Our lifestyle can contribute to a lot of chronic diseases. People, especially when they start to get older (I don’t know at what age that is) tend not to exercise as much as they should, they allow themselves to become overweight, and the way they eat can lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and strokes.
We know all this, but how do we make changes that benefit us?
The problem with changing lifestyle issues is that they are extremely difficult to turn around. We all know how hard it is to change a habit and our lifestyle is made up of many habits that have become ingrained over the years.
Many people try to change their lifestyle all at once, which is extremely difficult to accomplish. As a result, they often give up their attempts to create healthy habits and resort to the usual negative health habits they had been doing before they attempted changing to a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes it just takes a few days or a few weeks of trying to live healthy before the effort becomes overwhelming and the individual stops trying to live a healthy lifestyle. They stop exercising and go back to eating processed foods and junk foods.
Lifestyle changes are hard. That’s why it is better to change one health habits at a time so that you don’t avoid becoming overwhelmed and stop trying to be healthy altogether.
Consider this, most weight loss programs work if they are done carefully and don’t deprive the individual of too much too quickly. The same is true of any exercise program. If you choose an exercise that you really enjoy or increase your physical activity more gradually, you can usually stick to the program so that you don’t become discouraged and quit exercising altogether.
The trick to creating health living habits is to begin gradually. Don’t try any fad or trendy diet or fitness program. If you try these things with gusto, you are more likely to respond negatively and you drop the programs before you see any lasting results. There are a few simple things you can do to live a happier and healthier life.
Start with just these 5 small lifestyle changes in health habits:
1. Try eating one healthy meal a day, even if you eat fast or processed foods most of the time.
If you try to eat just one healthy meal each day, you will feed your body with enough good nutrition and healthy proteins. Healthy meals consist of mainly fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grain products, and lean meats.
The key to losing or maintaining weight is watching how much you eat, not what you eat. If the food is healthy for you, it usually won’t contain a lot of empty calories and won’t cause the same weight gain that you can see when you eat junk foods or highly processed foods. Eating a lot becomes a habit, so you should try to watch your portion sizes. the key is to eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full.
2. Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Water is perhaps the best liquid you can drink. Almost everything else contains sugar or other empty calories. When you decide to water before having a meal, (8-ounces is enough), you will feel fuller before eating, and you won’t eat as much at the meal.
3. Be active during lunch.
Eating a lunch is usually a fairly quick event. Try eating your meals and then something that could be considered exercise. Even if you only have a half-hour to eating and some physical activity. You don’t have to work out excessively but you should be able to take a brisk walk. You’ll benefit fro additional energy and it will help burn off some of the calories you just ate. It may even help in the digestive process.
The good thing is that it really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do. Choose something reasonable easy that will help you feel better after eating your lunch. How about this, exercising during lunch may help decrease the stress of your job and will make the rest of your day go easier.
4. Try a Meal Replacement Bar.
Try eating a healthy protein bar as a snack instead of your regular junk foods. Most meal replacement bars contain a lot of good nutrition and fiber and they don’t have to be calorie-rich. Find some you like and let them help stave off hunger pangs that are so typical in the mid-afternoon.
I like to keep a stash of protein bars in my desk at work so I can grab one whenever I feel hungry or need an energy kick. Meal replacement bars will keep you from going hitting the vending machines and eating poor food choices. Try getting a meal replacement bar high in fiber and with at least 10 to 15 grams of protein per bar.
5. Exercise regularly.
If you have a gym membership, try using it at least 3-4 times per week. If you don’t, try choosing an activity you enjoy and make the most of it three or four times a week. Try for at least a half hour per session. That old commercial, thirty minutes a day, three days a week, really worked. This will help energize you, may build muscle mass, and will help you lose weight by burning off excess calories.