Whether your goal is to get healthier, lose weight or maintain your health, almost everyone has a reason to be motivated. Being healthy truly is a journey, not a destination. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Achieving a better state of health and well-being can start with looking at how we are sleeping, moving and eating.
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is critical to our mental, emotional, physical, family and spiritual health. It helps guide our decisions throughout the day, and getting the right amount of sleep helps us make better decisions regarding our own health.
People who get seven to eight hours of sleep a night tend to make healthier choices and have the energy to add the recommended 20 to 30 minutes of activity into their daily routines. Getting enough sleep also helps us make better food choices throughout the day.
Think about why your health matters
The challenge is taking the time to think about not only why your health matters to you and why you want to be healthy, but also how you will make better choices in the environments where you live, work, play and shop. Many of us certainly want to eat healthier, but we may not always know how to make the best choices or may find it difficult to make those choices.
Eat as little added sugar as possible
If you pay more attention to your consumption of sugar and limit it in your diet, you will likely experience better health, wellness and longevity. This is why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that you limit your intake of added sugar to no more than 10% of your daily calories.
This means that those who need 2,000 calories, for example, should aim to eat less than 50 grams of added sugar per day. The number of grams will be less for those who consume fewer calories, but it never hurts to eat as little added sugar as possible!
You may have noticed that this recommendation focuses on added sugars; there’s a big difference in the sugars that occur naturally in our fruits and vegetables and the added sugars in processed foods that are in our diets. The naturally-occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are okay to consume.
Drink more water
While today’s marketplace makes it nearly impossible to avoid all added sugars, it’s important to choose more of your grocery items in the outer aisles and try to limit the amount of added sugar in your daily nutrition regimen, including sugar-sweetened beverages. Some healthy alternatives to this include unsweetened tea or water with pieces of frozen or fresh fruit added.
Apps & online resources can help monitor sugar intake
Monitor your daily intake of added sugars to reduce your risk of preventable disease like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, all of which have been associated with diets high in sugar.
Technology can help with this, as there are many apps and online resources to help you track your sugar intake on your phone or other devices.
- Ask your healthcare team/provider or search to find the app that works best for you.
- You can also check out the Performance Triad app for more information on how to get quality sleep, move more and eat better. You can find direct links to download this app on Android and iPhone, plus other health-related mobile apps and resources, in the Download Center of the Performance Triad website.
On your journey to better health, it’s important to focus on why your health is important to you. Focusing on what is important to you can provide the motivation to achieve a better state of health and well-being.
Knowing why your health is important to you can also keep disease and other health issues at bay. And, as we’ve pointed out, limiting added sugar is one place to start.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Added Sugar in the Diet.
- World Health Organization: Definition of Health
About our guest contributors
- Barbara Agen Ryan, MS, RN, PNP, was formerly the training, education and communication lead at the Army’s Office of the Surgeon General, Systems for Health, Performance Triad.
- Ashleigh L. Simon, MPH, CPH, was formerly the Performance Triad coordinator at the Army’s Office of the Surgeon General, Systems for Health, Performance Triad.