To some people, the thought of switching to a healthy lifestyle is frightening! Thoughts of cutting out their favourite foods having to live off salads and carrot sticks and restricting their food intake and then having to go the gym everyday or that it’s going to be expensive having to buy all these “superfoods”. The commitment can seem overwhelming and leave you with some doubt in your mind that you’re just not going to be able to do it.
This isn’t true! You must change your mindset to achieve goals – a negative mindset will never get you anywhere.. you have to believe you can do it. You can be what you want to be and do what you want to do in your life, you just have to be willing to work for it.
The first step is not thinking of it as “I’m on a diet”, it’s a lifestyle change. You are changing your current habits for better ones which will improve your health! Leaving you feeling more positive, energised, feeling good & everyone’s favourite – looking good!
I recommend you make the transition slowly. Don’t jump straight into the lifestyle, cutting out everything that’s “bad” or “unhealthy” and spending hours at the gym.
Start with making healthier choices when it comes to eating. The smallest of changes is all progress and it’s a great place to start without putting too much pressure on yourself & setting yourself up for struggle or failure.
Check out my blog post “How to Shop Healthier” for some tips on making healthier diet swaps & choices when it comes to shopping for food and some essentials to purchase.
Hydration is so important! It keeps everything running smoothly like digestion, brain function and helps keep your skin clear. I always like to start my day with 2 – 3 glasses of water, usually with some fresh lemon slices (cucumber and lime is also good) to rehydrate after a long night of sleep. I also take a bottle or two of water everywhere I go. To the shops, a friends house, for a drive or even to dinner. Bottles of water are overpriced so to save money & avoid dehydration always take a bottle of water wherever you go!! Did you know that sometimes your body says it’s hungry when you’re actually just thirsty? Have two mouthfulls of water and if you’re still feeling hungry then it’s more than likely hunger. Drinking during meals can upset digestion so I always like to have a few mouthfuls before and after, this can also help with overreating.
A rough estimate of how much water I drink in a day would be about 3 litres. To begin with, you have to mentally train yourself to drink more and your body will get used to it and you’ll start to crave more water because you’ll get thirsty more often and naturally drink more water.. this is when packing bottled water with you comes in handy!
Never skip breakfast! I love having a good breakfast (and i like to make it look pretty!) so I make enough time in my mornings to do so. If you don’t, you can always prepare some overnight oats in a jar the night before or on a Sunday you can make enough for the week ahead or bake some muffins, breakfast bars or a large dish of baked oatmeal to take for brekky on the go. Other ideas are smoothies, yoghurt, muesli & fruit or if you’re really unprepared – some fresh fruit & nuts. If you have time, you can make oatmeal, smoothie bowls (much more fun then in a glass or jar.. trust me! you can add toppings!) or healthy pancakes (always good on a Sunday!) if you’ve got lots of time! Make it interesting for yourself, breakfast is my favourite meal and part of the day – it’s easy to make it yours as well.
Another healthy lifestyle must do is pack lunch & snacks for work! Not only is it healther, it’s also alot cheaper! Most work places have a fridge & microwave – my office has both, but i pack a large lunch box with some ice packs & eat my food cold. In regards to what to pack, I post a few lunch & snack ideas on my instagram account (@everydaysimplehealth) so feel free so have a look, but i’ll list a few.
Lunch: rice or corn thins with salad toppings (hummus, avo, tomato, baby spinach, cucumber ect.), prep a meal on a sunday (stir fry, curry or the typical protein, rice & veg) switch it up regularly and play with flavours, herbs & spices so you don’t get bored. If you like salads make it interesting with some protein (lean meat, roasted chickpeas or roasted veg ect. rice salads are good too!) Another option is making extra dinner and taking leftovers!
Snacks: I pack a morning snack & an afternoon snack. Some ideas are – fresh fruit (my personal favourite), yoghurt & muesli, vegetable sticks & dip, a few corn or rice thins topped with avo or peanut butter & banana, bliss/protein balls, a healthy homemade baked good (muffin, slice or granola bar), a handful of nuts or trail mix, or a small smoothie.
Most importantly pack something you’ll look forward to & pack enough to make sure you don’t end up buying something from the vending machine!
I always take some green tea to work too. Pack a few bags of your favourite green or herbal tea or keep them in your desk drawer.
Exercise is important for a healthy mind & body. It lifts your mood (ENDORPHINS!! ), makes you feel good (muscle pain the day after is so satisfying!), speeds up your metabolism, keeps your heart healthy & everyone’s favourite bonus.. it makes you look good! Once you start seeing progress you’ll become more motivated! Yes, that does mean you have to make time for some sort of regular exercise, not many people do have time – it’s about making time! Depending what time you start work of course, I’d recommend going to the gym before work.. if you’re anything like me you’ll be totally stuffed and hungry for dinner after work to go and then if you plan to go after dinner you’ll probably be too tired and sluggish & full from dinner! If that means getting up at 4AM, sometimes you just gotta do it!
Whether your goal is just to drop a few kilos or get fit, build muscle, ect., the amount of work you put in reflects your results. Do remember that diet is key though, you cannot out-work a bad diet! It’s about 80% diet and 20% exercise.
But what is also very important is do remember that it’s okay to miss a workout for a weekend brunch outing with your friends or to go out for dinner on the weekend, or have a slice of cake at a birthday party! That’s how you reward yourself for your hard work, life is there to be lived! What you do everyday matters more then what you do every now and then.
Aim for a healthy balanced life and remember your goals and what you have to do to achieve them and stick to it. You’ll learn to love a healthy lifestyle, you just have to make it work for you. It’ll become a habit before you know it!