If you’re going to be (and stay) healthy, you need to develop some good habits. And when it comes to your health, it’s best not to put it off till tomorrow. These are habits that you need right now.
Lifestyle issues are often the cause of many chronic diseases. We all know about the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Yet we tend to not exercise as much as we should. Too frequently we let convenience get in our way, becoming overweight and eating unhealthy foods that lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
The problem with lifestyle issues is that they are difficult to turn around. You need to develop new habits, and this is better done slowly, one step at a time. If you try changing your lifestyle all at once, you’re going to find it very tough. When people try to do this – even with the very best of intentions – they find so hard that the result is frequently a return to their old ways.
If you set the bar too high, or the task you have set yourself can’t be managed, it’s more than likely that after a few weeks, or months, you become overwhelmed. You stop exercising and go back to eating processed foods and junk foods. Failures like this make it even harder next time you want to try to rid yourself of those negative health habits that have been dogging you for years.
This is why it is better to change your health habits one habit at a time so that you don’t become overwhelmed and stop trying to be healthy altogether.
Most weight loss programs work if they are done carefully and don’t deprive the individual too much. The same is true of exercise programs. If you choose an exercise that you really enjoy or increase your physical activity more gradually, you can usually stick to the program so that you don’t become discouraged and quit exercising altogether.
The trick to health living is to begin gradually. Don’t try any trendy diet or fitness fad. If you try these things with gusto, you are likely to become overwhelmed and respond negatively. When that happens you’ll start finding excuses to not stick with the programs.
5 Good Habits for Health
There are a few simple things you can do to live a happier and healthier life. Think of these as tweaks to your current routine – rather than all-of-life changes. It will be easy to turn these little adjustments into lifetime habits for good health.
See how easy it is to start with just these 5 changes.
1. Eat at least one healthy meal a day
Even if you do eat processed foods most of the time, making a change to include just one healthy meal each day will pay big dividends. You body will flourish from the good nutrition and healthy proteins you are giving it.
So what do we mean by healthy meals? They should consist of mainly fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grain products, and lean meats.
It doesn’t matter how much you eat because, when the food is healthy for you, it won’t usually contain a lot of calories. This in turn means that it won’t cause weight gain – as happens with junk foods or highly processed foods. Even so, you should still try to watch your portion sizes.
2. Drink a glass of water before each meal
Water is perhaps the best liquid you can drink, and many recommend drinking up to 8 glasses a day. This not only helps your cells to regenerate, it also helps to stop you getting hungry.
This is like a little trick to play on your stomach. When you drink a glass of water before meals, (an 8-ounce glass is enough), you will feel fuller before eating. Your stomach feels full, so send out signals that says you don’t need to eat much more. The result? You won’t eat as much at the meal that follows a drink of water.
3. Be active during your lunch break
There are many reasons to use your lunch break positively. Even if you are only given a half-hour to eat, it usually doesn’t take that long to eat your meals. Try eating your meals and then take some time to exercise.
You don’t have to work out excessively but you should be able to take a brisk walk. Not only will this energize you but also it will help burn off the calories you just ate and will aid in the digestive process.
It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do as long as you choose something reasonable that will help you feel better after eating your lunch. Exercising during lunch also helps decrease the stress of your job and will make the rest of your day go easier.
4. Try a meal replacement bar
Many of us are in the habit of snacking through the day. It might be to keep your energy up and help you stay focussed on your job, or it might be for some other reason. If this is you, try this out. Keep some healthy protein bars handy, and use them to snack on instead of junk foods.
Most meal replacement bars contain a lot of good nutrition and fiber. They are also not as calorie-rich as you would think. They help stave off hunger pangs that are so typical of the midafternoon time.
Keep a stash of these protein bars in your desk at work or in your purse or brief case so you can grab one whenever you feel hungry. It will keep you from going to the vending machines and eating poor food choices. Try eating a meal replacement bar that is high in fiber and that has at least 10 to 15 grams of protein per bar.
5. Exercise regularly
All exercise is good for you. The trick is to turn it into a regular habit. Whatever you do – walking, running, swimming, work-out at the gym – make it a regular activity. This means scheduling. Buddying up with a partner is a great trick. It stops you putting it off of two or more of you are there.
If you have a gym membership, try going there at least 3-4 times per week. Choose an activity you enjoy and make the most of it for at least a half hour per session. This will help energize you, may build muscle mass, and will help you lose weight by burning off excess calories.