We all want to live better, healthier lives. When we discover that stroke of motivation, we go out there and we go hard. We hit the martial arts gym with enthusiasm, cut back drastically on junk food, and start eating lean chicken breast and vegetables every single day.
However, we all reach the proverbial brick wall at a hundred miles an hour. The faster we storm out of the gates, the harder the impact.
You often hear that fitness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. That means it’s not about how hard you go from the opening bell. It’s about small changes over time, that add up to big improvements in the long run.
The transition from living an unhealthy life to building healthy habits can be achieved through tiny cumulative changes. Healthy living doesn’t have to be an extreme change. You can start by making small alterations to the way you live your life. These small changes may seem inconsequential to you at first, but they will definitely make an impact in the long run.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can try that could have a drastic effect on your health and fitness. Today, Evolve Daily shares 10 small lifestyle changes for a healthier you.
1) Take a short walk every day
It may not be possible to always be at the gym. People are incredibly busy these days, and we always have somewhere we need to be, or something we need to do. The important thing for our health and fitness is finding every opportunity to move.
That’s where walking is perfect. Strive to take even just a short walk every day, whether it’s replacing a part of your daily commute with walking, or taking a quick stroll in the park. Walking is both refreshing and therapeutic.
If you can get yourself a fitness tracker and complete 10,000 steps every day, it’s ideal. You can also occasionally skip the elevator and use the stairs. You have legs, so use them.
2) Limit your consumption of packaged food
It’s hard to tell exactly what’s inside packaged food, and that’s just the truth. Even when you do your due diligence and study the nutrition labels and list of ingredients, it’s hard to discern what you’re putting into your body.
Usually, these types of foods come packed with sugar, sodium, or unnecessary fat. Plus, they are often loaded with preservatives. And that’s never good in any case.
If food comes in a box, try your best to stay away from it.
3) Cook your own meals at home
Cooking at home gives you absolute control over what goes into your food and what you consume. You know exactly how much salt, sugar, and everything else that goes into your meals.
Don’t be daunted by the kitchen. There are tons of amazing and easy-to-make recipes on the internet that are both tasty and healthy, and you can tweak the recipes to your liking. If you’re not used to cooking, it may be challenging at first. But like anything else, you get better with it over time.
4) Go for the grain
Substitute your refined carbs with whole grain. It doesn’t taste that much different, and it’s way healthier. It can help you stick to your diet by making you fuller faster and give you that much-needed fiber for good digestion. Diets rich in whole grain foods are found to reduce the risk of lifestyle-related illnesses as well.
5) Add more protein to your diet
Protein takes a while to digest compared to carbs. It’s harder to break down and takes more energy to metabolize. The result is that you’re fuller for longer, and despite carbs and protein having the same density of calories per gram, protein actually gives you fewer available calories. Knowing this, it suddenly makes sense why diet products are always high in protein.
6) Enjoy your dessert
Have your cake and eat it too? This may sound counterintuitive, but take a moment to consider: why do people fail to adhere to their diets?
Well, a large part of it is definitely because diets are miserable when you think about the food you’re never allowed to eat. When people stick to a strict diet, oftentimes, they fail to realize that it doesn’t mean giving up the things they love.
Stick a dessert in your meal schedule at least once per week to break the monotony of your diet and keep you looking forward to something, and make sure to indulge and be mindful of every bite.
7) Drink more water
Have you ever had a hunger that went away after you drank water? If you haven’t, it’s actually a common thing that happens. Try drinking some water when you feel your cravings flaring up. Your body needs water to function, and much of your energy stores cannot be effectively utilized when you are dehydrated, which leads to untimely hunger, which can derail you from your nutritional and weight loss goals.
8) Bring your own water bottle
Stop buying bottled water whenever you need to drink. It may not seem like much, but the cost definitely compounds to a considerable amount that is, quite frankly, an unnecessary expense that could be avoided.
You’re also tempted to ditch bottled water and pick out a sugar-laden sports drink instead, especially when you don’t really need it. Having your own water bottle eliminates this risk. It’s also eco-friendly, and seeing as the earth’s own health impacts us all, greener practices indirectly contribute to your health as well.
9) Learn to love basic black coffee
Coffee is a stimulant that increases productivity and aids weight loss by boosting metabolism, but definitely not when topped off by heaps and heaps of sugar and extra dairy. Choose black coffee for a better, much healthier alternative. It may not be everyone’s favorite cup in the beginning, but you’ll definitely grow to love it. Black coffee brings out the beans’ natural flavors.
Stay away from blended coffee. These drinks are calorie grenades. Just one cup could set you back on all that progress that you’ve made in an entire day.
10) Get more sleep
If you’re doing everything you can in terms of diet and workout and still aren’t losing any weight, then you might want to take a look at your sleeping patterns.
Lack of sleep is notorious for stalling weight loss and even causing weight gain in some cases. Make sure to have at least seven hours of sleep, and you’ll immediately notice a noticeable boost in mood, mental performance, and even physical performance.
Sleep is so important. If you’re in a pickle and need to choose between an hour of gym time and an extra hour of sleep, because that extra hour is all you have, choose sleep. That’s how important it is.
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