A new year, new season, and new beginning has sprung forward as winter falls into a slumber. Therefore, the holiday season is over and so are the delicious treats and large dinners. The new year swoops in like an unwanted and distant cousin waiting for you to take them in. The first popular trend you begin to see is the fitness movement like discounted gym memberships, health food ads, and fitness models on commercials between your favorite episodes on Netflix. Moreover, you check social media- Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, and Twitter to see the latest trends. The words, “diet,” “fat loss in 20 days,” “detox diets,” “restrictions,” and “juice cleanses” parade themselves around a size 4 young and good looking woman in her 20s. So then, you think to yourself, “I want to lose weight this year and fit into my clothes better,” or “I want to eat healthier this year and some how get abs while doing it.” It’s all over the social media trends: fit-people-doing-fit-things-while-eating-fit-foods!
Here’s the good news. You can be fit! You can strong! You can eat healthier! Finally, you can live a long life while being healthy and eat whatever you want! . . . Wait a minute, let’s break down that last sentence. Here, repeat after me. “I can live a long life while being healthy and eat whatever I want.” Now, that’s better. This will be your mantra or phrase as you begin your new journey to becoming a healthy individual.
The Human Body is a Work of Art
Have you ever head the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Well, there is some knowledge in that statement. However, the human body is a living-being. For instance, our body’s were meant to get on average 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep depending on your age! Think about it, does a machine need sleep? Or how about, the human body needs fuel such as food that is broken down into macronutrients and micronutrients! Does a machine need food? The answer is no. So, let’s talk about health and how it correlates to the human body.
Biofeedback is the alternative approach for people to help their bodies come back to the state of health. Biofeedback therapies guide the individual to facilitate the learning of voluntary control over body and mind, and take a more active role in maintaining personal health and higher level mind-body wellness (Moss, Ph.D. & Applied Psychophysiological & Biofeedback, n.d.). Nurses, health and fitness certified coaches, dieticians, physicians, counselors, physical and occupational therapists all use this type of patient monitored therapy. Moreover, these areas are associated with biofeedback:
- Healthy Eating
- Gut Health
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Science based research
- Individualized programming
When we talk about biofeedback, our first area to work on is our mindset. Mental Health is your social, emotional, and psychological well being. Our mentality affects the way we think, feel, and act towards everything around us. Any and everything can affect our mental health such as family history, trauma, genes, or in other words biological factors and life experiences. The very first aspect of becoming a health individual is changing your mindset. This is where a coach, nurse, physician, occupation and physical therapist, even counselor can help. If you are a reader or audio listener, some of the best books such as Atomic Habits, You Can Heal Your Life, 5 Love Languages, and The Mountain is You can help you get into a better mindset. Also, if you are religious, then these books are great too The Bible, The Alchemist, The God-Shaped Brain, Winning the War in Your Mind, Jesus Over Everything Else, and Battlefield of the Mind. These are ways you can choice to keep your mindset free, healthy, and filled with hope:
- Journaling, writing down your goals, insights, visions, and writing on things you are “thankful for”
- Taking a walk, breathing deeply for 10-30 minutes while meditating (a word or phrase for example)
- Getting outside in the sun (vitamin D), gardening, cleaning the yard or garage
- Refocus your mind on a new thought
- Speak it into existence or say “Out-loud” what you want to happen in your life
Most importantly, your mindset will either take you in the direction of health or you will stay idol. Remember, the choice is always yours to make!
Once our mindset is getting on the right track to health, we can start to assess other areas of healthy habits. Did you know that food is referred to as “fuel”? Think about it. When you eat a meal, does it give you a spurt of energy? Every meal during the day is adding calories into your tank (body). Once these calories are imputed, then nutrients will be sent to your muscle tissues, bones, brain tissue, and organs i.e. small intestines, kidneys, large intestines, etc. A calorie is an unit of energy in terms of chemistry. However, most people understand calories as the components that make up food.
In science, nutrients (calories) are made up of macromolecules and micro molecules. As they are broken down into the smallest unit of energy, we see their chemical structure, which is their identity. However, for the sake of light reading, we will only talk about calories that make up healthy food.
You may be asking yourself, “how much should I eat in a day?” Well, many sources online will give you different figures. The amount of calories depends on these factors:
- gender (male or female)
- activity level (intensive training, heavy lifting, marathon running)
- health status (diabetes, obesity, etc.)
According to nutritionists, there is an equation based on your body’s metabolism. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy necessary to carry out all involuntary processes while the body is at rest, including ():
- Regulation of Body Temperature
- Cell Activity & Maintenance
By using the Mifflin-St. Jeor formula, we can estimate the BMR of a person (Beseler MS, RD, LD, CDE, 2003–2011). In other words, this equation will help you determine the amount of calories your body actually needs to be sustained throughout a 24 hour day!
Female: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) – 161
Male: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) + 5
Proteins, Carbs, & Fats
First, proteins are large molecules that actively play a vital role in the body. Many of you have heard that chains of amino acids make up protein. Therefore, you must know our body needs protein to supply those amino acids for the growth and maintenance of our cells and tissues. (It might help to remember that our body is made up of atoms, molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems).
In that case, protein is the essential life source for each of these anatomical processes that make up our body. Moreover, we are made up of thousands of different proteins each with a specific function. Proteins are essential for the body to function properly, as they are linked to the growth, repair, and maintenance processes of muscles, tissues, and organs, as well as hormone production (Beseler). The process known as protein synthesis defines how these proteins inside our body are continually being repaired and replaced throughout life. This is why we have to keep our uptake of protein.
The recommended protein intake varies from male to female, toddler to infant, teenage to young adult, adult to senior, and etc. Also, the recommended protein intake depends on how active the person is and their state of health. Here is a break down of recommended protein intake for most adults per day:
Adults 0.83 kg of protein for each kilogram of weight
(example: Female weights 68 kg., she would take in 68 x 0.83 = 56 kg calories of protein daily)
For women who are pregnant, young children, teenagers, and young adults the protein intake is higher. Also, elderly people tend to need less protein as they grow older. This means they require a less amount of protein or less calories (energy) because their metabolic rate has decreased.
Carbohydrates are an energy yielding nutrient, the largest single source (except for water) of most meals (Beseler). High calorie healthy foods are mostly made of loads and loads of carbohydrates. If you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, or even maintain your weight a high calorie healthy meal plan is right for you! However, are you able to identify which food source is a carbohydrate? Let’s use our example from earlier- beef tenderloin, string green beans, mashed potatoes, and lentils? If you guessed string green beans, mashed potatoes, and lentils, then you are correct! Vegetables and grains are carbohydrates. Also, did you know that different types of beans are not only plant protein sources, but carbohydrates too? 45%-65% of a meal is normally made up of carbs. So, you might be asking yourself, “what are high calorie healthy foods?” Here are some examples:
Healthy Food for Breakfast
- Scrambled eggs or omelet cooked in butter, made with vegetable oil, ham, bacon, and sausage
- Bagel with cream cheese, avocado or peanut butter
- Waffles or pancakes with flaxseeds added to the batter, syrup, nut butter, or chocolate nut butter
Healthy Food for Lunch & Healthy Food for Dinner
- Burgers and sandwiches made with extra meat and cheese, bacon, mayo
- Tuna or chicken salad with eggs, pickles, onions, croutons
- Meat, cheese, and fruit trays
- Spaghetti with red, white, and meat sauce topped with meatballs
- Quesadillas, tacos, burritos, with beef, chicken, guacamole, refried beans
For more ideas on high calorie foods, check it out here: https://patient.uwhealth.org/healthfacts/416
Fats are not just the extra tissue in the form of “rolls” around certain areas of our body. For some reason, when we read the word “fats” our minds goes to this image. Thankfully, fats are a high calorie healthy foods and a dense nutrient that is necessary for our body to function.
To illustrate, both food and the body have fat and use it for a specific purpose. Below are descriptions of how fats are used in the Body and Food.
- Fats are solid are room temperature, oils and liquids including fats are not Food
- Our body stores fats as the highest and most important energy Body
- 3,500 calories is equivalent to 1 lbs. body fat Body
- Foods that are labeled fat free are not 100% free of fats Food
- Our body’s are insulated by fats and are present in our cells Body
- Fats help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins Food
- There is 95% of fats in triglycerides, other fats are phospholipids Body
- Fats in the body can store unabsorbed drugs that may have been taken years ago (Beseler) Body
- Coconut oil, palm oil, and animal fats are mostly saturated fat Food
- Plant oils like canola, safflower, and corn oil are mostly unsaturated fats Food
Doing & Being Healthy
As we summarize up what a healthy individual is and does, it’s important to understand that the list is infinite. Being healthy is subjective, varies in each culture, and varies in each individual. For instance, a person with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may have a different way of doing healthy activities that would help reduce inflammation. Studies show a person with SLE can walk at an intensity at 70% of their maximum heart rate 3x a week starting with 25 minutes per session each week without aggravating the illness (Ayán & Martín, 2007). Always consult a doctor, nurse practitioner, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietician, or health care specialists in a related field if you have an illness and want to achieve more physical activity safely. Not to mention, it’s a good idea to check up on your health status too- physical, mental, and dietary!
Ayán, C., & Martín, V. (2007). Systemic lupus erythematosus and exercise. Lupus, 16(1), 5–9. https://doi.org/10.1177/0961203306074795
Beseler MS, RD, LD, CDE, L. B. (2003–2011). World’s #1 Quick Reference Guide. BarCharts, Inc. 1214.
Moss, Ph.D., D. M. & Applied Psychophysiological & Biofeedback. (n.d.). Biofeedback, Mind-Body Medicine, and the Higher Limits of Human Nature | AAPB. Applied Psychophysiological & Biofeedback. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3383