The SparkPeople Blog

21 Benefits of Healthy Living

31SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/24/2012 6:00 PM   :  38 comments   :  35,034 Views

See More: health, healthy living, tips,
I recently came across a quote that read, "Healthy living is a life sentence, you will never be pararoled or pardoned."  What I love about this quote is that healthy living is a way of living. It is not something that can be measured by a number on the scale. It is the actions we take every day that allow us to leave the diet mentality behind.

Having worked for SparkPeople for over three years now, I have seen many common concerns on the message boards. One of the most common themes is the fear that when a member starts integrating healththy habits into his/her life and the the results aren't as quick as they should be, the member is convinced something is wrong. The member is either eating too much, not exercising enough or for many, they are convinced the program does not work. For many long term dieters, like myself, we are convinced that we may have even permanently destroyed our metabolsim (which is not the case).

I am here to put the record straight that with time and patience the changes will happen, but you must utilize the tools in order to see the success. These changes can take as long as six to eight weeks to show up on the scale, but when a member doesn't get the results he/she expects to see on the scale, the fear is that they must be doing something wrong.

This journey isn't a sprint to see how quickly you can get the weight off only to go back to your unhealthy ways. I view this healthy living journey much like I do my training for an event. I can't slack on my training if I expect to reach my goal. I can't expect to go from the couch to a marathon without going through days, weeks and months of training. Just like adaptation to exercise takes time, so does weight loss.

Midway through my weight loss journey, I went through a very long nine month plateau where no matter how hard I felt I was doing everything right, that doggone number on the scale would not move. At the time I was working with a running coach/trainer who insisted that I throw the scale away. I reluctantly gave my scale away. Now I am not saying that is what YOU should do, but my coach could tell I was putting too much emphasis on the scale and not on all the changes that were happening within my body.

One of my assignments was to compile a list of changes that were happening to my body that had nothing to do with the scale. Almost five years later I still have that list and add to it as I come across the new research as to how healthy living can impact our life, even if the scale is not moving.

Nancy's List of Healthy Living Benefits

-Exercise increases lung capacity

-Exercise increases immunity fighting immunoglobulins

-Exercise increases our mood due to an increase in mood-enhancing chemicals-serotonin, dopamine and nor-epinepherine

-Exercise builds lean muscle mass and bone mass therefore we experience a decrease risk of osteporosis

-Exercise and healthy eating habits helps lowers blood pressure

-Exercise helps lower our heart rate and build a stronger heart

-Over time your risk for cardio-vascular disease and type II diabetes falls

-Healthy living helps lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels

-Healthy living increases our HDL (good cholesterol) levels

-Healthy living helps lowers triglycerides

-Your runs, walks and other exercises become easier

-Healthy living cuts  your cancer risk

-You feel better and have more energy

-You feel younger and more confident

-Improves posture

-Increases self-esteem

-Helps with sleep

-Controls stress

- Increases the volume of your muscle mitochondria which leads to burning more carbs and fats

-Doubles your muscles ability to use oxygen, therefore, you are better able to use fat as an energy source

-Allows me to take risks in life

As you can see, our body benefits so much more from embracing healthy habits for a lifetime. The number, as many of you know, is just that--a number. It cannot and will not ever measure our health and fitness.

We must be careful not to get too hung up on that number, nor can we expect to undo years of unhealthy habits in just a few days, weeks and months. While many members have seen rapid success, I will confess that it took me over 3 years to drop 80 pounds. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I once considered myself the Queen of Weight Loss but the Joker of Weight Maintenance.

In February 2005 I vowed that this was finally going to be the year I was getting off the diet roller coaster once and for all. I was no longer going to start a diet, only to vow to begin again the minute I experienced my first slip-up. I was not giving myself a timeline to reach my goal. What I was going to do was make healthy choices a part of my daily life, even if that took me the rest of my life to do. 

Fast forward seven years and I am still the same weight, give or take five pounds (I do not believe in having a goal weight, but a goal weight range) that I was when I reached my goal four years ago. This has finally become my way of living. I have reached the point in my life that it is more natural for me to choose the healthy options in life than the unhealthy ones. This for me is a much bigger success than any number on the scale or the size on the tag.

What are some of the lessons you have learned in your own journey? What changes have you experienced that has helped you give up the control the scale holds over you?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   What's Your Secret, Dr. Birdie? Willpower

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 38
    Thanks for sharing this. It's so encouraging to hear from others that didn't have the ten pounds a month falling off of them either. For some of us it's a painfully slow process and it's so nice to hear encouragement that we're still making healthy changes and improving our lives! - 2/28/2012   12:09:59 PM
  • 37
    this is a keeper!
    - 2/28/2012   11:06:50 AM
  • 36
    Thank you for this encouraging article/ blog. Though I've adapted my eating/ cooking patterns, I'm still struggling to consistently incorporate the exercise component and other healthy activities (like enough sleep). And since I certainly do contribute the weightly plateau (just 17 pounds from what I'd like to reach) on my lack of discipline and consistency, I do sometimes seem to look in the mirror and completely "no longer see" the progress and visible improvements from LAST January. Thanks! - Maryjean Gregory - 2/28/2012   9:38:31 AM
  • 35
    Thanks...I needed this. The scale hasn't budged...but I'll be honest, my own disappointment in the numbers is what has been holding me back from doing my best lately. You're right: I feel better, I look better, I'm more healthy so why am I depending on the scale so much? I wish it was that easy though. It'll take time, I'm sure. But thank you for getting me that much closer :) - 2/27/2012   5:58:02 AM
  • SAS202554
    34
    Thanks for the blog!! I had decided to do away with weighing and just use measurements ever so often. I am measuring my success by how I feel. When I use healthy habits my joints don't ache, I sleep better, and I feel better!!! I am taking it one day at a time to get to my goal. I am going to measure my success by how I will fit into the airplane seat on March 9th! LOL I enjoyed your blog!!!! - 2/20/2012   9:35:21 AM
  • BAMBI31311
    33
    Great article, worth reading and paying attention to the words and really putting them into action. - 1/28/2012   11:47:16 PM
  • 32
    Very inspirational! - 1/27/2012   6:55:40 PM
  • EMIAYSU
    31
    That was inspiring! - 1/26/2012   2:26:17 PM
  • ROOZETOLOOZE
    30
    Terrific blog! I get so frustrated when I do not see the scale move in the first week or two of my healthy lifestyle. It's at that point when I say "what difference does it make, I may as well just eat that bag of chips", but you have motivated me to look at it differently. Even when I am not losing weight right away, I am still working towards being healthier...on the inside even if it doesn't show on the outside! Thank you! - 1/26/2012   12:21:12 PM
  • 29
    Awesome blog, Nancy! - 1/26/2012   10:49:50 AM
  • 28
    This blog is just what I needed to read!!! Thank you so very much for writing this! I love your statement about 'Queen of Weight Loss' and 'Joker of Weight Maintenance'... I would definitely be a successor to this 'royal court' !

    This IS my year!!! - 1/26/2012   8:47:04 AM
  • 27
    Two weeks ago I had breast cancer surgery (I'm doing great), the last thing my doctor said when I went home was stay off the diets and eat healthy. Seems to be working for me. - 1/26/2012   6:12:10 AM
  • 26
    thank you for writing this. I plateaued 8 months ago but continue to eat well and exercise. I used to lose weight more quickly, but it would all come back and then some. This way is slower but better. - 1/26/2012   1:32:51 AM
  • 25
    Thanks Nancy, I lost 75lbs in a year and half and would like to lose another 40lbs. If you read my latest blog you'll see that I'm dealing with a "mental block" but I am determined this year is my year I make it. - 1/25/2012   2:32:21 PM
  • 24
    Hey Coach! You are so exactly right! I have come to realize that I am always going to have times when no matter what I do, my weight doesn't move in the direction I hoped for. I have learned to gauge my progress with strength and endurance. I know that no matter what, my healthy eating habits and my continuing to work out, will always result in my getting stronger. That is so much more important. - 1/25/2012   2:25:19 PM
  • 23
    Nice job, Nancy. This is exactly the mindset I'm trying to develop now. Before it was all numbers in, numbers out = ?? And it messed with my head and emotions a bit too much. Now, I'm just trying to develop the healthy habits for their own sake, and let the benefits come as they come. - 1/25/2012   1:44:00 PM
  • 22
    Great Blog!! I have always said it's not about the number on the scale but how I feel, how my clothes fit, etc. - 1/25/2012   1:37:10 PM
  • 21
    Good blog, I feel the pain too, have been at a plateau for several months & was getting discouraged, but not giving up. Thanks for sharing your story. - 1/25/2012   1:24:52 PM
  • 20
    This was an excellent blog! - 1/25/2012   12:10:43 PM
  • 19
    I have been "sparking" for almost 3 years now. I just got off a 15 month plateau. For me it was *really* understanding that 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week is the minimum one needs to be healthy. Now I'm exercising at least an hour each day and I feel so much better. The benefit I value the most is not the actual weight loss but rather that intense exercise means I don't feel nervous and anxious all the time. When I am relaxed and happy, I have no desire to snack or overeat. What a revelation. - 1/25/2012   12:09:07 PM
  • 18
    Thank you, great list. You're right it is not a marathon...something I need to remember. - 1/25/2012   11:32:21 AM
  • 17
    Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness, who passed away last year at 96, always said "You can't wear out your body by using it as it will only get stronger and stronger the more you push it." - 1/25/2012   11:12:26 AM
  • 16
    Breaking my own addiction to the scale has not been easy. Like many people here, I too spent way too many years tying my emotions to what the scale said. One pound up, bad day. One pound down, good day.

    It took a while, but I learned there really IS more to good health than a number that stares at us from between our toes in the morning. Yes, it's important to maintain a healthy weight. BUT, the scale can't tell a person how many push ups they can do. the scale can't tell a person who fast they can run or walk a mile. The scale can't tell a person if they can do a hand stand against the wall.

    I've become much more aware of what my body can do and stopped worrying about what it can't or how it looks. I've stopped being a slave to the scale. Exercise has helped increase my confidence ! My shoulders can carry the world now. LOL !


    - 1/25/2012   9:44:10 AM
  • CAZEET
    15
    Tis blog is very timely for me and the year long journey I have been on. I will put away my scale and focus on the other positives. I am going to make a list too. My journey is about find new 'joys' in my life. My Type 2 diabetes is under control without medication, my high blood pressure is under control, going from wearing a size 22 one year ago to a comfortable size 12 (I'm not stopping there - 1/25/2012   8:58:28 AM
  • 14
    AWESOME blog & great quote thank you so much for sharing. - 1/25/2012   8:54:27 AM
  • 13
    So true! Loved the quote. - 1/25/2012   8:09:49 AM
  • 12
    This is a great blog. THANK YOU! - 1/25/2012   7:26:14 AM
  • 11
    Love this blog. I know for me I have to stop looking at the scale. Numbers don't tell it all. Since I began this journey, people have asked, how are you losing weight. I can truly say... I am not on a 'diet" I am moving more eating less and getting healthy! - 1/25/2012   5:27:07 AM
  • 10
    I have learned that although working out is hard, I feel so much better afterwards and that makes it worth it! - 1/25/2012   1:53:37 AM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    9
    I feel the pain. - 1/24/2012   11:56:23 PM
  • 8
    I love this blog! Thanks. I have been on a plateau for about 9 months. I am trying all sorts of different things to bust through. I'm not giving up. It's nice to hear your story and remind me that there is a destination in site and that I can get there over time. - 1/24/2012   11:45:16 PM
  • 7
    This was a nice blog to read. I'm going through my own weight loss plateau (9 months at the exact weight-right down to 3 decimal points!) and while not discouraged I've been beating myself up trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing wrong. I know that positive changes are happening that I can't see-but I'm tired of my scale mocking me! - 1/24/2012   10:10:26 PM
  • 6
    Here is another entry for your list: reduced risk of Alzheimer's

    www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimer
    s/MY00002
    - 1/24/2012   9:51:35 PM
  • 5
    This week I realized something -- when on earth did I come to think that sitting around most of the time and eating whatever I wanted when I wanted it was NORMAL and that working out and eating healthy were some kind of punishment? So glad I am changing my priorities. - 1/24/2012   9:38:23 PM
  • 4
    This is a great blog. It is so hard to remember that weight loss can be very slow. With shows like the Biggest Loser that show huge amounts of weight loss in a week you can feel like a failure if your loss does not happen like that. I will try and remember that slow and steady wins the race. - 1/24/2012   8:15:22 PM
  • 3
    Nice article. I tell people all the time I am doing this and it's called "Stroke Therapy" I have a hugh family history of strokes. I believe if you redesign your life in such a way that you won't have many failures. I keep all junk out of the house. I eat a clean diet. I put working out in my life on purpose. I only weigh myself 1 or 2 times every 3 months. I use other ways to measure my success. It's all about having a heathy body and not a number on the scales or what size I wear. - 1/24/2012   7:42:07 PM
  • STILLLEARNING2B
    2
    I love the thought of making a list of positive outcomes related to exercise. I see too many people who look at exercise as a chore, one more "have to" on the to-do list. This inventory help to re-frame activity to something enjoyable. Additionally, many of the items on the list are things we have within our control whereas the needle on scale can have its own mind sometimes.
    lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com
    - 1/24/2012   7:14:16 PM
  • DWILLIAMB
    1
    I really liked this blog with surgeries and other health issues it seems like it will take forever to get to my goal.But its not about time. - 1/24/2012   6:45:30 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

Sign up for a FREE SparkPeople account