First things first, what is Chronic Disease?? Basically, its a group of diseases that develop over a long period of time and also last for a long time. Usually the only way to cure these diseases is to make lifestyle changes. According to the World Health Organization, 17 million people will die prematurely from Chronic Diseases. How do we fix this? Read on my friends, read on.
So what are these chronic diseases exactly? I’m mainly thinking about Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke. These diseases cause 70% of deaths each year (in the US) and a large portion of those deaths could be prevented if people eliminated tobacco use, physical inactivity, terrible eating habits and alcohol abuse. SAY WHAT?! Crazy, right? There are so many people who live with illness for an extended period of time and who die from things that we can definitely prevent!
I don’t think we all need to be perfect all of the time (what kind of life would it be if you could never have your favorite cookies or a pizza?) but I do think that its super important to live an overall healthier lifestyle. I know I’m not the only one who feels like crap when they eat crap or sits on the couch all day… where my peeps at? So here are my 5 tips to preventing chronic disease:
1. SLEEP MORE
This is at the top of the list because it is so important. When you get your 7-8 hours of sleep, mentally you are more capable of kicking some serious booty during the day. Speaking solely from personal experience I get my workout in more often and am more motivated to eat healthier food when I’m not dead tired #whoswithme.
Sleep deprivation can result in cravings for sugary foods, thus leading to weight gain, can result in depression, anxiety, reduce cognitive functioning, and imparied memory.
Thanks but no thanks. Not to mention that I am a better person (mom and wife included) when I’m not suffering from sleep deprivation (Quote via Lockhart, Science of Wellness). Want to know more about sleep? Read about it HERE.
2. MOVE MORE
I know that you know that you need to be more physically active (basically, we all need to be better at this). Its important to get at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5x/week or 30 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise 5x/week (read more about the minimum requirements HERE). You got that in the bag, right? But on top of that, just get off your booty and move around. It doesn’t have to be anything big or huge but take 5 minutes each hour and just walk around. Move your body! Not only will this help control your weight, it’ll definitely make you look better naked. Everyone wants that.
3. DRINK MORE WATER
Water. Its completely necessary for survival so why do we have such a hard time drinking enough water each day? I get distracted some days and definitely don’t drink like I should- I get headaches and start feeling lethargic/tired. Whenever that happens, it’s super important to recognize that your body is lacking hydration and you should drink a glass of water immediately! I’ve heard different recommendations on how much to drink each day: 8 glasses of 8 ounces or half your body weight in ounces. Personally, I try to do a gallon each day. I know it sounds like a lot but it’s not too hard once you get used to it and its just easy to remember! I’ve done the “Gallon Challenge” several times and you can read more about it and the benefits of water HERE.
4. DRINK LESS ALCOHOL & CAFFEINE
According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking alcohol can actually increase your risk of cancer (especially if you are genetically predisposed!), heart damage, stroke and liver disease. Not even just those serious things side effects, superficially alcohol is filled with empty calories (there is no nutritional benefit to those 7 calories/gram of alcohol). If alcohol is your thing (I don’t drink at all), then enjoy a glass here or there but don’t make it a habit.
As much as I love myself a good Dr Pepper, caffeine is a stimulant and can increase stress hormones in your body (hello extra cortisol). These extra hormones can stunt weight loss and just make you feel inflammed or bloated. Just like with alcohol, every now and again its okay to have your favorite drink but try to limit it to special occasions
5. EAT BETTER
It’s no secret that the food we put into our bodies either helps us or hurts us. I know that all of us eat things that aren’t beneficial for us (like french toast or Cadbury eggs…) but those foods do nothing to help us nutritionally. Our bodies thrive off of proper vitamins, minerals, macronutrients (read more HERE about macros) and the correct amount of calories or energy rather. If you eat too much of any of those things- your body has to work hard to get back to normal. You can eat too many calories (as you probably know) and can take too many vitamins and overdose.
That being said, you can also be lacking in certain things as well. It’s just as important to eat enough calories for your energy expenditures (if you’re nursing you should be eating upwards of an extra 500 calories a day over what you would need to maintain your weight). Don’t even get me started about deficiencies in vitamins, do you know how many people died in the past because they were lacking essential nutrients? Too many. *side note: I’ll be doing a post soon ALL about vitamins and minerals, so stay tuned!
At the end of the day, it is always going to be most important to treat our bodies with respect and love so that they take care of us for the long haul. I want to live a life where my body feels good and I am able to do anything I want and not be restricted by chronic illness if I can help it.
You guys are the best for reading my blog and supporting me, I hope you have a fantastic Wednesday!