By Jana Mowrer | Contributed
MPH, RDN at Everyday HealthWins
March hosts several opportunities to highlight the role food and nutrition plays in our everyday lives.
National Nutrition Month focuses on the importance of individuals making informed choices which include forming healthy eating habits and incorporating regular movement into their everyday routine.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, celebrated on March 8th, increases awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists in their role as the nation’s food and nutrition experts.
This year, “Put Your Best Fork Forward” was chosen as the theme for NNM 2017 which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Making small changes – Everyday HealthWins – during the month of March and over time, helps improve your health now and into the future. So, what better time to start focusing on a healthier lifestyle than during National Nutrition Month?
Personally, I believe the first step in making healthier lifestyle choices is to define what health means for you.
Your definition of health should encompass your own distinct requirements to maintain your personalized health goals and keep your unique lifestyle in mind.
Listed below are three areas to keep in mind when working to achieve optimal health:
Know your numbers. In brief, to lose weight, calories in must be less than calories out. Many times we assume the less we eat the more weight we will lose.
This is not true. We must consume calories to keep our metabolism fired up.
Many times, figuring out how many calories to consume becomes very tricky. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides an excellent resource to estimate your specific needed total calorie per day. You can find the guidelines at Health.gov or go to https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
Movement is Key. Daily physical activity is a key component to maintaining life-long health and functional abilities.
Walking is one of my favorite recommendation to individuals who are just getting starting. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to engage in physical activity.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 year.
For additional health benefits, 300 minutes per week is recommended. With muscle-strengthening activities recommended 2 or more day a week.
Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends individuals between the age of 26-64 years slumber for 7 to 9 hours per night.
Not getting enough sleep can contribute to increased weight, increased stress hormones and general lack of productivity throughout your day.