Joint Base Charleston


What does it mean to be healthy?

By Madalyn Turner, personal trainer | Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station | January 26, 2011

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON -- What does it mean to live a healthy fitness lifestyle? Normally living a healthy fitness lifestyle means eating healthy, participating consistently in a moderate exercise program, not smoking or using smokeless tobacco products, limiting alcohol consumption, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining normal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

This sounds so simple, but for most of us, trying to balance a healthy fitness lifestyle with work and family commitments can be a challenge. The good news is that there are several key factors that can help us improve our lives.

During my education at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I was educated on the concept of primary and secondary foods. Primary foods feed our lives, and are comprised of areas such as spirituality, relationships, career and physical activity. Secondary foods are the actual food components: grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, minimal healthful oils and water.

Balancing the primary foods prevents uncontrollable cravings for less healthy foods. Remember when you were a child outside playing with your friends before dinner? You may have felt free and alive and weren't constantly thinking about when and what to eat or the number of calories to consume. According to IIN, it was during this play time that your soul was being fed with primary foods so secondary foods were not a battle.

What secondary foods are appropriate to eat? The answer is simple: eat real food. This means eating available non-processed food. Non-processed foods are those which are as close to nature as possible. For example, you wouldn't take a road trip through the Midwest and see corn dog farms along side the road you are traveling.

The second key component in figuring out what foods are best for you is keeping a food diary with detailed notes. The diary will allow you to become aware of the food you are putting into your body and how the food item makes you feel.

Many of us are susceptible to trying to fit into an unrealistic image which advertisers continue to promote in order to sell magazines or merchandise. Instead of trying to be something that we're not, why not get back to basics? First, feed your soul with your relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality and the food will fall into place. Second, be adventurous and try a new fresh fruit or vegetable every week. Give cooking a try. Many people are intimidated by cooking but it's actually fun and easy. Third, try several different types of exercise (indoors, outdoors, classes, with a partner, etc.) and find out what you like best to keep yourself active.

Everyone has the same opportunity to choose to be healthy. In today's society we have come to believe that a diet pill or a magical solution is the only way to attain a healthy fitness lifestyle. The reality is that a permanent solution requires making a promise to yourself today that you are going to be the healthiest person you can be. Remember, stick to the basics.

Madalyn Turner received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from Lynchburg College and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM Health and Fitness Specialist, Spinning instructor, and AADP Health Counselor.

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