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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Denise Stegall, CEO and Curator
The Pillars of Success that lay the Foundation for Health and Happiness
. https://livinghealthylist.com/

The Pillars of Success that lay the Foundation for Health and Happiness

What is a healthy lifestyle?

You want to live a healthy lifestyle but must figure out precisely what that means. You’ve done plenty of research on the internet, which probably has brought up more questions than provided answers. But here’s the reality: the only question you need to ask is, “What is the healthy lifestyle that works for me for now?”

If you ask ten people the definition of a healthy lifestyle, you will get ten different answers. It depends on who you ask. A nutritionist, primary care doctor, and naturopath all follow different philosophies. Some of the contents may be similar but not necessarily the same. Friends and family have their opinions, too.  

For some people eating healthy and exercising is a healthy lifestyle, and yes, that is part of it. For others, it’s taking long vacations or weekly massages. Add into the equation the millions of social media influencers with a program or product they claim will change your life, help you lose weight, and feel great, all in 6 weeks or less.  

As tempting as that may sound, you know how impractical those claims are. The internet is full of advice if you follow this diet or that plan, but what if none of it resonates with you?  

Then what? 

A few years ago, when searching for answers to a health issue I was experiencing, I became overwhelmed with the conflicting information on the internet. It was impossible to get an honest, reliable, or unbiased answer.  Instead of continuing the search for answers, I decided to apply my knowledge and experience to come up with a simple solution. That was the inspiration for launching my business Living Healthy List.  

If you have ever followed a diet plan or participated in a 6-week exercise program, you know that you may begin a program with enthusiasm, but as soon as it doesn’t fit into your daily routine, you quit and feel like you have failed. The issue with many of these programs is that they focus on one thing and are missing a key component, sustainability.

The solution that I conceived is called Healthy Living, Happy Life.  It’s also the title of my International Best-Selling Book which discusses the Pillars of Success that lay the foundation to design a healthy, happy lifestyle that works for you.

The Pillars of Success is a guide anyone can follow and apply to their personal desires, needs and preferences. For several reasons, what works for one person doesn’t work for another. Community, culture, and personal tastes all come into play regarding a healthy lifestyle. The Pillars of Healthy Living, Happy Life are simple and reproducible.

They are: 

  • Eat Real Food
  • Make Good Decisions 
  • Be Accountable.

The Pillars work in progression.  As you start to eat more real foods you’ll notice that you make more good decisions and when you don’t, personal accountability gives you the wiggle room to accept and move on.

So, let’s look at the first pillar, Eat Real Food. 

Your diet, (meaning the food you eat as opposed to being on a diet, meaning a restriction of food and calories) based on real food, may be one of the most important things you can do for your health and happiness.

Real foods are whole foods that are primarily unprocessed, free of chemical additives, and rich in nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, lean meat, poultry, and fish are the staples of a healthy real food diet.

The basic premise of Eat Real Food is consuming foods the way nature intended them (or as close as possible). It’s a lifestyle philosophy, not a diet. 

You may be wondering why real food is important.  Real foods provide your body with the nutrition it requires to function properly. You are then rewarded with a body that feels good with greater energy.  You’ll notice fewer digestive issues, better sleep, enhanced mental clarity, and may even experience weight loss. Though sometimes that takes a little more time.  

Food also influences your appetite and moods. Research shows that certain foods affect specific mood-modifying brain chemicals. Serotonin is released after eating carbohydrates, enhances calmness, and improves mood. High levels of serotonin control appetite and satisfy cravings.  Dopamine and norepinephrine are released after eating protein, enhancing mental concentration and alertness.

Eating real food can significantly affect how you think, look and feel. In a nutshell, eat real food for a healthy, happy life!

The second pillar is Make Good Decisions:

Obviously choosing to eat real food is a good decision. As mentioned earlier, these foods provide enhanced mental clarity allowing you to think clearly and make better decisions regarding your health and other aspects of life. 

Life is about making good decisions.  Some of these decisions require little effort, while others require more time and deeper thought.  The choices you make affect you, your family, your job and can have either short-lived or long-term benefits or consequences.  One good decision follows another creating a positive cycle.

Career, choice of partner, and finance are among those long-term decisions and can have a considerable impact. 

Other minor decisions like drinking water instead of soda, getting 8 hours of sleep, or binge-watching TV programs may seem small, even insignificant, but are they?  

In the short term, probably not.  However, making those decisions repeatedly will negatively affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. Thus, disrupting your ability to think clearly and ultimately make good decisions in other areas of your life.

There are a number of tools to help you establish good decision-making habits.  Visualizing the future that you desire is a great first step.  Write down your goals using the SMARTER goal technique.  You can also improve your decision-making skills with the help of coaching.

The third pillar is Be Accountable (to yourself)

To start it is important to understand accountability, why it is essential, and where it begins.   Accountability is a way of thinking and behaving. Being accountable means that you claim your actions. You can articulate their reason and take responsibility for their outcome and pivot when necessary.

When you avoid accountability and, things, start to go awry, blame, negative thoughts, and hopelessness set in. By eschewing ownership of your decisions, you fall into spectator mode and watch as things fall apart. That could be a new healthy habit, relationship, or career.

Accountability is the difference between your successes and failures, which applies to your career, relationships, finances, and health.

The Three Pillars is a guide you can rely on to create a healthy lifestyle that works for you. The good news is that you don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. Start with your next meal, make one good decision and be accountable to that decision.

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