Getting Smart About Getting Healthy

We've all heard the expression, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Due to the competitiveness of businesses, we as consumers have choices and because of those choices, it is reasonable to assume that the choices we make are based on what we feel is best for us. Companies invest thousands of dollars into their marketing and advertising campaigns with the sole purpose that we the consumers finds their particular products or services to not only be the best, but perhaps even too good to be true. It's competition at its best and we wouldn't want it any other way? Or would we?

Take fitness and nutrition for example. Sorting through all the information and choices regarding which exercise is most effective and which diet is best can be difficult and confusing at best. One day you hear how exercise is good for you and by the next day you hear how too much exercise is bad.  Or you read about why you should eat eggs regularly and the very next day how you shouldn't touch them because they have too much cholesterol. What are you to do?  Who can you trust?  A recent report suggested that over 50 percent of the population no longer pays attention to health information because there is no consensus among professionals themselves. Could it be that the rising obesity problem in this country is due more to just simple confusion than it is lack of activity and poor food choices?  Hardly, but based on the consistently poor choices we make, we're not learning from our mistakes either.

When it comes to your health, the only competition that matters are the choices you make between what is right and what is wrong. To keep everything in perspective, here are five simple tips to help you be a better, smarter, and healthier YOU:

1. Don't Over Think Things — Making good, smart nutrition and exercise decisions need not be as complicated as rocket science. A simple turn towards getting back to basics and you'll be headed in the right direction!  Exercise in its simplest form means to just get moving, and not justifying it by doing something you would have done anyway, like clean the house or work in the yard. It should be an activity different from your normal every day movement, and more important, be something you enjoy and can repeat consistently. Good nutrition is more about focusing on the quality of the food you eat, as opposed to simply eating less which is just about the quantity.  Enjoy all foods, eat some more than others, and never leave the table so stuffed you have to be carried away.

2. Exercise daily — While some may have very specific goals and needs with their activity, most people simply need to move!  As previously mentioned, it should be something you enjoy yet is consistent with your goals.

3. Learn what's in your foods — The FDA requires all food manufacturers to list all of the ingredients used to make a particular product on the packaging.  The ingredients are then to be listed in the order of largest quantity to the least. If the list is longer than five ingredients, it would be wise to think twice about putting those 18 syllable words into your body, despite what the marketing on the packaging wants you to believe. What foods don't have labels? Only the good things you should be eating more of — fruits and vegetables.

4. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt — You don’t have to become a cynic, but today more than any other time in our history, information can be found on just about anything anywhere, which is why media worthy stories have to be almost have to be too good to be true to evoke interest. Hearing about eating more fruits and vegetables doesn't meet that criteria, so you'll rarely see it.  Talking about some new Hollywood miracle diet or the real secret to six-pack abs is more "news" worthy. Do your own research but speak to those who make it their career to lead you in the right direction. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. 

5. Make time for you — It's almost incomprehensible to some but not too long ago you could drive without talking on the phone; you could communicate without email; you could take that vacation without feeling like you’d be too far behind when you returned. Quiet time is good; learn to experience it with a good book or something else that actually makes use of your mind. Most of all, what’s important today is just as important as it will be tomorrow. So take care of yourself today, because there is no guarantee on tomorrow.