Exercise, weight and water

The food on MyPlate is recommended to keep you healthy but a healthy diet needs to be combined with exercise and a proper weight for you to be physically healthy. Therefore, this section wouldn’t be complete unless we touched upon: 


Combine the  above and you’ve got a recipe for physical health success!!

Lifestyle habits (exercise and water consumption, to name just two) and an awareness of body weight are key to health.

A healthy body weight – not too heavy, not too thin – requires that you eat balanced meals and exercise regularly. So, if you want to be healthy, then no weird diets or meal skipping and no sitting on the couch for hours “exercising” your thumbs!

Let’s discuss exercise for a sec. (Also, see the bonus material on a Healthy Weight at the end of this section.)

According to David Ludwig, MD, in Ending the Food Fight, lack of exercise creates less muscle, which leads to feeling sluggish, low self-esteem, low motivation, boredom and fatigue. All of that can lead to overeating. Overeating creates more body fat, which leads to a slowed metabolism, feeling sluggish, low motivation, low self esteem. Can you see the vicious cycle? You don’t exercise, so you feel sluggish and bored, which leads to overeating, which makes you feel more sluggish and bored and LESS likely to exercise!! 

Physical exercise has even been linked to lowering the effects of obesity: that is, if you are obese, your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease are significantly reduced by being active.

In the end, a balanced diet and an active lifestyle lead to a fast metabolism, better self esteem, feeling energetic, high motivation, and health!! So on a day when you feel “too tired to move” put on your earbuds and go for a 20 minute fast walk or job. Notice how much more energy you have AFTER you exercise, than you did before. Now treat yourself to a big glass of water and a banana with some nuts. 

Another healthy lifestyle choice is to make sure your body is properly hydrated (meaning that your body has enough water). The human body is about 55-75% water. Water is the basis for all the fluids in your body and for all your basic metabolic functions. Being dehydrated can cause:

  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness and cramping
  • lack of concentration
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • poor metabolism
  • constipation

People can have one or some of these symptoms and not know that the solution is as simple as drinking more water!

Sugary sodas, coffee and caffeine-rich drinks do not properly hydrate your body (meaning your body doesn’t absorb water well from them). In fact, the caffeine acts as a diuretic (that means it makes you pee a lot), which further dehydrates you. In most cases, the best method of hydration is: drinking water. (Drinking water is really important, even though it is not shown on the plate.)

Remember to drink ½ your body weight in ounces. So, if you weigh 100 pounds, you would drink roughly 50 ounces of water a day, or about 6 8-ounce glasses. (Soda doesn’t count!) Drink even more on a hot day when the body will need more fluids.

A good thing to note is the color of your urine (yes! your pee…).  It should be relatively clear as opposed to a dark yellow color.  If it is dark yellow, you are not drinking enough water.

Are we really going to end this section talking about your urine? How bizarre. But don’t stop here. Read the rest of the important information in this nutrition section, and then, of course, Nutrition II: Risks and tips and Nutrition III: Mastering your choices.

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What do you do for exercise?

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