Starting on the road to a healthier lifestyle is a goal we have all had on our New year’s resolution list at one point or another. Some of us have made the transition successfully, others are struggling with it on a daily basis.
Regardless of where each of us are on our journey, making the commitment and working every single day to ensure we are on track is paramount.
A healthy lifestyle can be accomplished by tweaking our daily habits one step at a time, it does not have to mean an overnight haul of everything you eat.
A great approach is replacing one bad habit with a good habit every few months as needed to fully incorporate and stick to them in the long haul.
Here are 10 simple tips to living a healthy lifestyle:
1. Surround yourself with supportive people
Your environment and the people you surround yourself with is one of the main component of any goal setting.
As said by Jim Rohn ” you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with”. Look around and ask yourself if the people in your life right now fully support you in every way possible, if you find the answer is not what you want, perhaps it is time to have a chat with them.
We do not give the people in our life enough credit, those who genuinely love you and want the best for you will be on board on this journey, you might even inspire them to take the journey with you.
2. Drink more water
Water is a vital resource for our bodies, but a lot of us do not drink enough on a regular basis. Did you know that we are made up of 40% water and our blood is 90% blood? That a huge margin there, people.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of drinking this wonderful liquid
- It may help with weight loss; thirsty is commonly mistaken for hungry, therefore drinking more water sends a message to the brain saying “hey I am full right now” ergo less snacking on processed junk food.
- It prevents kidney damage.
- It promotes healthy and beautiful skin.
- It helps regulate our body temperature.
- It helps to boost energy during exercise.
3. More fruits and vegetables
Hello, yummy! This is quite possibly my favorite tip for living a healthy lifestyle. Not sure why fruits and vegetables do not get the credit they deserve, this category of food is yummy and come in different interesting colors, for example purple yam, serious.
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of fiber which helps us to feel full without the excessive calories. They boost healthy skin and eyes (Vitamin A), are rich in potassium, help reduce blood cholesterol.
They also contain folate which helps the body in producing red blood cells, the high concentrate of Vitamin C found in them are great for helping the body absorb iron and also in healing wounds.
You should strive to incorporate your plate with half of fruits and vegetables at every meal.
4. Choose whole grains over refined grains
Whole grains are pretty much what refined grains used to be before the best nutrients in them were stripped away.
Whole grains are full of fiber that keeps you full longer, they also provide a steady stream of energy because it takes our body a bit more work to break them down.
Foods that are whole grain include wheat, barley, sorghum, oats, brown rice, bulgur, popcorn, buckwheat.
Be sure to look out for whole grains that are fortified with folic acid, if you do buy grains that are not fortified incorporate folate rich food like legumes, fruits and vegetables.
5. Opt for a form of exercise you enjoy
Exercise is a core necessity for healthy living, as such, it should be something you enjoy to do.
Do you enjoying dancing till your feet hurts? Tackling an opponent to the ground? Seeing the city on your bike? Or is it the competitiveness of pumping weights and doing burpees that gets you going?
Whatever it is that makes you light up and involves sweating it out, then pick that activity because choosing a form of activity you enjoy guarantees you will be excited to work out. If you are a very social person, perhaps consider getting a friend or co-worker to join you.
6. Cut down on processed foods
Quite a large number of food we eat is processed to an extent, for example bagged spinach, it is healthy but can still be somewhat called processed. That category of processed food is not what I mean by”processed”.
A good way to measure what is truly processed and what is not processed can be determined by taking a look at the ingredients on the packaging.
I file processed food under packaged food items containing ingredients that I do not understand or have interesting chemical names. A lot of them are loaded with an obscene amount of saturated fat that your body does not require.
Before you reach for those favorite potato chips you love so much, perhaps consider eating an apple or better yet, make your own batch of homemade sweet potato chips.
7. Choose healthy snacks
Snacking between meals is a good way to avoid overeating at meal times and as such I am an advocate for doing this.
However, it is important to know that the food you reach for at snack time makes a lot of difference, some are much better than others.
Healthy snacks like fruits, yogurt, hummus are great examples to have readily available at snack time.
8. Say goodbye to smoking and drinking
We have all heard it before “smoking and excessive drinking is bad for your health”. Whether you only smoke and/or drink in social settings or just as a way to relax, these 2 habits can be the difference between enjoying your later years or regretting your bad habits.
Smoking wrecks considerable havoc on your lungs and you are not just wrecking havoc on your lungs but on that of the people around when you are smoking, this is known as “second hand smoking”.
There is always the argument that some smokers do live long but how many of those suffer serious illnesses like lung disease. Do you really want to take the chance that you will be an exception to the rule?
Alcohol unlike smoking has a few benefits when consumed in moderate quantity. It is known that having a glass of wine from time to time can help cut the risk of heart diseases or help lower glucose in the bloodstream.
Nonetheless, it is wise to cut it out completely if you know keeping yourself in check to just one glass of wine on occasion is not possible. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to a host of problems such as dehydration, liver damage, packing on excess weight just to name a few.
9. Get enough sleep
During sleep is when our body resets after a long day and getting a good night rest ensures that the decision making part of our brain chooses something in line with what we truly need.
Running on little or no sleep makes reaching for junk food a lot easier because we are just too tired to fight the urge.
10. Be kind to yourself
This lifestyle you have chosen is a lifelong journey and like everything else in life, there will be good and bad days. Some days, you will make the best food choices and other days you might not.
Do not beat yourself up or quit on yourself, keep going and remember to replace any negative self talk with a great positive one. Pat yourself on the back, you’ve got this.