21 Benefits of Healthy Living

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?

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ROBBIEY 8/7/2020
this is good information Report
JIACOLO 7/16/2020
Thanks for this information! Report
TERMITEMOM 7/10/2020
Excellent reminders, and I like the quote. Thank you. Report
PATTYANN72 6/17/2020
thanks Report
TURQUROISE 6/11/2020
Good morning, great information Report
LEANJEAN6 6/3/2020
great things to remember Report
It looks like a lot of good long term goals to me, it is well worth it! Report
KAYAKPIKE 3/4/2020
Thank you for sharing these suggestions! Report
Daily tracking has been a great motivator for me Report
DEE107 1/20/2020
thank you Report
SURFIE 12/22/2019
Excellent list! I might post these on my wall as a reminder. Report
GRANNYOF05 11/24/2019
Thank you for the information. Report
AQUAGIRL08 11/12/2019
Thank you for the helpful article! Report
Must have something positive to hold on to. Report
GREEN_EYES2 8/19/2019
Great article. Report
well, all those internal changes may be great and all, but if you've been plugging away at this for YEARS and have lost only a handful of pounds (say, less than 30) still have a muffin top and look gross, you're going to get and stay discouraged Report
This is day 13. I have cut out all eating other than at meal time. Which means no snacks at all. Snacks were mostly carbs with sugar or fruit which also has sugar or salt. I am surprised at how much more energy I have after only 2 weeks. I look forward to each new day to see how many calories I can burn off from a wheelchair. If I feel hungry I drink a glass of water while making a cup of tea. When I finish my tea I find I am no longer hungry. Report
My return trip to SP is very similar to DEBYDOINGIT's -- I'm feeling better than I have for a long time, now that I'm back to Tracking. Report
For me the results came fast this round. Every day I eat correctly just make me feel great. I lost 12 pounds the first month back. I started Spark 2 years ago and was off for a year. I dropped a whole shot of insulin and will have to drop more. I had a critical low last night. I promised myself 10 minutes a day and did 30 each day. Now I do 45 on treadmill. On the weekends I take 3 to 4 mile hikes. since I don't get steps from work. When I was not on Spark I was still living most of the changes. I feel much better being on Spark and being accountable to myself. Report
I also focus far too much on the scales. Trying to focus on how clothes fit this time and weigh very infrequently. Report
Great thoughts and reminders. Thanks for sharing. Report
This is a great list! A good reminder. Report
Great list! Report
Thank you! Report
Great facts Thanks for sharing.. Report
I love the quote! Report
Another benefit of healthy living? The ripple effect it can have on your loved ones -- especially if you're the one doing the cooking! Report
I'm going to use your quote as the basis of my next blog. I'll be putting a link to this article in the blog. Thanks for motivating me today! Report
Non-scale victories are important! Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
nice list. thanks Report
Good info! Report
The longer I live healthy, the more in tune to my body I become. I am learning what I need by paying closer attention to how I feel, how I react in situations and energy levels. This morning I noticed I was becoming increasingly anxious- I've been neglecting my self care. I took a few moments, called my grandma as a distraction and set up a plan for some relaxation tonight. This is one of the biggest benefits I have seen for living healthy. Report
Good info Report
thanks Report
The experiences Nancy Howard relate are very familiar to me. I started being more conscientious over a year ago. I recorded everything I ate. My goal was to just stick to SparkPeople for a year without doing the rollercoaster off and on again. I did not lose much weight the first year, but I kept trying because I knew I was on the right track, and my husband and I were eating much better. This year I am moving more, exercising more and I am losing a little more weight. If I fall "off the wagon" I don't let it bother me any more I continue the next day as if it didn't happen. This was the key for me, and I don't "fall off" the way I used to do. For me consistency is the key. Thanks for the great blog, Nancy. Report
Great article! Thank you! Report
A great list of reasons and it sparks room for thinking of others to add. Report
Thank you Report
benefits surpass all buts. Report
I love reading the benefits of exercise. Good reasons to get it in gear!! Report
great article Report
Great, thank you. Report
Just what I needed , thank you. Report
Thank you, this is what I needed today. Report
Very encouraging. Report
Good article Report
The best encouragement I have heard in so long.... Report