If you're embarking down a healthier path for your life, you may be struggling with the changes, especially if they're dramatic. An example: going from never working out to working out 5 times per week. Or cutting bread and unhealthy sugary foods out of your diet. These habit changes are going to have a major effect on your life but whether you know it or now, your body immediately changes and responds the moment you begin making healthier choices, whether they be small or big.
This should encourage anyone, no matter how stuck they feel or how overweight they may be, that starting today and forgetting all your bad habits from yesterday can truly make a difference. Remember, making these changes reduce your risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes in a big way.
Carb-rich foods cause your blood sugar to rise. When this happens, especially how fast and hot much it increases depends on your body's ability to quickly break down the food. You can measure this through your glycemic index which ranks food on a scale of 0-100 based on how it affects your blood sugar. Foods with a high index cause a sharper spike in blood sugar levels. These spikes increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes and research has tied diets with high-glycemic foods such as white bread, white potatoes, soft drinks and candy to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
If you focus on choosing to control your blood sugar, your body will immediately be able to better regulate it. This works wonders for short-term energy levels. In the afternoon, we can be tempted to have a sugary snack, but if you choose a balanced snack like apple with nut butter or nuts, you are going to sustain your energy levels for the following few hours.
Blood sugar fluctuations also affect your mental clarity and cognitive skills. Low-glycemic foods release a slower, sustained amount of glucose in the body which optimizes focus.
Balance is the key to overall physical and mental health. Exercise can deliver this balance because it helps your breathing which can work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure almost instantly. This not only benefits your cardiovascular system but also your mood. The rush of endorphins during physical activity can immediately boost your mood and reduce stress.
Committing to a healthy lifestyle will cause physiologic changes quickly but the true effect does take time. Delayed gratification is worth the wait in this case but this often causes people to give up. You have to trust your body to make these changes when committing to eating right and being active.
The prize at the end of the day is lifelong good health.