The key to creating a healthy lifestyle is to make choices you can live with while making adjustments to your daily routine. One of the best ways to ensure success is to make changes gradually.
These changes cannot be done by tackling everything at once.
Worry is not good for us. It is easy to start a healthier life style without increased costs, unsustainable changes or loss of personal enjoyment.
Obviously some habits cost the bank, considerably. In terms of what we eat, have a look at your shopping docket and notice the costs of snacks verses vegetables.
Instead of soft drink, try fresh juice, some lemon or lime in a glass of cold water, green tea and so on. Over time it is possible to remove all soft drinks from the fridge without feeling loss.
Instead of cream-filled cakes, try some small crisp apples, or see how other people are organising their snacks.
Maybe you can’t stop the chocolate, but you could reasonably purchase one bar of chocolate per week as a ration. At some point the level of reduction in sweets will mean you don’t want lots of sweets. The same goes for salt.
When we have refined sugar content, enzymes in the mouth increase and make us want more. Apart from wanting more, it gives quick energy hits to the body rather than sustained energy.
If you free up your budget a little, you can look at some organic products and healthier foods.
One simple way to reduce costs is to buy vegetables that are not packaged or pre-cut. Enjoy having a quality sharp knife and sharpening steel at home.
Instead of white rice, try brown rice, or mix the two together to start a better direction.
Many people advise not to over exert yourself with initial changes. Do what the body feels it can handle. If one of your goals is walking, start with short walks and increase to a recommended minimum, such as 20 to 30 minutes. Some people go for 40 to 60 minutes. If you find there are distractions to your goals look at how to achieve them, such as a morning walk before breakfast.
A number of people hit the gym enthusiastically doing anything they can. There are many body movements that are not natural. A well qualified trainer, such as the owner of a fitness center, will know this and ensure you have a good balance between physical movement and the right machines.
Making lists of goals or things that can be changed is a method many people use for ongoing review. You may have ideas about what is healthy and find there are different points of view. Your list may change, but of commendation and reward is that you are working with it.
For example, if you are really concerned over the amount of chocolate bars and snacks, and if you do not have allergies, you can try nuts or mixed fruit and nuts. You may go straight for salted nuts as this is your habit. At some point try the change to raw nuts such as cashews and almonds. You will want some variety. Try some whole grain products instead of plain flour. Try rice cakes. These even go good with Vegemite!
Over time, it is quite likely you will smell the sugars in cereals. Look for those without sugar. For variety use your hands to mix different mueslis and grains together. Can you look at organic milk instead of standard milk. Can you go another step later to almond milk. What we are showing is that there is a lot of ability to make change that you will have no difficulty in maintaining.
When we have made a good change, we can review it. For instance, if you change to olive oil you have done well. But, later you may realise it is best to get quality Australian olive oil. Learning how the food market tricks us takes time. Going for lower cost foods has a valid place, but not on all food items. You can usually taste if a product has good quality. A real consumer trick is honey that has added ingredients not shown on the label. Raw honey will let you know what honey should taste like.
At some point you can reduce meal sizes. Instead of a mountain high plate with a whole large potato, and a continual emphasis on sauce, you can initially cut the potato into three quarters before you cook it, and later into half and so on. If food changes over time are going well, you will remove the sauces in favour of the flavour of food.
It always takes time to explore new ways of cooking. One goal is to learn at least one new dish every year. Over time you may have a selection of dishes you refine, so that people see these as your much desired signature dishes.
For example, why not try a casserole dish with layers of vegetables on top of each other. You might do this once a week. Your first attempt may not be as good as you’d like. So, sprinkle in half a teaspoon of good quality curry, a bit of feta cheese, lots of greens and some thin slices of pumpkin to sweeten it up. Pour in a bit of water, cover the dish, and bake for an hour to an hour and a half at a medium to high heat. If it is too dry, add in extra water next time and drizzle raw honey over one of the layers. At some point it will be amazingly perfect. This is not to say on some days you don’t get things right, and you naturally use a fall back position such as your old habit of peanut paste on white bread!!! (Give yourself a break.)
You may be outdoors and want a treat. Why not? A rule of thumb is that whatever you have in your cupboards at home, you will eat. If you purchase a bag of lollies, they will be consumed. If you purchase a bag of refined white sugar, it will go into your baking.
You may reduce sweets over time so that you are not hurting. One day you won’t even want to buy them, at all. A number of snacks are filled with refined sugar, even though they look healthy and attractive. You may enjoy the first “hit”, but you can’t eat those kinds of snacks throughout the week as they feel sickly in quantity. By comparison, raw cashews feel pleasant and easy to eat at any time you want a nibble. As we make changes our bodies don’t want to eat as much as we once did. (Not of course referring to food styles people need for sports commitments.) If you love crisp peanuts, you can put them on a baking tray at low heat making sure they do not get too browned, and there you are – a treat that is not oily and salty. This gives some flexibility between raw and baked nuts so you don’t initially go crazy! The idea is to be reasonable as you make changes.
We feel it is good to explore different foods and styles so you make progress over time. Keep your goals in perspective. Do not concern yourself with the fact that you are not making all of these changes fast enough. It is a lifetime commitment. Changing old habits and routines takes time. As an example, it may take a couple of years before you realise it is a must to stop buying litres of chocolate milk every week. For some time you may enjoy this as a treat, but you will learn to walk past that section of the shopping shelves.
If someone “tells” you what you must do, just sense if it seems unbalanced, if it is sustainable, if it is harming your emotions and so forth. Some food styles are presented as a diet, or a strict discipline. Instead, we would like people to engage with their foods. Do not be concerned about learning to question and differ in opinion to other people telling you what you must do forever and ever onward.
If you are sincere about this you will not arrange your foods according to what you “want”. In the end, a refusal to change is exactly that. The body will not excuse what we want. Do we care for ourselves and our bodies? Do we care about the sadness we cause others and family who see blatantly harmful life styles? People know. The honest response is from the heart – I am either not going to change, or I am going to go on a journey.
There is a right way to make progress. And even though no one may congratulate you for your progress, you are to be congratulated, very much so. Your body will know it too – how refreshing is that?
Change is an attitude
A healthy lifestyle is a broad term covering several areas of life. Many people want to live healthy but do not know where to start.
A healthy lifestyle is a pattern that occurs primarily in mind. Only then can we move into action. We have heard of emotional and mental maturity. This is much desired in the work force. We can think about what is worthwhile – for example, to live unhealthy, to be a corporate heart attack statistic, to damage our body into having severe chronic diseases at some point, or to take care of ourselves and prolong life.
A healthy lifestyle begins with attitude. You can imagine and then try things out. Perhaps sit down and think about how you are living now and how would like to improve your life. The faculty of imagination is essential for change.
If we do not review our health we live in a repetitive cycle that becomes a norm. Everyone is subject to illness and changes that occur quite quickly as we age. When we are in our twenties and thirties, we believe things will go on the same, but they do not. To be in dark, deeply distressful places is something we desperately do not want people to be in.
We really should develop “evolving” goals – landmarks we can see.
Various popularised “diets”, exercise programs, books and plans, of which there are so many that do not work or that discourage and cost people, are in contrast to learning about a complex body that needs ratios of necessary nutrients and activity at appropriate times during the day. Quick fixes such as instant weight loss are outside the realm of truth as we see and experience it. We need encouragement to move into the right ways of thinking that in turn changes what we do and makes confident, proven, and evident impact.