How Are You Feeling? Fit and Healthy? or Something Else?

— Written By Rachel Monteverdi and last updated by

Imagine for a moment, you – at your healthiest. You are active daily, eating healthy meals, your clothes fit right, not tight, and your doctor says your blood pressure, cholesterol, and other lab test results all look great. In fact, since you are at a healthy weight, you have committed to engaging in 40 minutes of moderate exercise every single day to keep the weight off and keep your body moving.

Your family depends on you. They want you healthy. Since there is a prevalence of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, they are proud to know that you are committed to a healthy lifestyle and when you are away from home, you are choosing to supply yourself with healthy meals and snacks. You feel good, you look good, and your overall health is terrific. How does that sound?

This month, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) met to discuss what we are eating, how often we are moving, our ability to access healthy foods, our screen time (cell, tablets and television), and a wealth of other subjects. The bottom line: Our society is obese and many don’t care to make changes until the doctor announces the bad news. News such as, you have a chronic condition and need to alter your lifestyle or suffer the consequences.

No one wants to hear this from their physician so the question is, what can we do now to prevent chronic diseases? Research shows that those who simply monitor what they are eating and how often they are moving aerobically, are far better off than those who do not. Keeping a written, online or mobile food journal can aid in this effort, and help you determine your calories plus specifics such as sodium, sugar, and cholesterol intake.

According to a number of sources, is highly rated, fairly easy to use, and offers a mobile app. Another is https://www.supertracker.usda. gov.

While you are recording what you have eaten for dinner, you can also log to what extent you have been physically active for the day. The relationship between physical activity and healthier outcomes is greater than most of us realize, and physical activity is something each of us can easily accomplish. Whether it’s taking a walk, jumping rope, riding a bike, jogging, swimming, hiking a trail, or just getting busy in the garden, getting moving in some fashion is easier than you think. When we make the effort to engage in some form of activity every day, there is strong evidence connecting that to achieving significantly improved health outcomes. Pregnant women, people with disabilities, and older adults especially should all opt for engaging in some form of activity, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and finding ways to keep their bodies moving.

If you are not ready to make a major life style change, how about considering maintaining your weight during the upcoming holiday season? Many people quickly gain up to as much a 5 pounds during this season. Instead of allowing the weight to accumulate, you are welcome to join the ninth annual Eat Smart, Move More, Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge. The free seven-week challenge provides participants with tips, tricks and ideas to help maintain their weight throughout the holiday season. Sign up to join at There is no better time than the present to take the first step toward enjoying better health and quality of life.

Additional information about the dietary guidelines and physical activity can be found at these websites: 020/topicsobjectives2020/overvie w.aspx?topicid=29

Note: The DGAC is currently developing an advisory report for the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and of Agriculture. This Committee’s advisory report will provide the scientific basis for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Public input is welcome at:


Rachel Harris Monteverdi is a Family & Consumer Sciences Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension, a division of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University. For additional information, call 919-496-3344, email or visit

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