I’ve mentioned it time and time again, being healthy should always be on top of everyone’s priority list. In this day and age, so much advice gets flung at us from so many different directions that it’s hard to be able to tell what exactly we should and shouldn’t do. Here are some tips to help you change your lifestyle and become more healthy.
- Everything In Moderation
The key to healthy eating is to make sure that you eat everything but in moderation. If you try to cut out food groups like carbohydrates from your diet entirely, then you’ll crave them more, and if you end up ordering a plate of pasta in a restaurant, you might feel bad about yourself and like you’ve failed.
But food is supposed to be a joyful experience for you to share with your friends and family, so you should try not to be too strict with yourself. Eat chocolate, but not to excess – a couple of squares in the evening won’t do you any harm. Likewise, a glass of red wine every day contains a lot of antioxidants and will prevent you from the visible signs of ageing. Make sure that you fully enjoy your mealtimes.
- Meal Planning
Meal planning will help you not just with your nutrition, but also with your finances. No one’s saying that you have to decide what exactly you’re going to eat every day that week, and that you aren’t allowed to decide to go out for dinner on the spur of the moment. But having a plan in place will help you spend your money wisely and cut down on ready made food and takeaways. It will also help you try out some new recipes!
Research recipes that will suit you and your plans for the week. Pinterest is my go-to for looking up recipes! Maybe one day you need a quick easy pasta recipe that will take you twenty minutes, but another day you’ll have an hour to really enjoy cooking. Either way, use this chance to be a little experimental with your cooking.
- Cut Out Soda
Cutting down on soda is a great way to reduce your calorie intake. As they don’t add any nutritional content to your diet, sugary drinks are essentially just empty calories, and if you cut them out from your everyday life, chances are you’ll find yourself losing weight and feeling better. However, if you’re a drinker for soda due to the fizz you can always substitute your soda for sparkling water instead!
It’s also a good idea to cut out sugary juices. A glass of orange juice gives you a great vitamin C boost, but an orange and a glass of water will be even more effective at giving you some vitamins and quenching your thirst. Try to cut down on caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea – these may give you a momentary boost, but the comedown isn’t always worth it.
Yoga is the sort of exercise that pretty much everyone can take part in. It’s been around for more than five thousand years and combines deep breathing and meditation with stretches and strengthening poses. If you want, you can focus on one part of your body like your thighs or your stomach, but generally yoga is a full yet gentle body work out that helps to strengthen your core.
If you have a sore back and neck as a result of spending a lot of time at the computer at work, yoga is an ideal exercise for you. Look for a beginners’ class if you’ve never done it before, or check out the YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene – the 30 Days Of Yoga series will get you into the yoga spirit over the course of a month.
- Fitness Buddies
If you don’t enjoy exercising much, try working out with a fitness buddy. Maybe your partner’s also keen to get into shape by doing Couch To 5K with you, or you have a friend who’d love to start Zumba classes. Either way, it’s a great idea to get fit and healthy with someone else. Not only will it force you to get out of the house and actually exercise as you won’t want to let your fitness buddy down, but it will also turn something you might not enjoy into a fun social occasion.
Go out for lunch after your tai chi class, or go back to your friend’s house after your run to watch a movie and eat some butter free popcorn. Making fitness into something you enjoy is the key to working it into your life.
- Strong Not Skinny
Remember to focus on the way you feel and not what the scales say. It’s actually a good idea to stop weighing yourself if you’re trying to get fit – and the emphasis should always be on getting fit instead of getting thin. Muscle weighs more than fat and any good exercise routine will help you build that up. Focus on the way that your clothes feel on your body and how strong you feel.
Aching a little from exertion definitely isn’t a bad thing but get in touch with yourself to figure out if there’s any part of you that’s starting to twinge a little too much. Note to yourself when it’s easier to pick up something heavy or when you’re less out of breath after running up a flight of stairs. This is the true sign of getting fitter and healthier – you should feel better, and enjoy it.
- Exercise In The Morning
The morning is a great time to do some exercise, and if you get in the habit of it then it will start to feel like second nature. No one’s saying that you have to go for a run around the block when it’s still pitch black outside and the roads are icy. On the contrary, devising a fifteen minute exercise routine that you can do inside comprised of crunches, sit ups and press ups, or maybe a short yoga routine, will help you wake up properly and equip you to tackle the rest of your day effectively.
Not only will you feel more alert, but you’ll enjoy your morning shower even more afterwards and chances are you’ll be hungry enough to eat a nutritious breakfast. Try a smoothie, scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast or a bowl of oatmeal with raspberries and blueberries. If you’re full up, you won’t feel the need to snack before lunchtime rolls around.
- Coconut Oil
You’ve probably already heard of coconut oil as the number one thing you should be cooking in as it’s less processed than other oils on the grocery store shelves. But it also has other uses – the coconut oil benefits are more far reaching than you might already know. You can use a small amount as a face moisturizer and as a hair conditioner to keep your skin and locks rich with moisture and free of discomfort. Applying even use it to remove your makeup – if you have acne prone skin, it won’t irritate it at all, and it can also help to reduce wrinkles and the effects of ageing on your face. Aside from using it on your face, you can also use it around your home to polish wooden furniture, lubricate squeaky hinges and clean metal.
- Get Walking
Incorporating walking into your everyday life will help you incalculably. Not only will it help to solve any achy back pains that you might have, but it will also help you get fit and to increase your stamina in a gentle way that won’t cause any injuries or further soreness. Don’t drive everywhere – walk if you can, and if you get public transport to and from work, try getting off a stop early and walking briskly for a little extra time.
At work, make sure that you take the stairs instead of the elevator. They might seem like small things, but every little will help you feel fitter and more confident in your body’s abilities. The fresh air will also be good for you and help to solve any headaches you might have after a day spent inside at work.
- Sleep Well
It’s impossible to feel good during the day unless you’ve had a decent night’s sleep. Caffeine might do the trick for a day – or even a few months if you have a young baby who’s awake a lot at night – but long term, you need to make sure that you have a good sleep routine that gives you energy through the day.
If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, take a warm bath before you go to bed, and indulge in a warm milky drink. Turn off all your devices like your phone and laptop at least an hour before you intend to try to sleep – the blue light can mess with your body’s natural sleep cycle. If you aren’t comfortable in bed, invest in new bedding like a new pillow to help you sleep better.
If your problem is that you’re waking up early, try black out blinds, or ear plugs in case there’s something on the street that’s disturbing you. It also helps to consciously tense and relax your muscles one by one as it enables you to focus on your body instead of letting your thoughts run riot.