If you were to ask, most people are not going to say that they want to be more unhealthy — naturally, they want to be healthier. But putting those words into actions isn’t always easy. Because the problem is that most people set goals that are outside their comfort zone. And then what happens is they’re not able to stick to them!
The simple fact is the habits that make for a healthier lifestyle are just the ordinary things we already do every day. We just need to do them a little better… perhaps much better, as the case may be. I’ll leave it for you to decide which is true for yourself.
Some say the key to lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine.” So in this post we’ll explore healthier lifestyle hacks that increase your overall well-being because you’ll be living better. And these are: sleeping better, eating right, increasing hydration, and being more active.
We all know that sleep is very important for overall health. But the fact is that most of us are not getting anywhere near the amount of quality sleep that we need to be getting. Therefore, considerable research has gone into developing a set of guidelines and tips to promote healthier sleeping, and the Centre for Clinical Interventions offers a free PDF on sleep hygiene.
Do you know that sleep loss causes weight gain?
If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or eat a small bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep mode: WebMD says warm almond milk helps the brain make melatonin and James Rouse ND suggests chamomile tea. The best sleep-inducing foods include a combination of protein and carbohydrates, says Shelby Harris, PsyD, director of behavioral sleep medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. Also, be sure to darken your room, eliminate electronics’ screens with blue light, and turn your clock away from you.
While being healthier is a lot to do with the physical components it’s also important to look after your mindset as well. While taking part in practices like meditation or mindfulness will work wonders for your attitude, you may also want to look at the things that make you feel insecure. Not everybody likes to admit that they have a hang-up about their looks, but while many people tell you about the importance of transforming yourself from the inside out you also should think about presenting an image that will send a signal inwards.
This is where expressions like “dressing for the job you want, not the job you have” come into play, and is one of those little things that can make a big difference. When you start to look at the aspects of your image that you don’t like, whether it’s swapping your standard lenses for progressive lenses or fixing your teeth with invisible braces, this can all contribute to a healthier and happier version of you which gives you the opportunity to focus on improving yourself.
Eating the right food is more crucial to health than anything else, and the fact is that most diseases today are directly related to the foods that we eat. Also overweight and obesity is caused by our food choices. So although it’s fine to have some junk food once in a while, we must be conscious of what we’re eating and the ‘bad things’ that are in them.
What we eat and how we feel are linked in very complex ways. The majority of what we eat should be whole foods — fresh food that does not have an ingredients label — and minimally-processed foods. It’s not just eating healthy food, but also supplements like Beta Hydroxybutyrate that can make a positive difference in our health. If you need help learning to eat healthier then a consider a few of these healthier diets in 2019 from US News:
- With its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible. Read: Mediterranean Diet Fights Metabolic Syndrome and Belly Fat
- The Weight Watchers diet scored the highest for overall weight loss and fast weight loss, and experts said it’s a smart, effective diet.
- The Flexitarian Diet, which emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains and plant-based protein, is a smart and healthy choice.
- The Mayo Clinic diet aims to make healthy eating a lifelong habit, and earned praise for its nutrition and safety.
Water is another thing that most of us don’t get enough of and although the recommended minimum is 8 glasses per day for an adult, you may not be getting anywhere close to this.
Do you know that drinking more water helps you lose weight?
If you don’t feel that you can drink at least 8 glasses of water per day then try a hydration reminder or smart water bottle. And if you don’t like the taste of plain water then you can add things like fruit or vegetables to infuse some flavor into it. There are clever infusion water bottles and many recipe books on the market to keep your water far from boring!
The most important thing is that you stay hydrated and avoid the temptation to drink sugary or high calorie drinks.
While it would be excellent if you go to the gym every other day and lift weights and do Les Mills exercises to tighten your body, most people just don’t have it in them to sustain that exercise routine over time. But you can commit to get in some physical activity every day. This is especially necessary if you have a job that involves sitting for long periods of time, since being sedentary has been proven to have very negative effects on overall health.
Do you know there are exercises you can do at your desk?
Substitute healthier activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car at the back of the lot, using the restroom furthest from your desk, walking to your colleagues office to speak directly instead of sending email, will all add lots of footsteps to your day — and you can track them with the same Polar fitness tracker that I use, or whatever brand tickles your fancy!
My best advice is that you switch to this healthier lunchtime habit just as I did many years ago: Instead of working through lunch/eating at your desk, you go for a brisk walk or use the corporate gym at lunchtime. This healthier habit can have a massive impact on your overall health in both body and mind as stress-reduction is vital to preventing disease. And its really not that hard of a routine to stick to once you are habituated to it.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life