Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the number of articles related to healthy living ? We seem to be bombarded with different opinions about what is healthy and what foodstuffs we should avoid. One week we are told that ‘clean eating’ is the way forward. The following week we are advised that perhaps this is not a healthy diet. Social media pages are flooded with the latest diet success ( or failure ) and how we can lose weight by simply counting points. And yet, even with all this advice many of us are still stuck in the same old poor eating patterns.
We are faced with extreme exercise regimes that the ordinary person on the street just couldn’t sustain. I wonder if it is because there is TOO much information now. Our tired minds must be overwhelmed by all this seemingly good advice. So we retreat, back into our comfort eating and our inactive lifestyle.
This blog post is not about dieting or losing weight or how you can achieve that ‘bikini body’ by next summer. We are all grown up and we know the medical facts related to obesity and the health risks that brings. I am not writing this to encourage weight loss. I am suggesting that healthy living should be a way of life, that makes us feel healthier and stronger. This is especially important as we reach mid age when menopause and other niggling health issues creep into our life.
So here are my top tips for healthy living.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
The latest advice is that drinking 6 glasses of water a day will keep us hydrated and will help our body cope better with the stresses of life. Water is essential for our body to function efficiently. Without enough fluids we can feel lethargic, tired and even start with other medical issues.
I find the easiest way to drink the right amount of water is to fill a large jug or bottle with water and pop it in the fridge. I make sure I have finished the jug before the end of the day. By doing this you will have a clear indicator of how much you have drunk ( or not drunk ). If you really don’t like the taste of plain water, then why not add slices of lemon and lime to the water or a tiny amount of juice. I love sparkling water and for some reason I can drink this freely, but I don’t enjoy tap water as much.
CURB THOSE SNACK ATTACKS
Eating healthily is so simple so why do people find it difficult ? I guess we are faced with SO much choice in foodstuffs on the market. We take the easy option and eat what is quick and close to hand. This is the reason snack foods are so popular. When we feel a pang of hunger we often reach for a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar ( plus they do taste nice ). The problem is that when we continually eat sugary and salty snacks this can have an adverse effect on our body, not to mention the inevitable weight gain.
To stop myself eating too many unhealthy snacks I often make up a small selection of healthier snacks that I can easily reach to when I feel hungry. My suggestions for healthier snacks include dates, small cubes of cheese, chopped up peppers, apples and pears. I also have a ready made up bowl of salad in the fridge which contains raw spinach, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, grapes and a smattering of parmesan cheese. Another suggestion is to drink a glass of water, as it may be thirst you are feeling rather than hunger.
EAT WITH THE 80-20 RULE AND USE SMALLER PLATES
It can be overwhelming knowing what to eat as we are faced with so much choice and so many different eating plans. In a panic to get healthy or even lose weight, we often try the latest fad diet and get so down when we fail miserably two weeks later. I am not a great believer in set diets although I do appreciate they work for some people. Personally I just think they are not advocating a diet for life, more of a quick fix.
I believe if you find a healthy way of eating that can be incorporated into your life then you are more likely to stick to it. This is why I use the 80-20 rule in my daily eating. Of course I don’t count it rigidly but generally I eat healthy food in the majority ( the 80% ) with a few cheeky snacks ( the 20% ) along the way. This way I am not depriving myself of that cream scone or that chocolate bar, but I am moderating what level of sugary snacks I eat.
By healthy food I mean lots of salads, vegetables, fresh fruit and fish. I limit my intake of red meat and carbs as I find these harder on my digestive system. Eating at least one salad a day, I make sure I constantly have a ready made bowl of salad in the fridge so it is easy to eat.
I also use smaller plates when I am serving up my meals. Portion control is a huge problem with many people as meals are always served on large plates. That feeling of been over full after eating a meal is so common and yet is completely avoidable. The bottom line is that we generally eat more than our bodies can handle, hence the uncomfortable feeling of fullness.
I find grazing during the day a much better way to eat than three rigid meals a day. My digestive system seems to cope better with this way of eating and I don’t feel as sluggish. Why not try to serve your food on smaller plates and see if you notice the difference ? I would guess that you won’t notice the change as your mind sees a full plate, albeit a smaller one.
OK I am a huge advocate of exercise and I have written many blog posts about how exercise has helped me. Many people panic at the thought of having to exercise, but it really is key to healthy living. Most people regardless of age, background, fitness etc CAN do some form of exercise. The only barrier to exercise is the one you put on yourself.
I personally LOVE going to the gym. It keeps me focused on my exercise routine. It also gets me out of the house and it provides me with a good social life. This is especially important for someone like me who works from home. If you missed my post on my exercise for beginners then please click here to read it.
Exercise is basically been active every day. Whether that is walking the dog every day, swimming lengths every evening or going cycling in the countryside. There is ALWAYS some form of exercise you can do. Try look at what interests you. It’s important to choose something you enjoy as you are more likely to stick to it.
Are you a social person eager to make new friends ? Then why not look at joining a club which involves some form of sport ? Check out your local sports centre or community groups for badminton, tennis, netball or even dancing. Not only will you be keeping fit, but you will be having fun too.
So there are my quick and easy ways to try and incorporate healthy living into your life. It really can be that easy and doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact if you keep it simple then you are more likely to stick to it.
Have you any top tips for leading a healthier life ? What stops you from healthy living ?
Remember it is never too late to get your life back on a healthy track, no matter what your age or circumstances. We can all do something to contribute to our own healthy lifestyle.
Until next time dear friends