Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle? Do you want to be part of the elite eight percent of people who actually achieve their goals?
Adopting healthier habits means different things to different people. Maybe you want to give up soda or exercise more. Maybe you want to cook more meals at home or lose weight. Whatever getting healthy means to you, there’s one thing we know for sure: lasting change is the result of small, daily choices that add up over time.
The following ten healthy habits are easy to work into your daily lifestyle, and will have a big impact on your health!
1. Drink more water
Not only do most people not drink enough water, but they also aren’t able to recognize signs that they’re dehydrated.
Many common ailments are actually indications of dehydration, including dry skin, constipation, bad breath, and fatigue. And yet we try all kinds of remedies to correct these issues when sometimes all we need is to remember to drink more water!
Staying hydrated won’t just help you avoid these unpleasant symptoms, it’ll also curb your cravings and help you reach your weight-loss goals.
Check out these 15 tips for getting more water into your daily routine.
2. Change your snacking habits
We all love snacks. But, the snacks we love the most don’t always offer the greatest health benefits.
When it comes to snacking smart, work on making healthy choices just as convenient as unhealthy options. Sure, it’s easy to grab a bag of chips. But isn’t it just as easy to grab an apple or banana? Planning ahead is the key to making sure you don’t get caught without healthy options on hand. When you go grocery shopping, stock up on healthy snacks that are easy to eat on the go. Some other great options include:
- Fresh berries
- Baby carrots
- Single-serving containers of Greek yogurt (but watch the sugar content!)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Single-serving instant oatmeal packets
- Beef or turkey jerky
We also offer great-tasting hunger control chips that will keep you feeling full without all the unhealthy ingredients!
To make healthy eating even more convenient, take 30 minutes on a Saturday or Sunday to divide your snacks into plastic containers or bags. That way, you can just grab your snacks during the week and you’re ready to go!
3. Eat the rainbow
No, unfortunately, we’re not talking about eating more Skittles. When you eat fruits and vegetables in an assortment of colors, you’re ensuring that your body gets a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants.
A salad is a great option for getting lots of differently colored fruits and vegetables all in one meal. Don’t like salads? Switch things up with some unexpected combinations.
You can also steam or saute your veggies, make vegetable-based soups, or throw them into smoothies along with some frozen fruits. The options are endless!
4. Eat mindfully
When it comes to eating healthy, people often focus only on what they’re eating. But how you eat also plays a role.
How do you typically eat your meals? Do you sit at the table, chew your food thoroughly, and set your fork or spoon down in between bites? Or, are you like most of us, and eat sitting in front of the TV with your phone in one hand and your fork in the other?
When you wolf down your food as fast as you can, your body doesn’t have time to send a signal to your brain that it’s full. This means you’ll probably end up eating more than you need. Next time you sit down for a meal, practice mindful eating. Turn off the TV and pay more attention to your meal. Slow down, and stop eating when you’re 80 percent full. Your meal may take longer, but you’ll also likely find that it’s more satisfying than usual.
5. Get more (and better) sleep
Healthy habits aren’t all about what you eat. How’s your sleep? Getting a sufficient amount of quality sleep — for most people this means seven to nine hours per night — can have profound effects on your overall health.
Some of the benefits of good sleep include:
- Better memory
- Decreased inflammation
- Longer lifespan
- Increased creativity
- Better attention span
- Reduced cravings
- Faster metabolism
If you’re struggling in the sleep department, make sure you’re disconnecting from electronics at least an hour before bedtime. You should also have a set bedtime and wake-up time that you stick to every day, even on weekends. Remove distractions — such as TVs — from the bedroom, and make sure you have a comfortable, cool sleep environment.
6. Spend more time outside
How often do you take a walk around the neighborhood or enjoy a cup of coffee on your front porch? Spending time outside has been proven to improve cognition and brain function. It also reduces stress and boosts your immune system.
The next time you find yourself plopping down in front of the TV or computer, remind yourself to step outside instead. Go for a walk around the neighborhood after dinner or plan to meet up with a friend for a weekend walk on the beach.
7. Move more
Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, exercise offers important benefits, including strengthening muscles and bones, increasing energy, reducing your risk of disease, reducing feelings of stress and depression, improving skin health, and improving sleep quality.
You don’t need to spend hours drowning in sweat. But you do need to move regularly.
The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least two times per week, along with at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise (walking, jogging, etc.).
If you absolutely refuse to go to the gym, look for ways that you can add more activity into your regular routine. Can you get a standing or treadmill desk at work? Can you park farther away from your office and take the stairs instead of the elevator? What if, instead of sitting on the couch while watching TV, you did pushups and sit-ups instead? Other types of activity count, too: spend time gardening, playing with the kids, or even dancing while you do housework.
8. Spend time with people you love
While everyone needs to recharge on their own now and then, it’s not healthy to spend too much time alone. Companionship is important for our mental health and general well-being. Studies show that meaningful relationships can even boost longevity.
Do you have people (or even one person) you can spend time with regularly? You don’t need to be surrounded by people every single day (that’s not healthy, either). But make sure you’re spending quality time with your family or close friends. Try to go deeper than just sitting in the same room together — actual conversation is much better! Or, kill two birds with one stone and make an exercise date with a friend! Research indicates that people who join a weight-loss program with a friend are more successful.
9. Practice gratitude
How often do you think about all the reasons you have to be grateful? Showing gratitude doesn’t just give you the warm fuzzies. It can also offer a number of health benefits, including:
- Better relationships
- Improved sleep
- Increased self-esteem
- Reduced inflammation
- Healthier heart rhythms
Who knew you could get so much out of saying thank you more often? Want to up the ante even more? Spend a few minutes each day writing down 3-5 things that you’re grateful for.
Meditation has been getting more attention in medical circles in the last few years, and for good reason. Meditation decreases stress, improves cardiovascular health, boosts the immune system, and increases mental clarity and cognition. It can even help you lose weight. If you’re not on the meditation train yet, it’s time to climb aboard.
Not sure how to begin? Start by committing to just five minutes a day. Sit up straight with your eyes closed and think about your breath. Or, try an app that offers free guided meditations, such as Insight Timer. The time will be up before you know it, and you’ll be on your way to reaping some pretty awesome benefits.
Need help adopting healthy habits?
Need help achieving your health and wellness goals? Garcia Weight Loss offers personalized weight loss programs designed to help you look and feel your best. Contact us today for your no-cost consultation!