Achieving a healthy lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first. But with the weather warming and summer approaching, now is the perfect time to take stock of your habits and routines and establish some new healthy lifestyle goals.
Some of those goals may include setting appropriate food consumption habits, practicing proper exercise, and developing a healthy routine. These are all crucial components of a happy, healthy lifestyle.1
Read on to learn some of Tony Horton’s suggested healthy habits.
Tips For Setting Long Term Goals For Losing Weight
It’s tempting to jump on the fad diet bandwagon. The options include high protein/low carb (keto, paleo, Atkins), low fat, high fiber, liquid, alternate-day fasting, 30-day cleanses, raw vegan, superfood… and the list goes on.2 The truth is, fad diets are not always the best way to maintain a healthy weight and support your overall health.3 You can achieve many healthy lifestyle goals without following fad diets.
Before setting long term weight loss goals, it’s useful to take stock of which behaviors, unique to you, might be causing the weight gain. Are you consuming large portions at meals? Are you an emotional eater? Do you eat out too much or skip meals?4 Talk to your doctor or a nutrition expert about what might be contributing to your difficulty losing weight.
Then, choose one behavior to work on and keep track of your progress.
Why do you want to lose weight? You won’t make the change unless you buy into why you want to do it. This may help put you on the path to weight loss success.
Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset requires you to rethink your relationship with food. You can choose to eat whatever you want. Or you can choose to eat healthier food.
Tips For Establishing Eating Habits For Healthy Lifestyle
As mentioned above, it’s tempting to think that eating better involves going on a fad diet. But a better approach would be managing your lifestyle with the foods that you eat, the energy that you expend, and the mindset that you place yourself in.5,6,7
Prep Ahead Of Time
Prepare food the day before, so you know what you will be eating the next day. This may help eliminate the need to improvise or pick up something at the last minute, when you are hungry and potentially apt to make poor choices.8
Plan a menu for the week, and shop accordingly, so you don’t have extra treats at home. If you’re going out to eat or have plans for a lunch meeting, you can preview the menu ahead of time. This way, you’ll be aware of the healthy options without having to choose your meal on the spot.
It’s also a good idea not to go shopping when you’re hungry and to always have a bottle of water on the go.9
Start your day by drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. After a full night’s sleep, starting your morning hydrated may help boost your energy, support your metabolism, and contribute to healthy-looking skin. It also might help with digestion.10
Eat From The Right Food Categories
A plan for a healthy lifestyle approach might include eating:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Healthy fats
- Lean proteins
By eating real, whole foods, you can enjoy food while getting the proper nutrients you need to support your health. Meanwhile, avoiding processed and high-sugar foods can contribute to your weight loss.
Here are some ideas:
- Monounsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil)
- Polyunsaturated fats (almonds, cashews, peanuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Complex carbohydrates (brown rice, barley, quinoa, wheat berries)
- Multiple servings of fruits and vegetables of varying colors
- Fish, eggs, and poultry
Talk to your doctor about what a healthy diet looks like for you.
Avoid Or Limit These Foods
On the other hand, which foods should you avoid consuming or limit?
- Saturated fats (red meat, butter, milk)
- Trans-fats (commercially baked products, deep-fried restaurant food)
- Highly refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, store-bought pastries, french fries)
- Sugary beverages (sodas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks)11
Eat Foods That You Enjoy
It’s okay to eat the foods that you enjoy. Just eat them in moderation. Depriving yourself of foods that you love may cause you to engage in bad eating habits, including binging at improper times.12
Additional Tips For Adopting A Healthy Diet
Here are just a few more things to keep in mind:
- Avoid fad diet books.
- Don’t eat processed carbs, such as white bread, white rice, products derived from white potatoes, and sugar.13
- Visit the fresh or frozen produce aisle or a farmer’s market.14
Some Tips For Keeping Track Of Your Health Goals
Once you’ve established a healthy routine with the foods that you eat, there are a number of ways to keep track of your health goals. They include:
- Keeping a journal to write down what you’re eating each day.
- Keeping track of the daily physical activity you’re getting.
- Weighing and measuring yourself once a week or so. Seeing the number of pounds drop can help you stay motivated.15
Beyond Food And Dieting: Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Kicking The Bad Habits
Many people lead busy, stressful lives in the 21st century. Often, the stress itself leads us to smoke, drink or not exercise. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress, kick unhealthy lifestyle habits and establish new, healthy ones.
Reduce Stress With Enjoyable Activities
For better stress management, find ways to do things that you enjoy. Here are some examples:
- Carve out time to read a book, peruse a magazine or write a short story
- Pick up a hobby, like knitting, sewing or cooking
- Learn a musical instrument
- Take up drawing or painting
- Practice meditation or yoga
- Listen to music16,17
Give Up Smoking
Smoking is very hazardous to your life. There is no amount of smoking that is healthy.18,19
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
It comes as no surprise that alcohol can have extremely damaging effects on the body. Limit your alcohol intake as much as possible. If you must drink, opt for red wine. Red wine can have some health benefits when consumed in moderation.20
Practice Proper Dental Hygiene
Oral hygiene is part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle. Consuming a healthy diet that minimizes sugary, starchy foods helps to keep a lid on bad bacteria and minimizes plaque buildup. It is also advisable to refrain from smoking and consuming too many alcoholic drinks.21 Some tips are to brush and clean your teeth at least twice per day, to use mouthwash and to floss. Visit your dentist regularly.22
Make Sure You Get Up And Moving
Sedentary behavior is a potential issue to address. This is brought about by a culture of working in front of a computer, commuting to and from work, watching television, and other factors. Sedentary behavior has been associated with an increased risk of weight gain.
One solution is to adopt behaviors that expend more energy, including regular exercise and light physical activity.23 Use little opportunities throughout the day to get in some physical activity. Park your car a bit farther than usual to allow for taking some extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible. The key is to increase your movement throughout your day whenever you can.
Exercise: Physical Activities To Try
- Taking a brisk walk
- Going for a light jog
- Doing yoga
- Aerobic dancing
- Riding on a stationary bicycle
- Playing sports, like rugby or soccer
- Performing work around the home, like cleaning windows, vacuuming or mowing the lawn
And if you are able to, it is advisable to put in least 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous activity each day.25 Just make sure to get your doctor’s approval before giving any new exercise a try.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
In addition to food, stress reduction and movement, sleep also plays a role in healthy routines and well-being. Studies have demonstrated the importance of having a set time to go to bed and wake up. This holds true regardless of whether you’re a morning person or a night person. An irregular sleep schedule might affect your overall productivity, mood, and health.26
Set Realistic Goals To Ensure Success
When establishing new lifestyle habits, it is important to set realistic goals. This will make it more likely that you will internalize the new habits and not backpedal. Take on one or a couple new habits at a time. Start with the ones that are easiest. The key is to find a rhythm and stick to it diligently.
Tony Horton’s Guide to Staying Fit While Self-Isolating: Exercises To Do At Home
Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal of the Day? Breaking The Fast
Tips For Healthy Snacks (Snacking Doesn’t Have To Be Unhealthy)