Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle, but there are many other factors that can impact your everyday wellness. Sleep, stress, and hydration also play a role in keeping the body healthy and are necessary to live a balanced lifestyle.
Dehydration can leave the body feeling fatigued and unwell, and can lead to overeating in an attempt to energize the body, or when thirst is mistaken for hunger. Most adults don’t feel thirsty until they are dehydrated, which is why it’s important to drink water throughout the day before you feel thirsty. Dehydration can also disrupt sleep. Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. A lack of energy may lead you to try to refuel through snacks, even though your metabolism slows down to conserve energy when you’re sleep-deprived. Managing your stress is also important because stress can keep you up at night and push you to find comfort in food, both of which will only make you feel less balanced.
Physical activity, in whatever form you enjoy, is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle and can have long-term benefits. Regular exercise can boost your energy levels, improve your quality of sleep, reduce stress and improve your overall mood. In addition, practicing mindful eating throughout the year will help you get the nutrients you need while still enjoying the foods that you love. Practicing mindful eating means eating without distraction, eating slowly so you can really savor it and enjoy the experience, pausing to evaluate your fullness, and only eating until you’re comfortable.
Cone Health understands the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to increase and ensure overall well-being and has an exceptional team of dietitians, physicians, nurses and other related healthcare providers dedicated to educating our community on healthy lifestyle choices.
Laura Watson is a registered dietitian specializing in pediatric nutrition at the Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center. Laura received a Bachelor of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and earned a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.