Living a healthy lifestyle takes time if you’re not used to it and it can feel quite overwhelming when you’re first starting out. Eating well and exercising is something most people do for a couple of weeks before they revert back to their usual routine. (I know I’m certainly guilty of this!) Here are some habits you should implement in your life to become a better version of you.
What To Do?
1. Upgrade Your Diet To A Healthy One
Quit with the crazy diets that you can only keep up for a few days! You should develop eating habits that you can maintain all your life.
- Eat more whole foods in every meal e.g. fruits, vegetables and whole grains and skip the processed foods that are usually loaded with too much salt or sugar. Don’t like vegetables? Smoothies are a great way to pack tons of vegetables into your diet. You can easily mask the flavour of the veggies with your favourite fruits!
- Don’t skip meals. Often people think skipping a meal will help cut down on calories and make them lose weight but it actually slows your metabolism down. Ideally, you should eat five or six small meals every day to keep your metabolism high.
- Drink plenty of water. Water is so important for our bodies. It flushes toxins, prevents constipation and makes your skin look good.
- Eat only when you’re hungry. Sometimes we eat when we’re bored. If you realize you fall victim to this, make sure you keep fruit or chopped vegetables on hand and snack on those. At least you’ll be putting nutritious goodies into your body while you’re mindlessly munching.
- Stop eating when you’re full. Eating until you’re so stuffed that you feel uncomfortable is not healthy so take your time while you’re eating and know that it’s okay to leave food behind on your plate! This also goes hand in hand with portion control. Pay attention to the quantity of food that you put on your plate in the first place.
- Decrease the amount of alcohol you consume. Alcohol contains lots of empty calories and can dehydrate your body which goes against the goal we set of drinking plenty of water. Save the alcohol for special occasions and even then, consume in moderation.
- Don’t deprive yourself. Want something sweet? Go for it! Just avoid processed sugar. There are plenty of ways to curb those sweet cravings without going totally crazy. For example, dates are nature’s candy. Eating a few dates will definitely take care of your sweet tooth. I love sugar and I can never eat more than three Sunsweet dates at a time! (No, this is not sponsored. It just happens to be the brand I usually buy).
Besides losing weight, being active is important to increase energy, reduce stress, improve sleep and… I could keep going.
- Include some sort of exercise into your daily routine. Even 10 mins is better than nothing.
- Make it fun! Take a dance class with a friend or go on a hike. Do whatever appeals to you and gets you moving.
- Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you’re not usually active, don’t decide that you’re suddenly going to take an advanced boot camp workout class. Keep your fitness level in mind when choosing your workout activity. This will prevent you from getting discouraged. You want to challenge yourself a bit but don’t overdo it!
- Record your activity. Place a big ‘X’ on a calendar or keep a fitness journal. This will act as a reminder and a motivator to keep going.
Stress can have a major impact on your overall health. Reducing stress can boost your immune function and improve your mood. Getting sick less often and feeling happier? Sounds good to me!
- Meditation, yoga or just taking time out to sit quietly in a peaceful area of your home can do wonders for your stress level.
- Leave the kids with their grandparents or a gullible, umm… I meant caring, friend for a few hours one day a week.
- Go to the spa or salon.
- Be grateful. Start or end your day by thinking about things in your life that you are grateful for. You can keep a gratitude journal if you prefer to write things down. I have started doing this for the last month or so and it has made the world of difference in my attitude towards life. Thinking about the things we wish were different often causes a lot of stress and you tend to focus on those rather than the good in your life.
Better Quality Sleep
Sleep should not be thought of as something that just gets in the way of all the work we have to do. It is vital for optimum health.
- Create a sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day will reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Don’t take long naps. Limit naps to 15-20 mins in the mid-afternoon. Longer naps can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
- Avoid the tv or computer two hours before bedtime. The light from these devices actually tells our bodies that it’s time to be up and about. Instead, try reading a book and using a lamp that doesn’t shine directly into your eyes.
- Avoid heavy exercise close to bedtime. Vigorous activity can make it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine. Instead, try a warm drink such as chamomile tea.
- Too much on your mind? Try writing your thoughts or a to-do list for the next day in a journal before bed. This can help your mind to relax enough to go to sleep.
- Use a linen spray. Combine a few drops of lavender essential oil with water and spritz it lightly on your bed. Research has shown that Lavender oil promotes sleep.
There are so many other ways that you can create a healthier lifestyle. Just remember it takes 66 days to form a habit so give it time! You’ve been living life the way you do for years so don’t expect to break your usual habits overnight.
Do you have any suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle? Leave your comments in the box below.