It is all over this website (and for all I know, all over the internet, friendship circles, social media and so on) – in order to improve yourself you have to improve your life and that is partnered with adopting a healthier lifestyle. Now, for different people this may mean different things; and for others, it might even seem like an unobtainable goal. Example? You are a single mother of three teenagers with a full time job and everywhere you look, the health nuts’ advice is: slow down (with 3 teenagers who usually live life at 210 mph?! Impossible….), take time for yourself (to this you can only laugh and shake your head), eat healthy (there were tomatoes on last night’s pizza delivery, weren’t there?) …. You get the idea, don’t you? HEALTHY LIFESTYLE = SEEMINGLY UNOBTAINABLE GOAL. Yes. Many people want to start living healthier, become stronger and fitter. They just don’t know where to start, how to incorporate it into their chaotic lives and they are just too worn out to start to figure out what “healthy lifestyle” even means.
So, let me help you with that. You are reading this. Regardless of where you are on your personal fitness scale (wheezing rhinoceros or spinning kolibri or anything in between), regardless of what you already know about the topic of healthy lifestyle or whether or not you consider yourself health-smart: I bid you ALL a hearty welcome and say kudos for reading this post inspite of its title 😉
I imagine the fact you are “here” means you want to change or at the very least you want actual straightforward information. Well, you have come to the right place. So, lets take a look! And please bear in mind that a change of your habits won’t happen overnight. Its a long winding road and we all have to take it one step at a time. Don’t get discouraged if the changes ahead scare or intimidate you. Rome wasn’t build in a day. Your healthy YOU won’t be either! But oh, what a beautiful city Rome is now 😉
Accept Yourself Exactly The Way You Are
…. suprised? You are wondering how that is possible, aren’t you – how you can possibly accept yourself as you are while at the same time you are supposed to make drastic changes in your life(style). But really, one doesn’t have to be the opposite of the other! Quite the contrary. Most of us beat ourselves up daily about something or other that just isn’t as it should be, that just isn’t “enough” – not slim enough, not smart enough, not funny enough, not fast enough …. we look at ourselves and tend to see all the things we should or would like to change. Lose those pounds, look healthier, get that sixpack we always dreamed of instead of the bearbelly pouch we sport. However, the more we beat ourselves up the more negative emotions we cause within ourselves which in turn leads to the release of stress hormones (http://vitalisvitae.com/negative-emotions-affect-health) which in turn drains us of any last bit of energy to actually move our butts to really do something about it. I want you to take a minute to think of ten (yes ten!) things you like about yourself. If thats too hard then think of ten things that others like about you. Your humor, your wit, your helpfulness, your voice, your eyes, your laughter, your ideas, your reliability and so on. Make a list. Write it down. Yeah, you may be ranking more in the wheezy rhino category right now but that doesn’t make you less of GREAT person! As soon as you start liking and appreciating yourself again you will see that it will get SO MUCH EASIER to find the energy and the willpower to improve the already great you on the aspects of health, fitness, weight etc. And whenever you doubt: look at your list and ADD your new achievements 🙂 it WILL work. Trust me!
Have Fun, Be Happy, Laugh Out Loud
Here is a simple equation for you that even the math dummies (of which I am one by the way) among us should be able to solve: when do you feel better? When you smile/laugh or when you frown/cry? Go ahead and think: DUH! Thats easy. But how does that relate to having influence over starting to live a healthier life? Having a positive outlook on life can boost those positive hormones and make you literally stronger – your immune system, your resilience. But laughing and having fun also boosts your metabolism, allows you to burn calories faster and be overall more enthusiastic and committed to, for example, working out. My advice is to start trying to look at what you have already achieved instead of all the things still left to do. And occassionally, it may be really liberating to laugh about yourself. Say you join a gym for the first time in years and after two weeks and maybe 5 work-outs (of which 3 were semi-serious because your muscles hurt so bad it was hard to lift a spoon let alone a weight) you suddenly catch yourself in the mirror in your tight tank top flexing your biceps, completely convinced of the fact that you already see a MASSIVE change …… please laugh. In a good way. And you know what? 4 weeks later you WILL see a change 🙂 so be positive! And go lift those weights ;-)))
Yeah, that one is pretty much a no-brainer. Getting healthier while you keep on hitting the McDrives, Pizza Huts and Taco Bells – nah, that really won’t work. Sorry – but on this aspect you really are in for a major change. A healthy diet is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Simple as that. A healthy diet means a balanced diet that includes food choices from all of the food groups:
- Carbohydrates. This group contains starchy foods such as pasta, rice, oats, potatoes, noodles, yam, green bananas, sweet potato, millet, couscous, breads, breakfasts cereals, barley and rye
- Protein. Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
- Milk and dairy products. Cheese, milk, spreads, jogurt etc
- Fruit and vegetables. “eat a rainbow”. That is, choose vegetables and fruits of all colors: orange, red, yellow, green, purple. The more colors your diet includes, the healthier it is.
- Fats and Sugars.
Start cooking. Start learning how to. Prepare healthy meals. Eat out but make sure your choices there are healthy, too. Eat regularly (5 times a day) and don’t overstuff yourself. And please, pay attention to vitamins and minerals! Once you get used to this change you will be surprised how tasty this all can be. Does that mean no fast food anymore ever? Of course not 🙂 See my article on it: http://vitalisvitae.com/food-nutrition-diets.
But: keep it all in good balance. And let fast food become the exception, not the rule.
Quit The BBH’s – The Big Bad Habits
Again, this one is non-negotiable. If you poison your plants you can’t expect them to be lush and green, bloom brilliantly and keep on growing. Well, the same holds true for your body. Eventually you have to
- quit smoking
- quit drinking daily/heavily
- stop using, regardless what your drug of choice is
I know none of that is an easy task. I also know it scares you. And I also know that living a healthy life won’t happen unless you commit yourself to the above. If you need any help/support with any of that, please feel free to contact me. Go to a local Support Group. Start quitting now.
The Key Is To Be Active
If you sit on your butt and wait for good things to happen, chances are they won’t. So get active, even proactive about your health and exercise. Figure out which kind of exercise might be right for you; do research online, talk to your doctor or other health professional. Get moving, and keep moving. This is completely unrelated to you needing to lose weight, by the way. Even if you don’t have any weight issues at all, you still need to exercise. It keeps your joints flexible, your blood fluid, your heart pumping stronger. Get your regular health-checkups. Don’t procrastinate on that. And if you have an issue, get it checked out early.
Connect, Breathe, Be
It is of utmost importance for you to have healthy relationships, a circle of people around you who genuinely care for you, whether they are friends or family or even pets. Having that unconditional love and support will give you a great base to build you healthy new life on.
Try to reduce excess stress. In our society we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to lead what we think of as “full” lives. I understand that sometimes the stressful factors are simply an integral part of your life. If you can’t eleminate them, learn how to manage them. Learn how to deal with them. Learn how to not let that stress get to you so much.
Phew, that was quite some list, wasn’t it? Like I said before, please don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed out simply by reading about all the things that you should change. Remember, please: one step at a time! I will write articles and posts on all aspects of this list. So please stay tuned and come back for more insight on how to accomplish leading a healthier life.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below or shoot me a PM at firstname.lastname@example.org