So you want to live a healthy life, but you have a million and one excuses. “I’m too busy!” “Healthy food tastes gross!” “There’s no time!” Blah, blah, blah. If you want to live a healthy life, you have to take active steps in doing so. It doesn’t have to be hard or consume all of your time, but you do need to work at it. That’s the reality. I have some tips that will help you accomplish your goals, but first let’s get real: The excuses have to stop. By making small changes in your life will lead to a healthier life, and small changes yield big results!
1. Set Goals
I’m not talking about, “I want to lose X amount of weight.” Start with small goals which will eventually lead into healthy habits. Habits are things we do over and over, but they need to be started somehow. Some ideas for healthy goals can revolve around exercising, sleeping, drinking water, or eating healthy. Make your goals specific. Instead of saying, “I want to eat healthy,” ask yourself, “What does that mean exactly?” Maybe you want to start by merely eating breakfast! (Didn’t your momma ever tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?) Or perhaps you’d like to incorporate vegetables in two out of your three meals. Another goal could be to pack two healthy snacks in your bag each day, so you’re not tempted by vending machines and fast food.
2. Enlist Friends
Share your goals with your friends; they will help hold you accountable. Do you have a friend who is a total fitness buff? Ask if they will bring you to their gym and show you a few moves. Or maybe none of your friends workout. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to get fit together! You don’t have to have a gym either. (Though I do think that’s most beneficial. More on that later.) Take a walk around your neighborhood or go to a local park. Instead of meeting for coffee, dinner, or happy hour, make a fitness date! Sign up for a new class together. (Zumba, anyone? Shaking it is way more fun when your friends are there to laugh along with you!) Being active with friends accomplishes three goals: you get to exercise, you get to catch up, you get to have fun!
3. Batch Cook
Say what?! That’s right, batch cook. Prepare large portions of food at one time so you have healthy options and meals throughout the week. Personally, I choose Sundays as I grocery shop on Sundays and it helps prepare me for the upcoming week. Batching cooking for me entails washing, cutting, and preparing vegetables. I cook a pound of beans in the crockpot since that’s the easiest method. (I buy a pound of dried beans and make the whole bag. After they’re cooked, I separate them into one cup servings and store some of them in the freezer for later use.) I grill chicken and fish. I make a grain (quinoa and amaranth are my favorites). I make my lunches for the week which really just means putting all of my batch cooking together in individual portions. BAM! I spent a couple hours in the kitchen, but I’ve just prepared myself for an entire week of healthy eating. Go me!
4. Drink Water
Drinking water has multiple benefits. It keeps you hydrated which can ward off headaches. It keeps you full. Did you know one sign of dehydration is hunger? It’s true. Next time you think you’re hungry, drink a glass of water and wait fifteen minutes. Many times drinking water can help. Stop drinking juice, soda, and coffee and teas that are loaded with sugar. Cut major calories by replacing those drinks with water. If you need a little something extra, squeeze a lemon or lime or add a mint leaf. Oranges and grapefruits add great flavor, too!
That’s right, I said it. Get your booty up and moving. When you are committing to a healthy lifestyle, you have to move. Make time for it. Put it in your calendar and treat it like a social obligation. You wouldn’t cancel on a friend because you are tired or simply “don’t feel like it,” so treat your gym dates the same way. I think joining a gym is the best route, though there are tons of at-home workouts you can do without any equipment at all (push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, for starters!). However, joining a gym allows you to mix up your routine and find something you really love. Try a class. Try all the classes! Meet new people. Pretty soon you’ll find that a gym can be it’s own community and a very positive place. Find something you love and stick with it.
That’s it. All of these tips are totally and completely manageable. Make time for yourself, even if it’s just thirty minutes a day. Part of living a healthy life is taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Get enough sleep. The more you make intentional healthy choices, the more they will be come habitual.
What do YOU do to live a healthy life?