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5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

We all know about “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” but there is so much more that everyone can do to reduce their footprint on the environment and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Such a lifestyle carries benefits beyond slogans of “saving the earth.” Sustainable living can save you a lot of money as you waste less energy and material goods, and certain habits can be healthy for you as well. Here are five simple yet highly beneficial ways that you can move towards a sustainable lifestyle which will help you and the planet.

1. Stop eating out

In 2015, Americans spent more money dining out than buying groceries for the first time since data collection began in 1992.

While eating out may be easier than cooking by yourself, it is a terrible habit. From an environmental perspective, takeout creates wasteful plastic containers. And, of course, there is the gas wasted driving to eat out when you could stay home and cook.

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But even if you are not interested in the environment, constantly eating out does a number on your wallet in the long run. You may not think about dropping seven to twelve dollars for a meal over the short run, but it adds up over time. Furthermore, a home-cooked meal will almost always be healthier than what you will buy from a restaurant.

Are you scared of cooking? Don’t be. There are plenty of websites online which can teach you easy recipes and help you to appreciate the benefits of cooking.

2. Go thrift store shopping

There is nothing more sustainable than taking one man’s trash and turning it into your treasure. And by going thrift store shopping, you are showing a true aversion to waste. Furthermore, you can support non-profit charities instead of large corporations which don’t have environmentally friendly practices. And there are the financial benefits of not spending $50 for a t-shirt.

It should be noted that thrift store shopping can be hit or miss, and do not be afraid to walk out of a thrift store with nothing. But you may find a full range of eco-friendly products including cosmetics and detergents. And if you want to find a good thrift store, then aim for one in an upper middle-class neighborhood like Trent Hamm suggests. These are the areas where people are more likely to throw out perfectly fine goods which you can use.

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3. Eat less meat

Note here that I am not suggesting you go vegetarian. Some sacrifices are too much.

But going meatless one day a week can help your health, and meat is an environmentally inefficient method of producing food. A cow can never produce as much food as the large amounts of corn which are used to feed it, and there is the problem of cattle methane production.

Eggs and nuts are a good, tasty source of protein which are healthier for you than steak. But don’t use fish as a substitute. Given the global overfishing crisis, eating fish is arguably even worse for the environment than meat. And if you absolutely cannot survive a day without meat, go with chickens over pork, and especially over beef.

4. Dry your clothes outside

No household appliance uses more energy than a clothes dryer, and it is particularly irksome when nature can dry your clothes for free.

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Now, hanging clothes outside may not be for everyone. You may not have enough space, or you may be afraid of animals coming by and messing with your clothes. There is nothing worse than seeing bird droppings on that shirt you just washed.

But if you have the space, try and test it out. You will be surprised at how quickly clothes can dry, as well as how good it can smell. And if you get it down once, then there are a lot of tips to drying clothes which our ancestors knew but which we have forgotten. Here is a series of tips which can make clothes drying easier and more environmentally efficient.

5. Go paperless

Humans cut down 15 billion trees each year for various reasons, and some of them are necessary for our civilization. But one use for trees which is less and less necessary is paper, as we rely more on electronics to read and obtain information.

But many of us still get catalogues, junk mail, and bills through the mail instead of electronically. This creates additional paper waste, especially since we toss those bills into the garbage instead of recycling them. Going electronic is simpler than ever, and is easier to track and keep records of compared to paper bills, which can be lost or shoved in some drawer.

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Another good way to save paper and money is to rely more on the library instead of buying books. Not everyone needs their own book, and sharing them through the library is better for the environment and spreads knowledge throughout the community.

Featured photo credit: phototouring 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.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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