First Steps To A Healthy Lifestyle
Yesterday I talked about laying the foundations of a new habit. One of the points I made was to start at the smallest level you can. One of the biggest changes in my lifestyle to date has been to take a more healthy approach. Below I have detailed some of the small habits I started off with that laid the foundations for this new lifestyle to give you a practical example of some of the logic behind yesterday’s article.
Walk instead of driving for short journeys.
When you get into the habit of driving short journeys, whether it be the 15 minute drive into town or the short journey to the shops, you can quickly get used to the ease of it. Yes, it can be very tempting to drive around, especially when you have bags to carry. However, by doing that you can quickly end up on the slippery slope to a lazy, unhealthy lifestyle. You lose out on a great excuse to get fresh air and exercise too.
Choose stairs over lifts
This is similar to walking instead of driving so I don’t really need to go into any more details about this one. Don’t get into the habit of taking easy options like lifts and escalators, it’s one more step towards that lazy lifestyle I talked about previously. The University Of Ulster did the science on the benefits of taking stairs.
Drink water, especially as replace for fizzy drinks
Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. I know of few people who follow this tip despite it being the most basic and effective method to a healthy diet. It’s cheaper then buying bottles or cans of coke and you aren’t taking in all the sugar, caffeine and other nasty chemicals. If you don’t find water particularly tasty, you are probably too used to sugary drinks! Try using a water purifier or adding lemons/limes to add a bit of flavour.
Replace snacks with healthy options
This was the biggest step I took in hindsight as all my other healthy measures seemed to balloon from this one. One day I was eating an apple instead of a bag of crisps, and a month later I found I was eating my five portions a day. I’ve talked more about this particular habit in a previous article if you wish to read more.
Choose the light options
Perhaps the easiest step you can take. A lot of foods now come in healthy, light or sugar-free options. Some people claim these options don’t taste as good, but I’ve never come across any food that tastes so radically different to the normal version that you can’t get used to the taste.
Choose lean meats, especially white meats
Meat can contain a lot of unhealthy fats so you want to choose the leanest options you can. Chicken and turkey without the skin are your best choices here. Just don’t go negating the benefits by cooking it in a unhealthy way; grill it where possible.
With all the above points it’s important that you don’t follow them religiously. If you happen to have a big, fatty steak with a can of coke one day, or eat a bag of crisps rather than an apple, that doesn’t mean that your attempts to live a healthy lifestyle have all collapsed around you!