It’s a common myth that getting fit is only about eating healthy and exercising. In reality, creating a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it isn’t about just those two factors—it’s also about being able to keep a positive attitude, strong mental health, and a healthy self-image. Although there is a ton of advice out there on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle, here are some key factors to keep in mind:
1. Drink more water. Most of us don’t drink enough water every day, but it is essential for our bodies to work properly. Water is absolutely necessary for carrying out our bodily functions, removing waste, and transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies. Since water is expelled every day through urination, bowel movements, perspiration and breathing, we need to replenish the amount of water in our bodies constantly. The amount of water we need depends on a variety of factors, but generally, an average adult needs two to three litres a day. A good way to tell if you are getting enough water is by your urine—which should be either colorless or pale yellow.
2. Get enough sleep. When you don’t sleep, You tend to eat more. Usually only junk food.
3. Exercise. Not just a few times a week, but every day. By moving your body in some way for 30 minutes a day, you will lower your risk of disease, create higher bone density and potentially increase your life span.
4. Eat more fruits and vegetables. All fruits and vegetables carry vitamins and minerals, components essential to your health. It’s suggested that we consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain health.
5. Eat the rainbow. Pick brightly-colored foods in the produce aisle. These are high in antioxidants (antioxidants remove free radicals in our body that damage our cells) and make a more appealing plate. Here are a few examples to look out for:
• White (Bananas, Mushrooms)
• Yellow (Pineapples, Mangoes)
• Orange (Oranges, Papayas)
• Red (Apples, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelons)
• Green (Guavas, Avocados, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Celery)
• Purple/Blue (Blackberries, Eggplants, Prunes)
6. Cut down on processed foods. Processed foods are simply not good for you. Most nutritional value is lost in the making of processed foods and the added preservatives are bad for our health. These foods contain a high amount of salt, which leads to high blood pressure and heart disease. In general, the more ingredients on the label, the more processed the item is.
7. Avoid negative people in your life. A positive mentality is key to a healthy life. You don’t need negativity in your life. If you feel that a person or friend is negative, just let him or her go.
8. Avoid negativity within yourself. You don’t need negativity from yourself, either. Let go of all negative thoughts within yourself. Overeating tends to happen when one feels unhappy, so by staying in a positive state of mind, you cut out an unhealthy dependence on food to be happy.
9. Avoid trigger foods. These are foods you can’t put down after one bite. Everyone’s trigger foods are different, but typically they consist of candy bars, chocolate, chips, cookies, or anything with high levels of refined sugar, salt, fat, or flour.
10. Take your time eating. Your brain, not your stomach, is the organ responsible for feelings of hunger and fullness. If you take your time during meals and eat more slowly, you allow your brain adequate time to send the “full” message to your stomach and allow your food to be fully ingested. Don’t rely on a clean plate to tell you when it’s time to stop eating.
11. Prepare your meals. When you prepare meals yourself, you control exactly what goes in to them. This makes it easier for you to make the right healthy choices for your body.
12. Move toward low-calorie and low-fat alternatives. There are many low-fat or non-fat alternatives readily available in all grocery stores. Try switching your full-fat pantry staples for low-fat versions over a period of time.
13. Stop smoking. Smoking is bad, period. If you’re a smoker, quit for better health—not just for yourself, but for your family and friends. If you don’t smoke, stay that way.
14. Have healthy snacks on hand. Eating small meals throughout the day is good for your metabolism, but eating the right things is what matters most. When turning to snacks during your day, look for things like fruit, salad, or freshly squeezed juices not concentrate. These are nutritional and won’t give you a sugar crash.