Moving over to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t just wake up one day and you are instantly healthy in everything that you do. It is a gradual process of integrating healthy habits into your daily life. I know it can feel completely overwhelming with where to start when you want to make a change. So instead of trying to change your life completely, start by introducing some healthy habits one by one. They say it takes 17 days (numbers vary and I doubt if there is concrete proof) for a habit to kick in. Start with one or two things first, conquer those and then move on to more. If you really don’t know where to start, read on. I thought I’d share some great healthy habits that are easy to incorporate into your life today and will help set the ball rolling towards a healthier happier life.
- Get moving in the morning – Exercise in the morning is one of the best ways you can start your day. It gets the blood pumping, kick starts your metabolism, wakes you up and energises you for the day ahead. If you aren’t someone that can get up and do an intense workout first thing, then you should still at least try to get in some form of movement. Even if it’s gentle jog/walk or a yoga session it’s better than doing nothing. Exercising in the morning also puts you in the healthy mind frame for the rest of the day, so you will make healthier choices as the day goes on. If you feel overwhelmed with getting up and doing a one-hour workout, then start by committing to ten minutes of movement each morning. You’ll never notice getting up five minutes earlier so every couple of weeks set the alarm slightly earlier. As the weeks go on you will be able to progressively increase the time exercising. Before you know it you’ll be up and getting a good workout in for an hour or more.
- Cut ‘added’ sugar – Sugar has to be one of the worst things you can consume when you are looking to lose weight or get healthier. Now when I talk about sugar, I’m talking about the processed kind and not the natural sugars you find in whole natural foods, such as fruit. Processed sugar has no nutritional value to the body and strips nutrients as it passes through the digestive system. It’s called empty calories for a reason. In fact, recent studies have shown that sugar has similar addictive effects on the brain as cocaine. So when you consume it you will want more. Sugar also spikes your insulin levels, which leads to increased fat storage in the body. This is why it’s important to start cutting it from your diet. The bad thing about sugar is it’s in almost every food that we enjoy. Start reading your food labels and become more aware of what foods contain added sugars. Then start to cut those out. Apparently it can be quite intense when you first cut sugar as the body goes through withdrawal symptoms, but once it’s out of your diet you will feel so much better for it.
- Meal plan and prep – If you want to eat healthy then you need to get organised with your food. One of the weekly habits I have in my life that helps so much, is my meal planning and prepping. Once a week I will work out what I’ll be making, write down my shopping list and then stick to that at the supermarket. Then I spend a couple of hours cooking in bulk so I can have lots of healthy food on hand during the week. It can seem like a lot of work to begin with but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
- Get plenty of sleep – Getting a good night’s rest is so important to a healthy lifestyle. When you sleep properly your body is able to function better, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too. Poor sleep can also slow your metabolism, which is why it’s so important to get enough sleep. This amount varies from person to person, but the rule of thumb is that you should not feel tired when you wake in the morning. If you are one to go to bed late because you stay up late watching T.V. or are on social media, start by restricting these things one hour before your planned bedtime. Get yourself into a nightly ritual before bed that will allow you to unwind and get to sleep easily. Things like reading, taking a hot bath, meditation or some gentle stretching can be hugely beneficial to getting off to bed and into a deep sleep more easily.
- Remove negative self-talk – Being healthy isn’t just about having a healthy body, it’s also about having a healthy mind and outlook on life. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and put ourselves down so much. The mind is a powerful thing, but like everything, it can be trained to get the outcome we desire. Negative thoughts will often appear when you start something new. That could be exercise or healthy eating. The negative voice will always tell you that you cannot do it. Ask the negative voice this is question; WHY?
Why? is the best question you can ask. Every time your negative voice talks, ask it why? Then when it answers, turn that negative answer into a positive. I often encounter this when people start to train. They think that they cannot do something, so I ask them why they think that. If they have a reason (some just answer “I don’t know”) then I try to turn it back around on them again with a positive. Their answer is usually “I’ve never done this before”, to which my positive voice would answer “great, this is new and I’ve never done this before so it’s going to be an achievement once I have finished”.
Soon, you will start to believe the positives and the negative voice will start to lose the battle. Once you win this battle your confidence levels start to soar and you will start to notice.
Now remember you don’t need to try and do these all at once. Start with one or two, let them become good solid habits in your life and then move on to the next.
You don’t just need to stick to these either. Sit down and think about what habits you can create for yourself that will help you achieve your goals. I hope you’ve got some good ideas here of some great healthy habits that you can introduce into your life today.
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