Healthy Lifestyles for High School Students

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Health and fitness are dominating western culture, and while adults are able to communicate with or hire trained professionals to assist in their journeys to overall health, many teenagers and students do not have access to the resources necessary to answer any questions they may have, or point them in the right direction when starting on their road to fitness. This Wikipedia page aims to teach all those who read it how to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your financial status, schedule, or location.

Highlights:

  1. What is a Healthy Diet?
  2. Establishing Goals
  3. Creating a Diet/Exercise Plan
  4. Maintaining a Healthy Diet
  5. Finding Time to Exercise
  6. Measuring Progress

What is a Healthy 'Diet''?

Many people believe that a diet is simply a meal-plan someone starts when they want to lose weight. While this is true, your diet is not a scheduled meal-plan that you start and finish, nor is it something that lasts from the start of your journey to health until you achieve your goal. Your diet is literally everything you eat and drink in a day, regardless of if you are working toward a goal number on the scale or just living your life day by day. According to the dictionary, a healthy diet is "a diet which is heavily weighted towards ‘good foods’ while minimizing ‘bad foods.’" [1] A healthy diet does not simply depend on the food pyramid, or any variation of targeted amountsing of food-groups. Though it is important to eat a certain amount of fruit and vegetables each day, meeting these suggested servings is not the same thing as creating a diet that will help you live the best life you can.

Establishing Goals

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Before beginning your road to overall health, it is extremely important to set aside specific goals you wish to achieve through changing your lifestyle. Evaluate why you want to life a healthy lifestyle, find motivation for yourself to continue when it might seem difficult or easier to just give up. Make it fun, creative, and enticing. After all, if it seems like a chore to do it, you won't want to do it.

When creating your #GOALS, don't go overboard. Your list should contain 5–7 specific things you want to see change in your life, and should not include anything extreme, like losing more than 20 pounds.* Don't make all your goals number-oriented either. You don't have to focus on your weight or pant size if that is not what you are aiming to change. Your goals are yours, make them personal. They don't need to revolve around fitness if that's not what you're looking to gain from your new lifestyle. Health is more than physical, and your goals should include some emotional or mental targets as well.

Example goals include:

  1. Doing more than 100 consecutive push-ups.
  2. Running 3 miles under 20 minutes.
  3. Improving my overall diet to prevent any familial diseases/occurrences (hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol), and to ensure the longevity of my life.
  4. Getting 7 hours of sleep every night.
  5. Lowering my stress levels.
  6. Feeling more energetic throughout the day.
  7. Maintaining a positive attitude, regardless of the task at hand.

*If you want to lose more than 20 pounds, consult your doctor first. Make sure your goal weight is healthy, reasonable, and necessary for your overall health. In general, losing more than 10 pounds could make your life dramatically different, and put you at a BMI that is lower than average.

follow what worked for someone else, try new things and make discoveries about what does and doesn't work for your body.

First things first, you should eliminate huge sources of trans fats, unnatural sugars, and processed foods. However, the amount you cut down on depends on how much you previously consumed daily and how unnatural those foods were. A general rule to live by: If you can't pronounce most of the ingredients listed on the package, it probably isn't natural enough to be in your body. That said, checking the ingredients list is a very important step in making the transition away from processed foods. Avoid artificial flavors and colors, as some are made from insects or could cause cancer. How many ingredients are listed for the product? Chances are the more you read, the less healthy it will be. Our bodies are meant to consume certain foods, and if the ingredients list runs long, you should find an alternative food item that either has simpler and fewer ingredients, or try to make the item on your own. There shouldn't be more than ten ingredients for a granola bar, for instance, because it really only needs five (granola, oats, some sort of nut, some sort of dried berry, and maybe maple syrup or honey as a glue for the previous ingredients).

Sodium is also something to watch out for. Consuming too much actually reverses the effects of eliminating all these "bad foods." Try using less salt when cooking, don't add soy sauce to your rice, put the bag of chips down. If you have to add more than a pinch of salt when preparing the dish, add something flavorful instead (peppers, onions, garlic, spices, etc.).

Do not be afraid of carbs, they are vital to your metabolism. The majority of energy produced and used by our bodies comes from carbohydrates. Just be smart in the kinds you consume, and don't fill up on carbs if you plan on lounging around all day. The main point of consuming such energy-providing foods is to fuel you through a day full of activity. The same can be said for protein. It is vital, but should be utilized when you perform moderate to heavy exercise. You must consume some sort of carbohydrate and protein every day, but dial it back when you know you'll be sitting in class or doing homework at your desk for the majority of the day.

References

  1. ^ "healthy diet". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 2016-02-17.
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