Many chronic diseases are the result of a less than healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s a lack of exercise or an unhealthy diet, bad habits can lead to chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, strokes and more.
The challenge posed by lifestyle issues is that they are difficult habits to beat. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “quitting cold turkey” before. Well, adjusting your lifestyle is not something you can just do overnight. Many people expect immediate results, get discouraged, then go back to old habits out of comfort.
Incremental changes in daily activity make the process much easier. While changing routine behaviors may take a few days or weeks to adopt, understand that you will see results in time and it will make you a healthier person.
Many weight loss programs are implemented carefully, ensuring that lifestyle changes happen gradually. The same approach applies to exercise. Choose an exercise you enjoy, and increase your activity as you become accustomed to working out on your terms. Do you like going for walks? Well, maybe start your new exercise regimen by walking around the block. When you’re ready for more, walk two blocks, then three blocks, then four, etc. Soon enough you’ll be jogging, then running towards your fitness goals.
The trick to creating new, healthy habits is to approach your goals gradually while understanding that changes are rarely immediate. Avoid trendy exercise programs or diets that promise fast results. Many of these present the risk of shocking your system and hindering real progress.
Just a few simple changes can lead you to a happier and healthier life. Start with these five changes to create better habits today.
1. Want to eat healthy? Start with one meal.
Even if most of the food you eat is processed, try to slip in some healthy foods at least once a day. Your body will thank you! Healthy meals consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and lean meats. The benefit of healthy foods? Well, beyond them being good for you, you can usually eat more. If it’s healthy, it will contain fewer calories and won’t cause weight gain the same way that processed food does. Despite these wild benefits, be cognizant of your portion sizes.
2. Start by drinking water.
Water is by far the best thing you can drink. Drinking an eight-ounce glass of water before a meal will make you feel fuller, and you won’t feel the need to eat a huge meal.
3. Pair your lunch with physical activity.
Even if you only have thirty minutes for lunch, it usually doesn’t take all that time to eat. After you finish your lunch, consider taking a brisk walk. Not only will this give you a boost of energy, but it aids with digestions and burns calories. That’s right, the calories you just finished eating. The type of exercise you do is not that important. Any physical activity within reason will help you feel better and just might help alleviate some stress.
4. Supplement a meal with a power bar.
This means choosing a healthy protein bar over junk food. Most meal replacement bars are high in good nutrition and fiber. Not all options are obscenely high in calories but many work wonder sin staving off hunger pangs. Buy them in bulk and keep then in drawer at work, or in your car or purse so they are available whenever hunger strikes. Look for meal replacement bars that are high in fiber and have at least 10 to 15 grams of protein per bar.
5. This one is important: EXERCISE.
If you pay for a gym membership, put it to good use. Go to the gym three to four times each week. Choose a physical activity that you truly enjoy and do it for at least a half hour. Don’t have a half hour? Then exercise for fifteen minutes twice each day. Exercise will energize you, build muscle mass and will help with weight loss by burning excess calories.