If you’re a healthy weight and you feel good most of the time, you might think you don’t need to worry about a healthy eating plan. You might be one of the lucky ones who just instinctively chooses the right foods and never really has to give much conscious thought to what you put in your mouth. Or you might be one of the lucky people who seems to able to eat anything and never have a problem.
If you’re like the rest of us, though, you have to be very careful about what you eat. A healthy eating plan might not be something we all consciously think about, but we should. Most of us try to make healthy choices each time we eat something, and we might even quickly consider what else we’ve eaten that day or week before we eat again. But we usually lack an overall picture of our diets.
Most of us really don’t realize how much fat we eat, for instance. And most of us eat far too much sugar without even knowing it. We don’t usually worry about following a healthy eating plan until we need to lose weight, or until our doctor tells us our cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure is too high. Or worse, our doctor tells us that all of those things need improvement.
That’s when most of us suddenly decide we need a healthy eating plan. But if we had been following a healthy diet, we might have never had health or weight problems to begin with. So it’s never too early to start formulating a plan for healthy eating, not only to stay at a healthy weight (or lose weight, if need be) but to stave off those problems that so many other people face like diabetes and high blood pressure.
If people in your family tend to develop diabetes later in life, or if there’s a history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then the sooner you start following a healthy eating plan, the better. You’ll be less likely to develop those same diseases if you start taking care of yourself now. And the good news is it’s never too late.
You might think you’ve spent 40 or more years eating what you want and you’re probably already headed toward those illnesses—and you might be right. But if you start following a healthy diet today, lose any excess weight, and make conscious choices about what you eat (and how much exercise you get) you automatically lower your risks for developing those diseases.
It’s especially important to follow a healthy diet, not just for yourself, but for your children and other family members. Kids do as they see you do. If you show that nutrition and health are important, your kids are more likely to grow up concerned about health, too. And they’ll have a better chance at avoiding those same illnesses. A healthy eating plan can help you, and get them off on the right foot.