Leading a healthy life is easier said than done. Below, I have listed several habits that can help you begin to start establishing a healthy lifestyle. Most research shows that a new habit takes at least 21 days to form. It’s important to focus on one (maybe two) at a time, so try to change one or two of the behaviors listed, and before you know it, you will have adapted all seven!
- Be consistent. Not only in food choices, but in fitness routines, sleep patterns, and timing of meals and snacks. Make health a top priority. When you’re busy, exercise and eat healthy. When you’re tired, exercise and eat healthy. There is no such thing as a lapse or relapse when behavior remains consistent.
- Create a daily menu. Make breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks similar from day to day. When there are several options for a meal or snack, generally more is consumed than if there was not a choice. It does not have to be the exact same meal but there should only be a slight variation. For example, plan to have a salad every day for lunch but mix up the toppings. Add chicken one day and salmon the next.
- Eat small, frequent meals. Eating every 3-4 hours will help maintain energy levels as well as reduce the incidence of extreme hunger. This will lessen or eliminate the desire to eat high calorie, high fat foods when hungry.
- Always be prepared. Thinking ahead about meals is a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For example, if you’re out of the house all day, pack nutrient-dense snacks to prevent hunger. This will also stop you from making a trip to a fast-food restaurant.
- Have regular check-ins. Whether it is on the scale, with a tape measure, or with a pair of jeans, make sure to monitor body composition and maintain accountability. A weekly check-in can keep you on track.
- Know when to say yes. If you want dessert after dinner, say no to the bread or an appetizer. The key to sustaining and enjoying a healthy lifestyle is to learn when to indulge and when to pass.
- Get enough sleep. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep to function properly. Getting enough shut-eye will uphold immune function, regulate your metabolism, and give you the extra energy needed to perform. Prioritize sleep because the benefits are endless!
Happy New Year, all!