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What’s your definition of normal?

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

Someone told me the other day that they chose not to exercise or follow their healthy eating plan over the holidays, because they wanted to just be like “normal” people during that time period.

Starting with Thanksgiving and through New Year’s, they ate, drank and made merry to the tune of several pounds they had previously lost; undoing months of hard work.

We all let loose a little bit over the holidays, but what struck me about the conversation was that this person did not define healthy eating and working out as normal. They haven’t truly made the switch from the mindset of “being on a diet” to changing their lifestyle. 

Adopting a healthy eating and activity plan for life is the best way to lose and maintain your weight and to protect yourself against many diseases. In a healthy eating plan, there is room for the occasional treat, and that allows you to plan for and deal with special occasions and the holidays.

If you make a habit of exercise or other strenuous activity, that becomes your normal pattern, and lying around makes you uncomfortable. Adopting a healthy lifestyle gives you the energy, the strength, and the positive attitude to deal with life’s ups and downs.

A healthy eating plan is one that includes daily servings of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Limit sweets like pies, cookies, cake, candy, sodas, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Combine beans or legumes with grains a couple of times each week for meatless meals. Try for a couple of fish meals each week (not fried), and cut back on red meat. Include healthy fats from olive and canola oil, nuts and avocados.

For good health, try for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. Five 30-minute walks each day will do it, or some other form of activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe harder. 

Wouldn’t it be great if what it meant to be a “normal” person was to be someone who takes good care of your health? My point is that you can define what is normal for yourself. And speaking of definitions here are a few I made up myself:  

“Pair”anormal: Working out and eating healthy on 2 consecutive days.

“Sub”normal: Piling lots of veggies on your sandwich.

“Ab”normal: Including exercise for your core muscles in a strength training routine two or three times each week.

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