Healthy is more than a way of life. It is a way to live
I’ll be the first to admit it – fitness is hard work! Exercising regularly, watching what we eat, sacrificing sleep, time, money, energy… it all adds up! Because of this I have encountered many people who just think that fitness and health are so far out of their reach that they shouldn’t even try. “Arriving at my ultimate goal is going to take too much work, so why even bother.” If you have ever felt this way I want you to pay very close attention to the next sentence:
The destination may be a long ways off, but the first step can happen right now!
Today I’m sharing 10 simple and effective lifestyle changes that are going to kick-start this journey for you. These are meant to be incredibly simple, first steps that you can take to start eating healthier and getting more regular exercise. Heath and fitness doesn’t have to mean radical changes in diet and exercise – it just means trying to be a little better today than you were yesterday! Here we go!
1. Stop drinking soda. Oh if you do nothing else – please give up soda. Did you know that a 12 else can of soda has 138 calories and 33 grams of sugar? That’s more than 2 tablespoons in a 12 ounce can. And then to make matters worse, when was the last time you only had 12 ounces of soda?! It seems like most gas stations, restaurants, and fast food places start with at least 24 ounces and then compete with each other about who can make the biggest container to put it in (the biggest I’ve ever seen was 128 ounces – I honestly thought it was a joke!)! One of the absolute best things you can do for your health is to eliminate soda from your diet altogether. Find a good substitute including light lemonade or even flavored water. If you eliminate even 36 ounces of soda from your diet you’ve cut out over 400 calories and 100 grams of sugar.
2. Stop eating fast food. There’s a reason why it’s called fast food – they’re meant to get it out to you FAST. Most of the time that’s at the sake of additives, preservatives, grease, oil, and any other means they can demise to get food to your table as fast as possible. To get healthy you have to get off the fast food train! Try packing your lunch from home. Try a healthy alternative like a sandwich place. Replacing “junk” food with these healthy alternatives will give your body nutrients and energy without all the fat and additives.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. While we’re talking about diet – how many of you get enough fruits and veggies throughout the day? Did you know that fresh fruits and vegetables is not only good for you, but also a lot more filling? 400 calories of fats and oil is minuscule compared to what 400 calories of fruits and veggies. Start packing apples, bananas, and oranges for snacks. Have an extra serving of salad at dinner. Use this idea to fill you up without packing on the calories day-to-day.
4. Drink more water. Did you know you’re supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day? Most of us (myself included) don’t get nearly enough. There are numerous benefits to drinking sufficient water; from improved nutrient delivery to improved waste expulsion, drinking enough water is a quick and easy way to improve your health in just a few short days.
5. Walk. I don’t care when, I don’t care where. I don’t even care how long – one of the simplest ways to improve your health right now is to simply take more steps through the day. Park your car further away at the grocery store or shopping mall. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk around the block on your break at work. Take the kids on a walk after dinner instead of camping in front of the TV. Plan a hike this Saturday. Go to the park. I don’t care how you do it – just get up and be more active!
6. Get rid of temptations. Go to your pantry and take an inventory. When you find whatever your temptation is – chocolate, chips, cookies, candy, etc – throw it away and then don’t buy anymore! My wife did this to me one day about a year ago. I am a notorious snacker! I would sit down at night to do work and just find a little handful of whatever to munch on. And I wasn’t even hungry!! I’ve decided I’m a bored snacker – it gives me something to do. Well she got rid of all these little munchies (my Starbursts and Skittles are a passion of mine) and just doesn’t but them anymore! Now instead I grad a banana or some apple slices and munch on those instead. They’re a lot more filling without any of the artificial sugars, flavors, and sweeteners.
7. Take up a healthy hobby: Cycling, golfing, hiking, walking, rollerblading… heck even birdwatching!! The important thing is that you move! Hobbies or sports make moving a lot easier. If you tell me I’ve got to go on a 2-hour walk I’m less than excited. Put a golf ball in front of me and tell me to play nine holes and I’m devastated it only lasts 2 hours! Find something you enjoy and go with it!
8. Surround yourself with motivation. Make it your desk top. Make it your screen saver or background on your phone. Put sticky notes in your cupboard. Something – Anything – that will remind you of your goals and keep you on the right track. Put reminders about food on sticky notes in the pantry. Put some kind of exercise inspiration on your phone so you see it every time you check your phone. Surrounding yourself with positive reinforcements and affirmations is a great way to keep yourself honest and stay on the right track. Looking for great motivational pictures and sayings? I’ve got over 100 here on T&T – GET THEM HERE!
9. Enlist a friend. Think of someone right now with similar goals as you. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe a sibling. A cousin, a roommate, a neighbor or even your spouse (date night!!). Call that person right now. I’m not kidding. I want you to stop reading this, pick up your phone, and call the person you’re thinking about (I know you’ve got someone in mind). I want you to tell them your goals – that you want to be more active or start eating healthier and then talk about how you can help each other to fulfill your goals. I guarantee this person has similar goals and interests and will be totally invested in helping you out. You then develop a mutual relationship where you help him/her as much as he/she helps you. I’ve seen it happen numerous times before and I promise amazing results.
10. Start everyday with a simple workout. It doesn’t need to be anything too strenuous. It doesn’t need to take a long time. But a simple workout is a great way to strengthen your muscles, get the blood flowing, and turbocharge your day! Try this one:
10 push ups (can be modified on knees)
10 sit ups (can be crunches if you can’t do a full sit up)
10 squats (as low as you can go)
Repeated 2-3 times.
This shouldn’t take more than about 8 minutes and is a great way to hit the ground running.
You can totally do this! Today is the day! I wrote these to be the simplest, easiest lifestyle changes I can imagine that will result in improved health and fitness. Try them TODAY!!! RIGHT NOW!! In this very moment try these things out and start seeing results!
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Make it happen,
By Jared Beckstrand