A Short Term Roadmap to a Long Term Healthy Lifestyle
Leading a healthy lifestyle does not mean being relegated to a lifetime of eating salads, crazy workouts and creating sleep charts.
Here are things you can do to get healthier in 14 days.
Let’s start with the least obvious one.
There is evidence that strong relationships, whether romantic or familial, contribute to a healthy, happy and long life. Make partner time a priority, keep up with the family, schedule time for a Men’s (or Ladies) Night Out, join a book club, bird watching group or any organization or nonprofit where you will find like-minded people.
If nothing else feels comfortable, think of investing in a pet. A dog will give you no excuse not to exercise and walking your pet is a great way to meet other pet owners.
While it might be hard to make long lasting relationships in a short period of time, the process will get you on the phone, out of the house and break patterns of isolation.
On to our favorite health-style topic, food:
Deprivation is a short term solution. Instead, I recommend a well-balanced approach toward food. Have a pat of butter, individual servings of eggs and even a sizzling, marbled rib steak.
Individual foods are not innately unhealthy.
Rather it is nutritional imbalances which can wreak havoc on our overall health.
Refrain from processed foods such as cakes, cookies and refined sugars, including fructose, corn syrup and bleach processed flour. Substitute frozen grapes or grill pineapple to bring out the natural sweetness instead of a cupcake.
Too hard to actively refrain from the things you love? Add instead.
Add a salad or green smoothie to your main meal and eat it before you consume the main course. Being proactive and filling up with healthier options will stave off hunger, prevent overeating or partaking regularly in foods which are not good for our health.
Drink a glass of water before your meals. Often we think we are hungry when we are really thirsty.
Use a smaller plate at a party or all you can eat buffet. Try it in your house as well. You won’t feel so deprived and you will be on the road to a healthier lifestyle.
Avoid soda like the plague. Even the diet soda can wreak havoc with your body, stain your teeth, create sugar cravings and more. Phase it out slowly.
As for sleep….
Sleep seven to nine hours a night.
Studies have shown lack of sleep leads to obesity. And obesity is contraindicated for a healthy life style.
The best way to increase your sleeping hours is to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for 3- 4 days, then 30 minutes, then 45 until you get an extra hour of sleep.
If 15 minutes sounds overwhelming, try to go to bed ten or five minutes earlier. It may take you more than two weeks to improve your lifestyle, but after two weeks, you will have a routine.
Last but not least, let’s talk exercise. Exercise is good for your heart, mood (think of those endorphins), motivate you to eat healthier and will help you sleep. It’s a vicious but effective cycle.
Exercise is no longer optional. However the type of exercise is our choice.
There are no one size fits all exercise programs.
The type of activity is irrelevant. The only criteria are to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and ramp up our heart rate.
Committing to an exercise program is probably the biggest challenge. If we are not currently working out, the best plan is to start small. Park in the back of the parking lot. Then set aside 15 minutes a week and engage in some form of physical activity. Buddy up, mark workout time on your calendar or hire a trainer. Only you will know how to motivate yourself.Of course consult your personal physician before beginning any exercise program.
And don’t forget sex. Turns out women who work out have more active sex lives. And while sex is not a major calorie burner, it is good for your brain, immune system, sleep, and more.
All important components for a healthier lifestyle.
Oh, and don’t forget to reward yourself…with anything but food.