And when people fail, they tend to give up.

    Solution: It’s important to have a goal in mind when it comes to your health, but I recommend it not having too much to do with weight loss, as weight loss isn’t necessarily the greatest metric of overall health. What you can do instead is create goals for the number of times you work out during the week or cutting out a particularly bad food by a certain date. The key is to set yourself up for success with  realistic goals. Make them somewhat difficult to reach, but not impossible.

    You have no “health framework” installed

    To stay healthy you have to have a “health framework” installed in your life. This means that you have to have a set of habits or processes that you do on a daily basis. The problem is that most people try to make a bunch of habit changes all at once and end up failing. And we already know where most failures lead to (queue sad trombone music).

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    Solution: People can break bad habits in 28 days and they can also create new ones. Rather than signing up for the gym, getting all new pots and pans and cleaning out your kitchen, waking up every morning to run, and changing your diet to an ancestral one in a couple of days, stretch these new habits out over a few months to create your health framework. This is the most realistic way to stay healthy over the long run.

    You don’t know what you are doing

    Diet and exercise advice is everywhere and people argue about what is right and wrong all the time. “Whole grains are evil. You need whole grains to live. Too much fat will kill you. You need fat to live. You only need 15 minutes of high intensity cardio a day. Work out for at least an hour a day to stay healthy.” You get the idea.

    The problem with this is that there is so much information and because of that you could find yourself having no idea what you need to do to stay healthy.

    Solution: Rather than merely “guessing”, become an informed health aficionado. Read some health research (and not the kind that is sponsored by food and health companies), seek out a good nutritionist and schedule a one-on-one meeting, look for some exercise trainers and explain your health goals. Rather than blindly follow the next big trend in “health science” do a little research to find out what will work for you.

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    You have no support from people around you

    I couldn’t imagine having to live a healthy lifestyle if my wife was bringing home Twinkies and Hohos and eating them in front of me. That wouldn’t work.

    I have seen many people try to make a health change as the people around them stay unhealthy. This isn’t just difficult, it may be downright impossible for some people. Some people are addicted to foods or the thought of certain foods (like sugar). It’s a real problem and by keeping a food addicts “drug of choice” around them 24/7, failure to stay healthy is inevitable.

    Solution: If you want to stay healthy you have to make it known to the people around you. You have to put your foot down and let them know that the bad food has got to go. Another nice thing would be instead of spending quality time in front of the TV (or should I say, not-so quality time), you can go for a nice walk or possible hike in the woods. You have to ensure that the people around you support your healthy lifestyle changes to make them stick.

    The key to staying healthy is to create realistic and measurable health goals and slowly reach them. You have to have a framework installed and to do that you need to know what you are doing. Having a support group around you will then further your success.

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    This way of life isn’t easy, but once you start moving forward it becomes natural to stay healthy.

    (Photo credit: diet for girl via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and black tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here:

    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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