Our lifestyles can contribute to a lot of chronic diseases. People, especially when they 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 serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and strokes. Losing weight and getting fit are key things we can do to live longer and be healthier.
We know all this, but how do we make meaningful lifestyle changes?
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. And, we don’t consider some of the things we do to be habits.
Many people try to make a significant 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 change a lifestyle before the effort becomes overwhelming and the individual stops trying to live a healthy lifestyle. They stop exercising and go back to eating processed and junk foods.
Lifestyle changes are hard. That’s why it is better to change one habit at a time. So that you don’t become overwhelmed and stop trying to be altogether.
Consider this, most diet and 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 healthy living habits is to begin gradually. Don’t try any fad or trendy diet or fitness program. If you try them with gusto, you are more likely to respond negatively and 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.
If you eat just one healthy meal each day, you’ll feed your body enough good nutrition and healthy proteins. Healthy meals consist of mainly fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grain products, and lean meats. Try getting in one healthy meal every day, even if you eat fast or processed foods most of the time.
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 may be the very 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 your lunch break.
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 for a snack.
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 granola bars When I 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 don’t want to go to a gym, consider using some type of exercise equipment at home. Go for something low impact like an elliptical that can be gotten from a local sports store or online from Amazon.
Try for at least a half hour per session. Remember that old commercial, thirty minutes a day, three days a week. It really works. Exercise helps energize you, may build muscle mass, and will help you lose weight by burning off excess calories.