Yes! If you are reading this, this is the first step in starting a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations! Let’s get started on these tips for starting a healthier lifestyle.
Tips For Starting A Healthy Lifestyle
Whether it’s the start of a new year, new month or a new day, there is never a bad time to make the decision to start leading a healthier lifestyle. In fact, making the decision to lead a healthy lifestyle is often the hardest part. Starting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t mean that you will no longer enjoy the things you normally do. Starting a healthy lifestyle means that you have made the decision to make better choices; better choices on what you eat, better choices on when you go to bed at night, better choices on how much water to drink, better choices on how many glasses of wine you have or cocktails you make, just better choices.
If you are still reading, that’s a great sign. That means you are ready to invest a few more minutes to discover how you can start making better choices, how you can start a healthy lifestyle. Healthy dieting requires a complete lifestyle change. It starts with assessing BMI, then includes fitness nutrition, watching what you eat, and working out. Many people fail at achieving a healthier lifestyle because they think of it as something they will endure for a few weeks and then resume their former lifestyles. Healthy living involves a completely different approach. Not only does this new approach involve exercise and healthy eating, but it also requires a complete lifestyle change for continued success.
These five questions will help you create a plan that will lead to better health through improved diet and the addition of exercise to your life.
Bathing suit season is just around the corner, and many people are starting to think about trying to get back into shape. Fortunately for many, this desire to improve their health with diet and exercise comes just as the nice weather arrives. Warmer weather means more options for getting active, as well as the availability of additional fruits and vegetables in many grocery stores. Before making sweeping lifestyle changes in an attempt to get back into that old swimsuit, it is important to consider these five aspects of your current lifestyle:
What is your current health?
Never begin an exercise regimen or extreme change in diet without consulting a medical professional. This is especially true when using prescription medications or if there is a chronic health issue. Changes in diet can affect individuals with diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Diabetics who control their disease through diet are particularly vulnerable to changes. Arthritis sufferers may experience increased pain if a new exercise program is started without consulting an expert as the joints are suddenly overworked. Even individuals who are already in good health can benefit from a brief consultation with a health professional to ensure their plan will not cause any problems.
What is your schedule like?
Many people begin their ‘new’ diet and exercise program without thinking about the rest of their schedule in the long term. Parents need to consider not only their schedule but that of their children and spouse. The amount of time needed to get kids to their various scheduled activities may interfere with any plans to exercise. Working late or on weekends can also interfere with scheduling time for exercise and planning meals. Think about how much time is available before creating an exercise and meal plan that is doomed to failure before it begins. Meal prep can help save time through the week.
What is your goal?
Some individuals are interested in making changes that will last a lifetime, not just a week or two. Other people are happy with where they are but want to lose a couple of pounds to look good for that graduation party or class reunion. Either of these goals can be attained, but recent trends have focused more on the ratio of body fat to lean muscle rather than simply on the number that appears on a scale. This focus can make the whole process healthier as it doesn’t focus so much on reducing calories as simply eating healthier foods. Don’t rely only on calorie reduction as this may help lose weight, but won’t add muscle to keep the weight off.
What resources are available to you?
It is important to consider the environment around you and what kind of support is available. This includes family members and friends who may encourage or sabotage you – depending on their nature. If you are the cook for the family and the only person who is eating healthy is you, any changes made are going to be much harder. Try to get at least one other person involved to provide support and suggestions as needed.
Other resources to consider are the gym’s or exercise facilities that are available. How much do they cost? When are they open? What kind of facilities do they have? Will exercising at home be easier? There are many chains around the nation that will provide machines, but if you have arthritis, it may not do you any good as these types of machines will only cause your knees to hurt more. Some facilities will also offer personal trainers, and many people find this very motivating. To know that there is someone checking up on your progress on a regular basis may be just the thing to get you moving when you would otherwise skip a session. Other people are not interested in joining a gym and want to work out at home. This is an excellent choice when time is tight. There is no travel time involved, and the home is always open.
How long do you have to achieve your goal?
If you are simply trying to improve your overall health and have months to reach your goal, then make small changes slowly. These baby steps will help ensure that each small change can be maintained. Studies have shown that individuals who make sweeping changes in lifestyle often don’t stick to those changes and, as a result, regain any weight they have lost. Add exercise slowly and increase the intensity over time. This slow increase will help prevent injuries to muscles that aren’t used to working so hard. An injury can stop any exercise program before it truly gets started.
Are you ready to make changes to your lifestyle? If you answered yes, let’s look at the next 3 steps.
Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Step One: Body Mass Index and Waist Measurement
The first step in moving toward a healthy lifestyle is to assess one’s body mass index (BMI). Many fitness experts agree that BMI is a more accurate health assessment tool than the scales. BMI is calculated by body weight and height. There are many free online BMI calculators. A person simply enters his height and weight measurements, and the results are calculated immediately. The chart then shows if the person is underweight, normal/healthy weight, overweight, or in obese ranges.
A possibly even more accurate assessment of general health is to simply take waist measurements. The waist measurement is one of the body’s ways of telling a person if she is at risk for serious health issues associated with being overweight. A man is considered at risk for serious health issues if his waist measurement is more than 40 inches. A non-pregnant woman is considered at risk if her waistline measures greater than 35 inches. To measure the waistline, a person should place a cloth measuring tape around bare skin just above the hip bones and navel. The abdomen should be relaxed, not “sucked in.” The measurement should be taken while exhaling. This is the time, to be honest with one’s self.
Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Step Two: Fitness Nutrition
Losing weight is not a “quick-fix” fad diet. The only way to achieve healthy weight loss and keep it off is to adopt long-term healthy, active lifestyle habits. Experts such as the Mayo Clinic state that people who steadily lose weight at the rate of one to two pounds per week are much more likely to keep it off than people who try fad diets or place themselves in starvation mode. The math is very simple. The calories a person burns must be more than the calories a person puts in his mouth. One pound equals 3500 calories. In order to lose one to two pounds of body fat, calorie intake must be reduced by 500 to 1000 calories per day. No person should consume fewer than 1200 calories per day.
Fitness nutrition emphasizes healthy proteins, like organic, raw nuts and seeds, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, beans, legumes, and organic, hormone-free milk. If meat is consumed, beef and chicken breasts are “clean,” grass-fed, and range-free. Fish is preferably wild-caught in cold waters and mercury-free. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fats, trans fats, refined oils, refined white flour, refined table salt, and most fast foods are reduced from the diet. There is a high emphasis on organic, green, leafy vegetables, and fresh fruits. Healthy eating plans are 80-90% of getting the unwanted weight off.
Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Step Three: Physical Fitness
Losing weight is not easy at all. It takes commitment and great effort. Besides a healthy diet, a person must also work out at least three times a week for 30 minutes in each session as a bare minimum. As the body gets stronger and builds up endurance, these physical fitness workouts should increase to six times a week for an hour each. Once the weight is off, more activity can be added to achieve strength or fitness goals. This will help you stay motivated to reach your fitness goals.
Many people who are seriously overweight have never exercised regularly. They have no idea how to begin exercising, so they do not even start. Start by just walking. One step at a time.
Last year I made the decision to join WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Honestly, it was a WHY NOT moment in my life. I have weighed the within the same 5 pounds for the last 15 years. I have always worked out 4-5 times a week. I have joined a gym, I have gone to Jazzercise classes, I have run half marathons, I have biked miles upon miles. I have always thought I ate healthy, in fact, I will still argue I did. I had muscle, I slept well, but that damn 5 pounds was really annoying me. So, as I sat getting a pedicure on my birthday I joined WW. The first month was free, and I decided I needed 6 months to install the habits that would hopefully last a lifetime.
I have been using the WW app and tracking what I eat now for 4 months and I am surprised to say that I have lost 16 pounds. I am currently at a weight that I haven’t been since before I was married. I am wearing sizes that I haven’t worn since COLLEGE (which was over 20 years ago). I can wear a bikini. I am not saying any of this to brag, but to hopefully inspire. There wasn’t any part of me that believed this was possible. I truly wanted to see if I could just lose 5 pounds and I honestly wasn’t sure that was going to be possible. I started WW with the thought of, “Hey, it’s worth it to me to see if I can do this for a few months, I’m worth it, but I’m really not expecting much”
I still eat….believe me…I eat plenty. I still drink….um, hello….do you think I could make it without wine? Well, maybe I could, but I don’t plan on it. I still enjoy life, food, wine, cocktails. I just make better choices. I make little changes and those little changes made a huge difference in me, my life, my confidence.
This isn’t a WW ad, no one paid me to say anything of this, this is in no way sponsored, and I’m not saying WW is right for you, what I am saying is WHY NOT. WHY NOT make the decision to start a healthier lifestyle. You’re worth it, right? I know I am. I know you are.
I hope these tips for starting for a healthier lifestyle inspire you. I believe in you! And follow along on Instagram and read my stories for my weekly updates on my weigh-ins.