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5 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit

5 Easy Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit

Getting into the habit of eating well and working out consistently is hard enough. Staying healthy and fit is even harder. Until you get into a good rhythm and form healthy habits, it can be challenging to figure out how to stay at your physical best without obsessing over it.

Here are five easy habits you can start forming today to help you stay healthy and fit for the long-term.

 1. Buy fewer processed foods at the grocery store

All the foods we eat are processed in some way, but foods that undergo chemical processing, which means they are made from ingredients that aren’t real, thus making them high in sugar and low in the nutrients we actually need to fuel our bodies and keep us healthy, should be avoided.

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As a general rule, try to limit the number of prepackaged, nonperishable food items you have in your grocery cart at checkout, foods such as chips, granola bars and frozen meals. Purchasing perishable items, such as yogurt, bread and fresh produce, is a sign that what you’re buying more closely resembles foods your body can easily digest and use for fuel.

2. Make exercise part of your everyday life

Just because you don’t live at the gym or own your own fitness gear doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. Sometimes it’s the small actions we add into our daily lives amidst other activities that make all the difference.

Find creative ways to stay active no matter how busy your schedule is. There might be days that you really don’t have time to head to the gym, even when you want to. You can do squats and stretch while you’re on the phone. Invest in a standing desk or put together a makeshift version if you sit a lot during the day. Walk instead of drive, if it’s practical. Ask a client or co-worker if he or she would rather talk and walk instead of sitting down for coffee.

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 3. Eat more than three times a day

We’re used to eating three large meals a day because that’s what our ancestors did when they first came to the New World. You probably base when you eat off of your school or work schedule: a decent breakfast in the morning, a light lunch in the middle of the day and a hearty dinner after a long, nine-to-five workday. When you do get hungry in-between, you’ll usually either grab a vending machine snack or wait until your next meal, which can lead to unintentional overeating.

Eating smaller meals more often—yes, that means snacking—can help you be more mindful of how much you’re eating, and when. The best way to manage eating smaller meals more frequently is to learn to eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re full and refrain from eating out of boredom or stress. You can pack healthy snacks for yourself during the day, which we’ll talk more about next.

 4. Prepare snacks in advance

Sometimes we end up eating too much junk food just because it’s easy to grab and munch. When you’re crunched for time or trying to multi-task, putting in the effort to slice an apple and find the almond butter in the back of the refrigerator isn’t going to make the top spot on your priority list. You’ll reach for the bag of potato chips instead—no preparation required.

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These don’t have to be complicated snacks. It can be something as simple as sticking a bag of popcorn in the microwave and pouring it into a plastic bag or making your own kale chips the night before to carry with you. If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, cut them up and store them in the fridge right away for easy access the next time you’re home and hungry for a snack.

5. Write down a detailed description of what being healthy means for you personally

The biggest mistake we make when we decide to start living healthier is using someone else’s parameters to shape our new lifestyle. One person’s fitness routine and dietary habits are not a standard you are required to follow. The key to staying healthy and fit is figuring out your own definition of health, and deciding how you’re going to stick to it.

You might define being healthy as getting six to eight hours of sleep every night, working out for 30 minutes three times a week and eating all five food groups every day. If that’s what you can manage what’s going to work with your schedule, there is no right or wrong. Write down how you plan to modify your lifestyle and let that description shape your actions.

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Conclusion

The path to healthy living doesn’t involve sudden, drastic changes. Adopting a healthier lifestyle involves looking at where you’re at, picturing where you want to be and figuring out how you can incorporate gradual, subtle modifications to your normal routine.

By taking it one short, simple step at a time, you’ll be on your way to a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life in no time.

Featured photo credit: Dr. Abdullah Naser via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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