30 HABITS AND BEHAVIORS FOR A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

30 HABITS AND BEHAVIORS FOR A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE

Most people think that living a healthy lifestyle is a challenge.

When you look at the super fit and healthy people out there, it can seem almost impossible to get what they have. Six pack abs and a 100-year lifespan appear out of reach to “normal" individuals.

But achieving those levels of health and fitness is really just about engaging in healthy behaviors on a routine basis.

Each of the habits in this post may seem small by itself, but over time they can have a snowball effect on your health.

1.Eat breakfast

Do you eat breakfast regularly? Many people find that they are often too busy in the morning to have breakfast. Some just say that they aren’t hungry enough when they wake up to want to eat anything substantial. 

For example - when you’re trying to lose weight, cutting out breakfast may be tempting. You figure you’re saving yourself some calories and you get a couple extra minutes to snooze. But research has consistently shown that the people who successfully lose weight are the ones that wake up and eat! Furthermore, people who eat breakfast regularly have better vitamin and mineral status and eat fewer calories from fat. So it seems that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

It’s worth noting that most studies linking breakfast to weight control looked at a healthy breakfast containing protein and/or whole grains—not meals loaded with fat and calories.

Eating breakfast also gives you the energy to do more physical activity and be more productive in everything you do, which is also vital to weight control. 

SO MAKE THE EFFORT TO GET UP IN THE MORNING AND FIX YOURSELF A HEALTHY MEAL.

2. Sit less, stand more

How long have you been sitting today? Maybe you sit to eat breakfast, at your work desk, in the classroom, in the car, on the train, and in front of the TV in the evenings. It all adds up. 

Sitting less is important no matter how active you are. Even if you’re getting enough exercise in your day, you still might be sitting too much. 

It only takes small changes to your routine to cut down how much time you spend sitting each day. 

Take regular breaks from your computer. Get up and take a break every 30 minutes.

Rotate standing tasks and sitting tasks across your shift. 

Stand to read the paper.

Wash your car by hand instead of using the drive-through car wash.

Move around the house while you check your text messages and emails on your mobile phone.

Don’t want to miss your favorite TV program? Stand up to watch it and do the ironing or wash the dishes at the same time.

3. Get outside

I highly recommend spending some time outside.

Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to your mental and physical well-being.

Unfortunately for most of us, year-round sunshine is but a distant dream. But I can tell you that that doesn’t matter, merely being outside can help your body and your mind. 

Just GET OUTSIDE AND LIVE!

4. Drink water, stay hydrated

Like it or not Water is the essence of life and is needed by every cell in your body. 

Approximately 60%-70% of your body is made up of water. It is the main ingredient of all body fluids, blood including lymph, digestive juices, urine, tears, and sweat. 

Drinking water is probably the most important part of healthy living.

The amount you need varies from person to person depending on size, climate, diet and activity levels, but I would say that the recommended amount is for most people.

Dehydration causes stress on the body and that stress will cause even more dehydration, so drink 2 liters of good, naturally cleaned water each day - throughout the day!

5. Add vegetables to every meal

Okay, I’m urging you to add veggies to every meal and snack.

Research shows that diets filled with vegetables are healthier for a number of reasons. Veggies are low in calories, so they help you lose or maintain a healthy weight, which can prevent issues linked to obesity such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Veggies are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which boost your immune system and ward off disease. 

Telling yourself, "I'm going to eat more veggies," is a great first step, but if you want to ensure it actually happens, you need to have a plan, and here it is — add veggies to every meal and snack.

6. Stretch in the morning

Instead of hitting the snooze button in the morning, take the extra 10 minutes to stretch. It's a great way to energize the morning and ease away any stress or tension from the previous day or a funky sleeping position. 

A stretching routine is a positive way to infuse fitness into busy mornings, and it can be a welcome mental respite to help get your day off on the right foot.

7. Replace salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil or squeezed lemon or lime juice

A salad without dressing? Yeah right. Dressings, condiments, and marinades add a kick to our plates, but when it’s super simple to just pour it out of a bottle, that not-so-healthy nutrition label can easily evade us, adding empty calories, sugar, and sodium.

Sometimes all a salad needs is a drizzle of some really good olive oil, squeezed lemon or even a mix of juices—orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

8. Do a short workout before shower

Rise and shine with this quick morning workout routine.

Working out early in the a.m. before breakfast and hitting the shower is not only a great way to get the day going, but evidence suggests that it may help the body burn 20% more fat.

This morning workout is simple. It requires no gym or equipment, just your own body.

9. Prepare a menu for the week

Planning meals is an activity that can bring a number of benefits. Whether you are cooking for one, for two or for your entire family, taking the time to sit down and plan future meals will not only save you time, effort and money but will also improve your eating habits.

Happy Sunday, start planning your weekly menu!

10. Replace the unhealthy snacks in your house with nuts, fruits, and veggies

Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think. By changing just a few eating habits you can make a big difference to your diet.be

Fruit is the perfect snack. Sweet and satisfying, it’s important to keep your fridge full of apples, pears, and oranges so that you always have something. While drinking juice is OK, actually eating a piece of fruit is likely better for you and more satisfying.

11. An apple a day keeps the doctor away

It's one of the most recognizable expressions around: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." 

RECENTLY, MANY STUDIES HAVE PROVIDED POWERFUL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT THE SAYING IT IS IN FACT TRUE.

Apples seem particularly good at fending off various diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

People who eat apples are also more likely to live healthy lifestyles and consume other fruits and vegetables, which may also contribute to their longer life expectancy.

12. Limit TV, video games and computer time

How much time do you spend watching TV or playing on the computer?

To say I was a TV junkie is a bit of an understatement!

I wanted to watch less TV, but I really didn’t at first. It has taken months of small changes, but now I’ve noticed a dramatic decrease in time spent watching it.

Now I have more time, I am more intentional, I’m doing more things that matter, I’m more focused, I am facing things instead of avoiding them.

13. Take a 10-minute break for yourself

Deep down, we know that breaks are as vital to our well-being as exercise is, yet we struggle to keep them top-of-mind or justified. When we’re under pressure (good or bad), in the zone and needed by others, of course “me before we” goes out the window.

But here’s the thing. All those people you’re helping? All those projects you’re hustling? If you want to fully show up, you’ve got to put that oxygen mask on first.

And if you’re like every busy human on this planet, you’re hesitating. You’re too busy for a break.

But what if I told you everything could change in 10 minutes? It can. 

What if you told yourself you deserve those 10 minutes? You do.

Even a 10 min break will leave you more energized, focused, productive and even more creative.

14. Cut down on suga

Sugar is really the number one food additive: it is added to drinks, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, to bread, sauces, dressings, and to all kinds of processed foods including many low-fat products.

Cutting down sugar in your diet may be one of the best actions you can take to improve your health and your weight. 

Many people will try to convince you that breaking an addiction is very hard because of hormones and neurotransmitters in your brain, but this attitude can actually be quite disempowering. In fact, breaking an addiction is perfectly doable with the right approach. I have personally helped quite a few women do it with great success.

Your best bet is to use a gentle, step-by-step process that gives your body and your taste buds time to adapt. The mistake many people make when they decide to get off sugar is they want to be perfect from day one, so they go cold turkey and cut out sugar completely from the beginning.

While this may work for people with a very strong addiction, in my real-world practice with women who have a rather mild sugar addiction, I’ve seen that a compassionate, gentle approach works far better.

Start by believing that you can do it and make a commitment to give it all you’ve got over a period of time that feels realistic to you.

Few steps to cut down on sugar:

1. Give yourself 30 days (or more)

2. Identify your #1 source of sugar and start there

3. Eat more real food

15. Add a piece of fruit for breakfast

You’ve probably heard the theory that fruit equals sugar, sugar equals fat, so don’t eat fruit. Well, I’m not going to give you scientific evidence of why that’s false…I’ll leave that up to Google if you don’t believe me. A whole lot of people out there who are much smarter than I disagree as well.

Thinking that fruit makes you fat is outrageous. Just think about it — fruit….making you FAT. Seriously? It goes against instinct. It’s just wrong. Well okay, if you sit around on your butt all day and eat fruit, it’s not good, just to clarify — everything in moderation! The fruit has the type of sugar that your body knows how to digest quickly. So instead of your body using loads of energy to digest your food, it quickly tears through that fruit and the rest of the energy goes straight to you.

For the record, I hated fruits for breakfast. I like eggs, toast, muesli, coffee, etc. A REAL breakfast, you might say. But honestly, if you can push yourself through it anyway, you’ll find yourself feeling better, more energetic, and more regular.

16. Use avocado instead of mayonnaise

I use avocados as a mayonnaise substitute. I find that avocados add the moisture and fat that mayonnaise puts in a dish, but it’s less heavy. Plus, I love how it tastes! 

It only recently occurred to me that this habit of mine is pretty healthy. In fact, when I looked it up, avocado has almost half the calories of mayonnaise. That’s a pretty big difference. And It is “good” fat. Avocados are lower in saturated fat than mayonnaise and are made up of “heart-healthy” monounsaturated fat. This kind of fat lowers cholesterol, decreases stomach pouch, and actually helps your heart. Also, it contains vitamins and nutrients. Twenty nutrients, to be exact, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. Mayonnaise has very little in the way of nutrients.

To substitute avocado, simply cut the fruit up, mash it with a fork, and spread it as you would mayonnaise. I use it in turkey sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, egg salad, burritos, and a host of other dishes.

17. Create a morning routine

Wake up and do the same things in the same order before you start your day: have a glass of water, exercise, read, etc. Do things that you normally don’t have time for that make you happy. Easing into your day instead of rushing to get started not only depletes your stress level significantly but puts you in a proactive frame of mind for the remainder of the day.

18. Create an evening routine

The quality of your sleep has an enormous impact on well-being (both physically and psychologically) and is partly affected by your bedtime routine. 

Most people recognize the need for bedtime routines in children, but so often forget to honor the need for these routines as adults. Yet poor sleep affects us in the just the same way as it affects children: we feel irritable, stressed and can have difficulty concentrating during the day. The overall result is low mood and lowered productivity.

A good bedtime routine can result in significant reductions in problematic sleep.

19. Get serious about exercising

If getting active and staying healthy was easy, everyone would do it...but we don't. We come home after a long day of sitting in a chair to de-stress by sitting in another chair, unable to summon the energy to take a walk or hit the gym. Sure, everyone says to "make time for what's important to you," but oversimplification doesn't make the struggle easier. Let's break down the mental walls keeping you from taking care of yourself.

Just start. Today. Not tomorrow, not Monday. TODAY!

Exercise doesn't have to be complicated. Doing something is better than doing nothing. "Don't let optimal be the enemy of good enough," someone says. 

Sure, you could be doing more or could be doing better, but if in the long run that gets in the way of you doing anything at all then it's not use to you. Do what you can do and do consistently then worry about optimizing later as you gain traction.

Remember, getting started is everything.

20. Drink green tea

It is one of the most powerfully healthy things you can add to your lifestyle, plus it’s delicious.Green tea is far more than just a green liquid. It is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet – loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, a lower risk of cancer, FAT LOSS and etc. Green tea is delicious and perfect to start your day with!

If you are extra sensitive to caffeine, are deficient in iron, have ulcers, or are taking certain medications, you shouldn’t drink green tea.

21. Eat more spicy foods

Hot peppers contain capsaicin, and the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. This substance has numerous health benefits, such as fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, pain relief, congestion relief, improved intestinal health, cardioprotection, and increased fat burning. The Scoville scale is a measure of the quantity of capsaicin in a pepper, and you can use it to find the best sources. Jalapenos are good, but if you have the cojones for it you should try habanero peppers. That stuff is intense. By the way, you build up a tolerance to spicy food over time, so if you don’t like it now, try adding small amounts until you feel comfortable with it.

22. Get up earlier

Waking up earlier will allow you to get all of your important work done before everyone else is even awake—you would not believe the difference this makes! There’s no better feeling than knowing no matter what happens for the rest of the day, you’ve accomplished what you set out to. Bring on the interruptions and distractions; you’ll be armed and ready!

Take a look at what time successful people wake up ...

WAKE UP!

GO BE GREAT!

23. Spend more time in the sun for vitamin D

Most people think of vitamin D as “the other thing that is good for my bones”. Did you know that in addition to protecting against multiple bone disorders, vitamin D helps prevent muscle weakness, more than a dozen types of internal cancers, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and many other diseases? 

While you can get vitamin D from food sources and supplementation, the best way is to let your body produce it naturally through exposure to sunlight.

There are many factors that make this complicated, such as latitude, skin pigmentation, and the season, so there is no simple recommendation for how much sun exposure is optimal. Here is a decent rule of thumb: get daily sun exposure of 10-30 minutes on a large portion of your body during the middle of the day.

24. Use healthier oils

When cooking, you should look for oils that have a high smoke point, such as coconut and avocado oil. In general, saturated fats are the most stable under heat, so you should cook with those (I know, this goes against much of what you may have heard). Don’t use heavily processed vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, soybean, grapeseed, and so on. Extra virgin olive oil is an incredibly healthy choice for adding to foods and for low-temperature cooking. Don’t use olive oil for high-temperature cooking because it will oxidize and become very unhealthy.

25. Eat more omega-3 fatty acids

This one is so so so so so important for both your health and your happiness.

Some of the best sources include fatty fish such as salmon and sardines (wild caught, not farmed) as well as flax seeds and walnuts. Nosh on walnuts as a healthy snack and eat fatty fish at least twice per week.

26. Take the stairs instead of the elevator

It only takes an extra two or three minutes at most, and sometimes is even faster. Climbing stairs is actually a great exercise, and if you make a habit of it, you will be a far more conditioned person.

27. Eat only until 80% full

Although I know this is difficult for many people (myself included), I think this one is really really important.

This is the practice of hara-hachi-bu, which the Okinawans observed. The result? Almost 29% of Okinawans lived to be 100 years old, which is a rate four times higher than those living in western countries (Source). Of course, other factors certainly contributed, but caloric restriction definitely played its part. “But then I’ll still be hungry!” you say? It takes about 20 minutes after eating before your brain registers that you are satiated. While you might still feel a little hungry for a few minutes, you will feel comfortable very shortly.

28. Warm up before and cool down after your workout

Most people shrug this off and consider it a waste of precious workout time, but it is very important for reducing your risk of injury as well as improving your performance. Let’s start with the warm up.

Your warm-up is designed to prepare you for the workout ahead. Therefore, the way you warm up will vary depending on what you plan to do in your workout. Start with five minutes of light cardio to get your blood flowing and to elevate your muscle temperature. Then you will be doing 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretches, or moving stretches, that take your body through full ranges of motion. 

When you’ve completed your workout, leave a couple extra minutes for a cool down, which will decrease muscle soreness. If your workout was cardio, do the same cardio at a lower intensity for five minutes, and then do some leg stretches. Otherwise, you’ll want to immediately start doing static stretches (the typical gym class stretch-and-hold kind) for the body parts that you worked out.

29. Don’t be afraid to lift weights

If you’ve ever stepped foot into a gym before, it’s easy to notice something…

And that something is that most women in the gym are doing cardio.You don’t see women lifting weights too often.

But is lifting weights worthwhile for women?

Won’t it make them look masculine and bulky?

NO. IT WON’T. 

It’s the Only Way to Get Tone. Wait what? I thought that cardio and cute pink-coated dumbbells were how women get toned.You mean to tell me that I actually have to lift some real weights if I want to achieve that slim, fit, and feminine look? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you.

The advice that you’ve heard about high reps with light weights getting you tone is dead wrong. Why is that? Well because your body only burns/gains fat and builds/loses muscle. With this being the case, to get “tone” you must burn fat and then gain some muscle. And do you really think that those 2-pound dumbbells are going to get the job done? Not a chance. Instead, you need to lift some actual weights that are going to help you build muscle in order for you to look firm. Yes, this means lifting heavy weights. I’m sorry, but there’s no way to get around this. If you want to get tone, then you must lift.

30. Encourage healthy lifestyles in others

Getting healthy can be great for you but what about those who are close to you? Encourage your spouse, family members and children to get out there and get moving along with you. It’ll not only help them but will also encourage you to stay with your healthy habits as well.