Most people want to improve their health but at times making healthy choices isn’t easy. There always seems to be some special occasion or distraction that directs our focus away from health and we fall into the trap of “I’ll start tomorrow or next week”. Sound familiar?
Leading a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean the end of your social life or mean that you must dramatically change your plans. There are simple, easy habits that can be formed and incorporated into your everyday lifestyle to ensure you’re taking small yet significant steps toward creating healthier habits.
Step 1: Make more time to be more active!
Working out in a gym, walking the dog, doing a fitness class, take walking meetings, go cycling, go swimming, take the stairs instead of taking the lift – anything which means you’re sitting less will help.
Step 2: Drink more water
Water has endless health benefits, make that your first choice of drink throughout the day. Try to drink at least 2 litres a day. Avoid fizzy and sugary drinks containing calories
Step 3: Sleep more
It’s advised that 7-9 hours of sleep is optimal for adults. And by this we mean lights off, phones down, dark room and switch off. Sleep is not something you can compromise on.
Step 4: Plan ahead and prepare
It’s important if you can, where possible, plan and prepare your meals in advance. If you leave yourself hungry with nothing prepared, your body will naturally crave the higher calorific, often sugar based options. Buy some tupperware containers (or use the old takeaway containers), learn some simple recipes, many of which can be found online and prep your lunches and plan/buy your (healthy) dinners a couple days in advance
Step 5: Prioritise ‘whole foods’
Vegetables, fruit, lean meat, fish, grains, legumes (beans, peas, pulses and nuts). Your body will thank you if you ignore processed options and consume these as at least 80% of your daily/weekly nutrition. Make protein a staple part of every meal.
Step 6: Stress less
Life can be hard sometimes but try not to let problems, worries and anxieties become bottled up inside you. Talk through what is worrying you or stressing you with a loved one, this can help mitigate your stress levels and their support can prove invaluable. If you are stressed your body will be resistant to making physical improvements.
Step 7: Health isn’t just about the body
The mind is a powerful thing and it’s important you take care of this as well. Be social, prioritise meaningful relationships and look to grow and enhance them. Maybe look to take up a new hobby but make time to have fun. Create that balance in your life that you can find a place that feels happy and right for you.
Perhaps the most important part of sticking to healthy habits is to remember that it’s okay to not be perfect! It’s about finding balance and doing what makes you feel truly happy and healthy.