Have you ever wondered that perhaps you could have done so much more if you were a bit more healthy, a bit more active, a bit more strong, or perhaps just wanted to get much more quality out of life?
If you have, you have probably procrastinated too much. But worry not, because every day is a chance to start afresh!
Let us show you 8 simple ways to get on track with your lifestyle changes towards a healthier you.
1. Set realistic goals:
Having a goal to work towards keeps your focus steady. Be it weight loss, or amping up your stamina, or even just cutting down on calories, we all must have some end point in mind when we start our journey. However, when you set goals with unrealistic numbers, chances are that you will quit within a day or two. Set realistic goals!
Once you set your targets that are achievable, you will enjoy the journey better, and every milestone reached will only drive you forward. Get those feathers happening in your caps and see how awesome you feel! In time, you can challenge yourself more and achieve greater results.
2. Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day:
The concept of ‘breakfast like a king’ has been debunked by recent research. While it is completely alright to skip breakfast (yes, really so), you may choose to have some healthy proteins and fats to start your day.
Most often, we tend to reach out for that readily available box of corn flakes and processed cereals, but those seemingly ‘complete’ breakfasts are actually overloaded with processed sugars and high fructose sugars. Opt instead for eggs, nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetable smoothies to give a healthy kick-start to your day.
3. Read the labels:
How healthy are those ‘health snacks’ that we buy from the supermarkets? These days, ‘health’ is a keyword that is used to disguise the culprits that cause maximum damage to health – sugars, corn syrup, high sodium, trans fats, and several preservatives, all of which will only make you insulin resistant over a long period. Make it a habit to read those labels!
There may be few ingredients that you might not understand the relevance of. But isn’t that all the more reason to find out about them before you consume those products blindly? When you don’t know what is written on the label, how can you let it in? Read and learn for yourselves, and you will make better choices naturally.
4. Engage in daily exercise:
Exercise in any form, aerobic or strength training, for 30 to 45 minutes a day will do you a world of good!
For complete beginners, scale it gradually, for instance, you can start by using stairs at your office, or take a 10 – 15 minutes’ walk post lunch, combine it with stretches and free-hand exercises at your work station. The idea is to break the sedentary routine.
For those who are already active, you can choose to push yourself further, be it endurance building, training with more weights, or even considering a sport like squash or cycling.
Exercise is an excellent stress buster after a busy day or maybe the best thing to start your day. Pick your sport and embrace the outdoors!
5. Have a balanced meal:
All food is made up of one or more of the basic components (macro elements), namely – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber. However, just including one or two of these components in our diet will not be adequate for the all-round development of the body. For a meal to be balanced and nutritive, it needs to contain an optimum combination of these elements.
When planning a meal, make sure that you have at least 2 portions (assuming the entire meal has 4 portions) coming from a protein source, 1 portion from fat, and rest coming from complex carbohydrates. The idea is to have around 1.2 to 1.8 grams of your weight in kgs from protein, 0.3 to 0.5 grams per kg from complex carbohydrates, and rest from healthy fats.
6. Fats are not your enemies:
Again, time to quash another common misconception – all fats are not bad fats!
Did you know that fat is actually an essential component for health and general well-being? Fats regulate hormones, provide cushioning to the vital organs of the body, and are a source of energy for the body. For instance, fatty acids like EPA and DHA have been found to have a beneficial effect on memory power, promote cardiovascular health, and in general, are anti-inflammatory and very good for your bones and skin. These are examples of good fats that should be made part of your diet. You can either choose to have Omega 3 supplements or simply add flaxseeds in your diet to make it rich in the healthy fats.
7. Don’t skimp on Sleep:
Recent health surveys indicate that more than 70 percent of individuals lack sleep in today’s busy world. Watching television sets and using mobile gadgets late till night will disturb your sleep cycle. Missing a few hours of sleep doesn’t sound particularly dangerous, does it? Oh, but it is! You see, sleep is one of the best ways of detoxifying the body and undoing the damage to muscle fibers (including the brain). A sleep-deprived body cannot recharge itself sufficiently. Consequently, you will be stressed and dull the following day, with low energy and motivation levels.
The solution? Switch off that screen! Avoid using all gadgets at least 45 to 60 minutes prior to sleep. And don’t take your phone to bed.
Read ‘The Importance of Sleep’ to understand more about sleep cycles and the effects of poor sleep on overall health.
8. Avoid Social Drinking and Smoking:
It can be hard to not reach out for that bottle of beer at a party!
Often we tend to start as a social drinker and end up making it a routine. You will be surprised to know that a mere 50 ml of alcohol has around 150 empty calories that are of no use to your body! And you can guess where that piles up. A small moment of weakness can undo all the hard work of months, and you will end up spoiling your metabolism and performance. Not worth it, is it?
It is ultimately all about making healthy choices, and then sticking to them. Daily. The results will astound you for sure!
To know more about alcohol and how it affects performance, check out this article: Alcohol and its effects on Athletic Performance, Metabolism, and Recovery
Author Credits – Navdeep Chawla