Weight loss is a growing trend, particularly as obesity affects more Americans every year. A person’s reason for losing weight will vary, whether it’s to feel more fit, look more attractive, or have better self-esteem. But health is a lot more than just a number on the scale. Making healthy choices that develop into habits will keep you fit and energized, leading to a longer life with less risk of disease. What’s more, staying physically healthy will improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Lifestyle Mentality

Focusing on lifestyle, rather than weight loss, will help you to feel like you are rewarding your body instead of punishing it. Make small changes every few weeks that you will be able to maintain for a long period of time. Pay attention to the signals your body is giving you, rather than forcing yourself to go hungry or simply powering through a day of exhaustion. Give your body what it needs by eating healthy portions, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. There are several healthy diets for women and men that focus on lifestyle changes instead of quick-fixes and trends.

Elevated Mood

One of the best ways to improve your mood is through exercise. Increasing your heart rate releases endorphins, making you feel happier. Regular exercise will also increase your dopamine levels, a chemical which is essential for combating mental illness and addiction.

In addition to exercise, your mood depends on getting the right vitamins. Vitamin D deficiency is correlated with depression, and the majority of Americans are lacking in many essential vitamins. Lean proteins, vegetables, and dairy are full of vitamins, but supplements can also help you to get the nutrients you need.

More Energy

The type of food you eat affects you just as much as the amount of food you eat. Junk food may taste good, but it leaves you feeling moody and bloated. Instead, avoid processed foods and stick with something more natural. Eating protein for breakfast will give you some quick energy to kickstart the day. Fruit, like apples, bananas, and berries, will provide healthy sugars to give you energy. Whole grains and complex carbohydrates will sustain your activity for longer periods of time.

Are you bogged down by a headache or lack of sleep? Skip the caffeine and drink some water instead. Not only can water help to prevent and reduce headaches; it will also increase your ability to perform physically and mentally. Water helps your body to flush out toxins and waste, keeping you feeling fresh and energized.

Higher Mental Capacity

Like your mood and energy levels, your physical health is also strongly linked to your brain power. Things like lowering cholesterol, avoiding tobacco, and limiting your alcohol intake will help you to think better and focus more.

Your mental capacity also depends upon your quality of sleep. Just an extra half an hour of sleep can make a huge difference in your ability to remember things. Sleep also affects a variety of brain functions, like your emotional capacity, your ability to make decisions, and your susceptibility to disease.

Improved Metabolism

A healthy lifestyle will improve your metabolism, which is also closely linked to your mental health. Eat regular, well-portioned meals to keep your hunger in check and to balance your metabolic rates. A diet rich in protein slows the rate at which your body breaks down grains, meaning that you stay full longer.

Your activity levels will also affect your metabolism. Increased muscle mass allows you to burn more calories while at rest. Use variety in your exercise routine to keep your brain engaged and to target different muscle groups. Interval training combines cardio and strength exercises to build muscle mass and burn more calories.

Greater Self-Esteem

Physical health will also improve your self-esteem. Maintaining a positive body image will make you feel more confident, which will help you feel more motivated to work hard and be successful. As you continue to set and achieve fitness goals, your self-esteem will improve.

Physical, mental, and emotional health are all connected. Eating a proper diet, staying physically active, and getting enough sleep all contribute to your mood, energy, and overall well-being. Take the time to invest in yourself so that you can live a long and healthy life.