When first starting out to embark on a healthy lifestyle, you will find many things that come along to try to pull you off your new track. Don’t worry, this is totally normal and mainly due to your mind and body not yet being use to the changes in your lifestyle and your routine. It will take a little time to adjust and can feel a little uncomfortable or strange at first. You may have times when you feel that it is too hard to maintain the changes. Don’t be hard on yourself, it is far more important to make these changes in a way that allows you to enjoy the process as well as to feel and see the benefits. For this reason, it is advisable to make the changes slowly over time, gradually eliminating the bad habits and incorporating the good.
A healthy lifestyle can be broken down into three main areas:
To live a healthy and balanced lifestyle we must ensure that we are eating well, taking regular exercise and have a balanced routine. Point number three really refers to:
- Your eating routine
- Your exercise routine
- Your sleeping routine
Yes, your sleeping routine is also very important. Our body repairs and renews itself when it is at rest and if it is constantly deprived of good sleep then it will not be able to recover itself as efficiently. In time this will lead to depleted energy levels and a weakened immune system.
Here are some practical tips you can follow that will help you along the way and make your journey not only easier but also a far more enjoyable one.
Prioritise your health
Your health is one of, if not your most valued possession. Who wants to go through life not being able to do the things you really want to do because of a health condition? We all have to grow old but we don’t necessarily need to grow into a sick and worn down body. Taking action now and incorporating healthy lifestyle habits will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Yes, some people will suffer various illnesses regardless of what they do and are due to our genetics. However, these people will not experience the illness as severely as they might given a healthy lifestyle. Prioritising good health in your life will also mean that you will usually be able to recover far more quickly from illnesses and injuries if they were to befall you.
Prioritising your health does not mean that you have to never again eat a cheeseburger or a doughnut. No, you can still have these things but do it sensibly. Why do we eat bad foods? Well, generally because we enjoy the taste, they can make us feel good temporarily and they are often convenient. To prioritise your health it is a good idea to strike a balance with your lifestyle that leans in the favour of healthier choices. For example, when it comes to your diet, aim to have around a 80:20 ratio. That is, to ensure that around 80% of the food that you are consuming are healthy foods that will actually benefit your health and the other 20% can be foods that may not be so good but they are things you like and food items that give you pleasure.
Sticking to this ratio will allow you the treats whereas most of your food consumption will be healthy and a benefit to your body.
Planning for better health
As we mentioned earlier, routine is so important to good health and will also make it easier for you to form the good habits and make them stick. Plan when you go to bed and get up in the morning, when you take your exercise and when you eat. You don’t have to stick to it religiously and always go to bed at 9:30pm no matter what, no, that’s no fun! For example, set a bed time for between 10-11pm for example. This hour will give you the flexibility should you need it to complete final tasks for the day, catch up on that book you’re reading or if you need the time to just unwind and relax. Yes of course there will be nights when you go to bed far later for various reasons, but try to keep these to a minimum and stick to your decided bed time for the most part.
Scientists believe that every hour you sleep prior to mid-night actually counts for 2 hours after! So if you can, make use of these precious earlier hours where possible and be sure to get your beauty sleep.
Let people know about your new lifestyle choices
Telling people, your friends and loved ones what you are doing will not only help you stay focused but you will also find great support from those who love you. This support can be really encouraging and can often make the difference between sticking to your new, healthier lifestyle and slipping back into bad habits when it really matters. You may even find that one or two people want to join you along your healthy journey. If this happens then welcome it with open arms and count it as a blessing as your new allies will not only support and encourage you, they will also share with you valuable information that they may learn along their own journey that can also greatly benefit your life as well.
Having health buddies can make it far easier when you visit restaurants together too and some of them may even become an exercise buddy at your local gym! One of my health buddies loves to share delicious and healthy recipes with me when she finds them, while another loves to come to the gym with me to work out. We constantly find inspiration and motivation in each other and greatly value the information that we share.
How to start a healthy lifestyle
Here’s a helpful video on how to start a healthy lifestyle