Not feeling like your healthy, vibrant self lately? We’ve all been there. Implementing healthy habits and making lifestyle changes can be intimidating and many of us just aren’t sure where to start.
And while it’s easy to blame pizza and call it a day, you know for long-term health it’s much better to figure out how to start a healthy lifestyle — specifically, one based on sound habits.
By focusing on just three areas of your life — sleep, diet, and physical activity — you might be able to put the pep back in your step and reap the health benefits for years to come.
Continue reading for some tips on living a healthier life, the easy way. But before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet, talk to your doctor. They will be able to tell you whether or not these methods will work for you.
A Healthier Tomorrow Starts With A Good Night’s Sleep Today
When figuring out how to start a healthy lifestyle, taking a look at your current sleep habits and practices — collectively known as sleep hygiene — can be one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health.
According to the CDC, over 35 percent of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night.1 A chronic lack of a good night’s sleep is associated with weight gain and increased production of the “stress hormone” cortisol.2
So how can you improve your night’s sleep to wake up feeling ready to take on the day? Try these two easy habit changes.
1. Stop Taking Your Phone To Bed With You
A study published in Social Science & Medicine concluded bedtime phone use was a predictor of increased fatigue, insomnia, and a later self-reported wakeup time.3
Quick Tip: Leave your phone to charge across the bedroom (or better yet, the kitchen if you don’t use it as an alarm). The inconvenience of having it out of reach may be enough to avoid social media’s siren call.
2. Eat And Drink For A Good Night’s Sleep — That Means Cutting Out Sugar And Caffeine At Night
While caffeinated beverages get most of the heat for keeping people up, sugary drinks are no friend to a quality night’s sleep either. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine published a study concluding that a diet high in sugar is linked to less restful sleep with more instances of waking up throughout the night.4
Quick Tip: Try switching to water or sugar free sweetener drinks with dinner. If you are used to having coffee in the evenings, switch to decaf and cut out the sugar and sugary creamers. Try unsweetened vanilla almond milk for delicious flavor without the sleep-depriving side effects.
Healthy Eating Habits For A Healthy Life
We all know eating unhealthy foods has a negative effect on our health and can cause weight gain.5
So, everyone should just start eating healthy meals, right? Well, as anyone who has tried a strict diet with measly portion sizes to lose weight or feel better can tell you, it’s a lot easier said than done.
Try these two healthy eating habits that center on what you do get to eat and drink rather than what you don’t.
Focus On Adding More Nutrient-Rich Foods
While counting calories and reading food labels are helpful tools on a weight loss journey, increasing your vitamins and minerals should be a priority at every meal.
According to estimates by the USDA, only 11 percent of the average American diet is comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.6 These are foods high in vitamins and minerals, and they’re vital to a healthy diet.
Quick Tip: Don’t fixate on cutting foods out. Instead, make healthier swaps and add nutrient-rich foods. For example, if your normal breakfast is eggs and white toast, switch the white to whole wheat and add a cup of blueberries.
Don’t Be Afraid To Eat Healthy Fats.
Despite what many people think, it’s important to get healthy fats into your diet each day, even when working towards weight loss goals. Healthy fats are an essential part of your diet. Try adding these into your diet or swapping out some of your foods with these healthy fats:
- Olive oil
- Oily fish like salmon
Of course, talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about making any drastic changes to your diet.
Sustainable Fitness Starts With Doable Fitness Goals
There’s a saying: the best workout plan is the one you actually do. According to experts, less than 5 percent of Americans get their recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day.7
Where do you start if you’ve been lacking on exercise? Try these two accessible fitness habits.
Adopt A Walking Workout For Weight Control
A Harvard Medical School study looking at the correlation between weight-promoting genes and actual body weight discovered participants who took daily brisk walks for about an hour reduced the effects of those genes by half.8
Quick Tip: Turn your walks into a social affair by having standing exercise dates with friends and family. Try to walk first thing in the morning or shave an hour off of TV time after dinner.
Elevate Your Mood (And Motivation) With Weight Training
Your fitness goals will always feel far more feasible when you’re in high spirits. According to results from a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, incorporating two or more days of resistance training each week may help significantly boost mood.9
This is promising news for anyone at the beginning of their fitness journey and not feeling particularly positive about it.
Quick Tip: If the idea of pumping iron in public stresses you out, begin with a set of free weights you can use in the comfort of your own sanctuary.
A Healthy Lifestyle Is Easy With Solid Habits
Incorporate these six healthy habits into your routine to reap the long-term health benefits that only consistency can provide. Here’s to you and better health.