1) T or F: You have to exercise 1 hour a day to have a healthy heart?
2) T or F: To lose weight and to be healthy you have to avoid sugar and salt?
3) T or F: You have to eat only whole grains on a healthy diet?
4 T or F: To help your heart, eating, body composition and sleep habits you need to manage stress?
5) T or F: You have to be a vegetarian to be healthy?
6) T or F: Portion control is the most important thing in a healthy eating plan?
Research says that all you need is ~150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week to improve health and quality of life (Yes triathletes/runners - that is per week, not one workout). However, because of our very sedentary lifestyle, I encourage people to move as much as possible. 10 minute segments add up throughout the day so just try to move your body as much as you can. Because consistency is key to exercise benefits, perhaps breaking it up throughout the day may work best for you depending on your fitness level, time restraints, energy and workout.
No need to be extreme as we do need salt and sugar in the diet. However, where it is coming from will make the difference as to how much you can/should eat. Focus on a more whole food diet and you will find yourself involuntarily reducing added sugar and salt in the diet. Read food labels to be a more educated consumer as the hidden sources of food (Ex. bread, cereals, cheeses, processed meats, frozen foods, canned foods, etc.) can add up throughout the day. Add flavor (and antioxidants) with herbs and spices and when you find yourself consuming primarily real food, a little salt is fine and will go a long way for flavoring food. As for sugar, again you need to read the labels as you can find added sugar in everything from cereal and granola bars to yogurt, marinara sauce and peanut butter). Emphasize natural sugars which also have fiber and the body will have an easier time digesting them to keep you satisfied. For women, up to 25g a day of added sugar (35g for men) is fine so prioritize where your added sugar is coming from and of course, enjoy it!
The best part about whole grains (besides being yummy) is that they are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. An easy way to incorporate more whole grains into your diet is to aim for ~3 servings of whole grains a day as a minimum. A serving counts as 1 whole grain slice toast, 1 cup whole grain cereal, 1/2 cup grains (ex. brown rice, quinoa, barley).
4) TRUEStress can be good or bad. We want to reduce stress to help with blood pressure and to help with immunity. The key is not just minimizing stress but managing stress. Because we can't live a stress-free life, we need to recognize our major stressors and then have an action plan as to how we will (in a healthy manner) manage/deal with the stress.
5) FALSERather than following a branded diet (aside from religious, ethical or health reasons), create your own diet that is plant strong. We want to create a diet that is filled with fruits and veggies (nature's medicine) along with whole grains, quality protein (animal and primarily plant protein) and healthy fats.
6) TRUE AND FALSEPortion control is a great way to manage your calories in vs your calories out but most importantly it is a way to be sure that you are giving your body enough vitamins and minerals and nutrients to meet your individual needs. But besides portion control, think about your lifestyle in terms of food. Try to be a better meal planner, eat slowly, make time to eat, eat with your utensils and a napkin, eat behind a table (not behind a computer screen or in the car) and learn to develop a healthy relationship with food. Appreciate the food that you choose to fuel your lifestyle and don't forget that prevention is cheaper than medicine.