If you want to be healthy and live long, have a good quality of life, be active as you age, you need to adopt sustainable wellness practices. It is not enough to have a long life if your quality of life is compromised. And physical health depends a great deal on nutrition and activity.
What Does Sustainable Wellness and Well-Being Entail?
Ideally, when you are healthy and active, you can work to your best abilities, you are emotionally invested, you are financially secure (or working toward it), spiritually grounded, happy, and satisfied.
Reality can be quite different: you may not be healthy, you may be overweight, suffer from diseases, struggle financially, or in relationships. To understand how to live happily and sustain your results, we have to understand what the 7 main dimensions of wellness are.
The 7 Dimensions of Wellness
Health is of paramount importance. This involves eating the right foods, getting enough nutrition, not putting on weight, exercising for improved fitness. It also entails getting enough rest and sleep, avoiding bad habits, reducing stress, and more. For physical health, all these factors need to be balanced.
Emotional wellness refers to the ease of expressing different feelings. You need to channel negative emotions like anger and frustration and make them work for you. If you need to work on your emotional problems, you should seek appropriate help, if required.
You should be mentally alert, exercise your mind just as you do your body. Whether that means cultivating a hobby or learning something new, just go for it. Unless you challenge yourself, you will not know what you can achieve. Living is a constant learning process, and you should not allow yourself to stagnate.
Spiritual does not necessarily mean religious. You should have a moral compass, some faith, hope, certain belief, and principles that you abide by and follow. These give you spiritual grounding and help you overcome the difficulties of life. Mindfulness is another aspect of this – staying in the present while being aware of the impact of your actions in the future.
The environment affects our physical and emotional well-being. When you follow practices that cause the least harm to your environment, you will leave a better place for your children and those who come after you. Reducing polluting practices, reusing whatever can be reused, recycling, creating minimal waste, and reducing your carbon footprint will help conserve the environment.
When you live in a society, you build relationships with not just your family members but also your workplace, your school, your friends, and your community. Interpersonal interactions help you grow in different ways and contribute to sustainable wellness.
- Occupational or vocational
Your work should not only be financially rewarding but should also be challenging so that you can grow and find purpose in daily life. When you have job satisfaction, you are in a better place in all aspects of your life. And if you do not experience this, you can always work toward changing your job, career, or your vocation at any point in your life.
What Is the Meaning of Sustainable Wellness?
As you can see, this concept is holistic and encompasses all aspects of your life. Everything is connected, and each aspect has a bearing on the other. If you are physically not well, it has a direct impact on your emotions and your overall well-being.
The same goes for work and finances. Inability to work well or feeling that you are always struggling financially also has an effect on your health and well-being.
On the other hand, when you are physically fit and healthy, you are more productive, able to get more out of your day, dedicate time for social and spiritual activities, and be happier.
And when you are able to sustain this over time, you are not only healthier, physically fit but also can ward off disease more easily.
Your environment also has an impact on your health. If the air is polluted, it has a direct effect on your health and your life. If the food you eat is highly processed, chemically polluted, has a lot of pesticides, it affects your health quite directly.
Sustainable also means that you take care of the earth. So it is best that you:
- Reduce waste.
- Restrict the use of plastic.
- Drink water in reusable bottles.
- Compost whatever is compostable.
- Buy local and organic as far as possible.
- Decrease your intake of pre-made foods that are full of preservatives and chemicals.
- Wear your clothes longer and avoid fast fashion.
- Buy pre-used sports equipment and other items to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Don’t contribute to the wastage of precious resources, whether water, electricity or food.
- Use environmentally-friendly products.
All these will help sustain the planet and improve your health.
What Are the Main Principles of Sustainable Wellness?
To be physically healthy, you have to start with your diet. The food you eat provides you with energy and nutrition, and both are important for health.
Food and diet
A healthy and balanced diet is vital, so it is in your best interests to eat:
- Complex carbohydrates
- High fiber foods
- More plant foods, including fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, lentils, and beans
- Some low-fat and good-quality meat, poultry, and fish
- Low-fat dairy
- Fewer trans fats and unhealthy oils
- Less salt
- Omit sugar and sweets as much as possible
- Don’t eat highly processed and junk foods
Follow a guided eating plan and have a varied diet so that you stay healthy.
Sleep and rest
Aim to get at least 7–8 hours of restful sleep at night. Practice good sleep hygiene habits, going to bed at the same time every day. Don’t procrastinate and compromise on your bedtime unless absolutely unavoidable.
If you suffer from insomnia, look for help to treat it. You can even try natural remedies that help. Avoid stress and consider meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises to help calm you down.
Drink sufficient water during the day – aim to get at least 2–3 liters of water daily. You can include certain liquids like tea and coffee in your liquid intake, according to the latest research but still make sure to drink enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
You must include exercise for your wellness and physical well-being. Whether you follow a structured routine of going to the gym, going for a daily jog, or adopt any other physical fitness regimen, it is important. You can get physically fit, avoid aches and pains, lose weight, get a more toned body, and stay healthy. You should exercise for 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week.
Fasting enables you to stay at a healthy weight and reduces the risk of many diseases related to obesity. Instead of following a strict diet plan, you can adopt intermittent fasting. Any kind of intermittent fasting schedule will help.
You can start by fasting for 12 hours in the night hours and feeding in the rest of the 12 hours. And then, you can gradually increase your fasting hours till you work up to 14:10 for women and 16:8 for men. If this kind of daily eating plan does not suit you, you can fast once or twice a week or on alternate days, restricting your diet to the bare minimum on those days.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can intermittent fasting be a lifestyle?
When you get the results you are looking for, you can surely adopt intermittent fasting as a lifestyle. Just make sure that your sustainable wellness goals are aligned with your dieting goals. You can easily be living an intermittent fasting lifestyle. And the 12:12 intermittent fasting plan is easily achievable.
2. Does intermittent fasting need to be done every day?
Do you find the daily schedule very difficult to follow and restrictive? You can actually follow a different intermittent fasting plan. You can do intermittent fasting twice a week; this is known as 5:2 intermittent fasting. You are only allowed 500–600 calories on the fasting day.
The most popular version of IF is the 16:8 plan. If you surf the internet, you will find many 16:8 intermittent fasting success stories.
3. How much weight can you lose on 16:8 intermittent fasting?
Like other diet plans, on intermittent fasting, you will initially lose water weight. However, on a sustainable basis, you can expect to lose 1–2 pounds weekly.