Our bodies start from weighing 8lbs on average, then grow into a completely different adult form and can last up to (and even beyond) a hundred years. They house a variety of intertwined organs and tick along without us even consciously thinking about it. It’s pretty incredible.
Our minds are as equally fascinating. That squishy brain of yours has lobes, arteries and veins, plus the ability to form a personality, control emotions and store vital information. As well as memories of pointless YouTube cat videos and internet memes, but you get the idea.
The reason I’m praising both body and mind is that they go so well together. What your mind tells you to feel, your body will feel.
We Have to Love Body and Mind
We can’t push our bodies to exercise or ignore the food we love without hurting our minds. Let your mind win and your body will thank you for it.
This is the thinking behind Healthy Enough. To get to your desired level of health and fitness, you must have fun when exercising and enjoy what you eat – i.e. you still have to enjoy life during the process.
What Does This Involve?
Let’s look at exercising first. If you do an activity you enjoy, it’s obvious you’re much more likely to want to get out of bed to do it again the following day and even put more effort into it. So choose a “workout” that you also consider to be a hobby.
Although I’m not a huge fan of calorie-counting, a 182lb male can burn 520 calories during a 60 minute casual game of basketball, whereas he’d burn 260 calories running for the same length of time. That’s having fun while getting a better result!
Since we want to keep both our minds and bodies happy, it’s reassuring to know that group sports also benefit your mental health. Do you like group games with your friends? Researchers found when comparing two groups of women who had similar physical health, those who participated in social sports such as tennis and netball had better mental health and life satisfaction than the women who exercised alone or at a gym.
Research has also shown that people are more likely to maintain their physical activity when it’s combined with social support. So group games don’t just burn more calories and are good for your mental health; they’re motivating too.
And For Eating?
The same rules apply. Cooking food you love means both your mind and body will look forward to meal time and appreciate what you’re putting into your body.
If you happen to fancy a treat, go for it! Experts have said that eating small quantities of sweet treats can be part of a healthy diet. As long as you balance the rest of your diet with nutritious food and you do physical activity, don’t deny your mind the pleasure of a melting chocolate bar.
In fact, a study at Tel Aviv University has shown that allowing yourself a sweet treat after your meal can strategically help with weight loss, as they keep cravings under control and therefore reduce the chance of bingeing on junk food.
Just remember: it’s all about balance.
Listen to Your Body and Mind
Your body and mind are both very powerful things but they’re both yours and you know them best. What food does your mind want to eat that’ll benefit your body? What food disagrees with your body and therefore causes discomfort in your mind? What form of exercise pleases both your mind and body?
You need to keep them happy, as after all, we want them to be around for a long time.
That age-old phrase of “your body is a temple, so treat it like one” is a good one. Be mindful of what you put in it, and keep it fit and healthy. But we also need to remember our minds. They’re just as important. Feed them both what they need.