Habits. We all have them. Good ones and bad ones. Many times we need to change those habits to have a healthy lifestyle. We need healthy habits.
Many chronic illnesses are caused by our habits (or lifestyle choices). We tend not to exercise as much as we should, we allow ourselves to become overweight, and we eat unhealthy foods. These can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
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A Healthy Habit Problem
The problem with habits is that they are difficult to turn around. Habits are hard to break. Change is hard.
Many people try to change all at once, which is extremely difficult to accomplish. As a result, they often give up and go right back to the unhealthy habits of their past.
For example, it takes just a few days or a few weeks to try living healthy before a person becomes overwhelmed and stops. They stop exercising and go right back to eating processed and junk foods.
It is better to change one healthy habit at a time so that you don’t become overwhelmed and stop trying to be healthy altogether.
Most weight loss programs work if done carefully. There are many different programs out there. Not all will be right for you. Research and find what you think will work best for you. I have tried many different programs and would end up right back where I started. Or worse, weighing more than when I started.
I discovered The Whole30 last year. This was the first program that actually made sense to me. I “got” it. The book was very helpful in explaining why certain foods were better choices for your body. The chemist in me finally reached an “aha” moment.
I won’t go into specifics here; we did a whole series of posts on our Whole30 program. Since August 21, 2017, I have lost almost 40 pounds and my husband 20 pounds. I did eat more desserts than I should have over the holidays but gained less than a pound. That’s a win in my book!
Exercise programs can also be effective for your health. If you choose an exercise that you 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.
So what can you do?
The trick to healthy habits is to begin gradually. Don’t try any trendy diet or fitness fad. If you try these things with enthusiasm, you are likely to respond negatively, and you won’t stick with the programs. We are all guilty of this. Pick things that have been around awhile.
There are a few simple things you can do to live a happier and healthier life. Start with these five changes in health habits today.
Try eating one healthy meal a day.
Most people eat processed foods most of the time; it is fast and convenient. If you try to eat just one healthy food each day, you will feed your body with proper nutrition and healthy proteins. Healthy meals consist of mainly fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grain products, and lean meats.
It doesn’t matter how much you eat because, if the food is healthy for you, it won’t usually contain a lot of calories and won’t cause weight gain as can be seen when you eat junk foods or highly processed foods. Even so, you should try to watch your portion sizes.
Amazon is even making it easier with their new AmazonFresh program. If you live in select cities, you can have fresh produce delivered. Try AmazonFresh Free Trial
Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Water is perhaps the best liquid you can drink. Drink a glass of water before meals. You will feel fuller before eating, and you won’t eat as much at the meal that follows.
Drink at least eight glasses a day. Sometimes if you feel hungry, it may just be that you are thirsty. It doesn’t take much to become dehydrated. It is amazing the difference a little water can make.
Be active during lunch.
Even if you are given a half-hour break for lunch, it usually doesn’t take that long to eat. Try eating your meal and then take some time to exercise. You don’t have to work out excessively, but you should be able to take a brisk walk.
Or try stretching exercises at your desk. Not only will this energize you but it will also help burn off the calories you just ate and will aid in the digestive process. The sitting stepper is an option. It’s lightweight and collapsible.
It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do as long as you choose something reasonable that will help you feel better after eating your lunch. Exercising during lunch also helps decrease the stress of your job and will make the rest of your day go easier.
Try a Meal Replacement Bar.
Eating a healthy protein bar as a snack instead of junk food will help you feel full. Most meal replacement bars contain a lot of good nutrition and fiber. They are also not as calorie-rich as you would think. They help stave off hunger pangs that are so typical of the midafternoon time.
Keep a stash of these protein bars in your desk drawer at work or in your purse, briefcase, or car so you can grab one whenever you feel hungry. It will keep you from going to the vending machine and eating poor food choices. Try eating a meal replacement bar that is high in fiber, and that has at least 10 to 15 grams of protein per bar.
If you have a gym membership, try going there at least 3-4 times per week. Choose an activity you enjoy and make the most of it for at least a half hour per session. This will help energize you, may build muscle mass, and will help you lose weight by burning off excess calories.
If you don’t have a gym membership, that’s okay. There are plenty of exercises that can be done in the home. Some require equipment; others don’t. An exercise bike is a good choice. It can be used indoors no matter what the weather is like outside.
Thinking lower impact? Try resistance bands. These can provide a full-body workout.
If you have health problems, be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best for you. It may be that chair aerobics, or yoga is all you can handle. That’s okay. I remember the Sit and Be Fit program on tv when I was younger. Now you can buy them on DVD or even watch with AmazonPrime. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Believe me, that’s where I am. With my clonus, I can’t stand for more than a few minutes before my legs are spasming so badly that I could fall. I am having to learn to find new ways to exercise to help my body. I have used all the excuses.
Notice I didn’t say exercise for 1-2 hours seven days a week. That’s not practical for most people. And definitely not in the beginning. Start slowly. Walk 5 minutes if that’s all you can do. The next day you might be able to go 6 minutes. The key is to start moving again.
I have been guilty of starting a program full force only to hurt myself within a week or two. Then I would set myself back that much further. No more! Listen to your body. Just because John Doe is doing it doesn’t mean you have to. We all have different body types. Do what is best for you.
Healthy Habits. We need them. Find something that works for you. Start slowly. Choose one habit to focus on at a time. Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t work. Try again. Your health is important. I wish I had listened to my body years ago. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I’m linking up to my review crew: