Do you dream of living the healthy lifestyle after you see a picture of a fit person on social media?
What you may not know is that it isn’t as hard as you think to live a healthy lifestyle if you know what to do.
You will find 22 practical tips in this article that will help you to live the healthy lifestyle you want!
1. Drink more water
This is obvious but really is the basics,
According to research: you should drink 3.01 L per day as a male and 2.21 L per day as a female. This exact number should be taken as lightly as some people may need more due to the amount of water loss through activity, ambient temperature, and other factors.
Your body consists of around 60% of water. This alone proves the importance of hydration throughout the day.
Try consuming at least 0.5 L right when you wake up to live a healthy lifestyle because at this point your body is dehydrated. Then strategically plan to drink enough throughout the rest of the day with timers or an app to help you drink more water.
Another tip: take a bottle full of water with you everywhere you go to make it easier to live the healthy lifestyle.
2. Wash your hands
We all know that it’s good to wash your hands after going to the toilet, before eating, etc but only 12% of the people wash their hands before eating!
You are probably not one of them!
Washing your hands is critical on the following occasions:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- After using the toilet
- After touching anything dirty (animals, garbage, sick people)
Here’re some simple steps you may have missed when you wash your hands:
The benefits of washing your hands are:
- Preventing infections in the eyes
- Lowering the chance of diarrhea and intestinal problems
- Fewer bacteria = less chance on any infection or illness
3. Floss your teeth
Flossing helps remove food debris and bacteria where the brush can’t get to. This prevents bacteria from turning your teeth into a yellow canary which eventually leads to damaged teeth over time.
We all know you should brush your teeth twice a day but how many times should we floss a day?
According to the Water Tower Dental Care team, flossing once a day is more than enough to keep away these bacteria as they form a plague after 24 hours.
4. Create a healthy sleep routine for yourself
There are so many successful people who live off of 3 – 5 hours of sleep per night; but Mariah Carey says she needs 15 hours of sleep a day.
Now the question is: “How much sleep do you need?”
Nobody knows, so you should experiment with it. Plan your sleep and record how you feel after waking up. Find your sweet spot.
You don’t even have to follow a monophasic sleep schedule (known as sleeping in 1 go). You could try polyphasic sleeping schedules like the Uberman Sleep Cycle or simply have a siesta (1 – 1,5 hours of sleep) in the afternoon.
Start the experiment now!
5. Track one full day of eating
Tracking your intake of food for only one day can change everything. Using an app like MyFitnessPal shows what you ate and all the calories and nutrients of those foods.
One rule: track literally everything.
When you have tracked a typical day of eating; you will see what you usually eat, even the cookies you sneaked in at night.
Awareness of the fact of what you’re eating can subconsciously change your unhealthy eating habits into healthy eating habits.
The next time you crave a chocolate bar the option of eating a piece of fruit is going through your mind.
You will train your healthy lifestyle discipline reserve the more you choose something to support your healthy lifestyle over something unhealthy.
The next time you crave an unhealthy meal; eat a healthy snack instead and see how you feel about yourself:
6. Make exercise fun
Exercising shouldn’t feel like an obligation; it should be fun!
You could make exercise a part of your daily routine by applying simple tweaks to your life:
- Walk to work instead of commuting (don’t come into work late though!)
- Instead of watching TV, walk the dog or take a walk with a loved one.
- Use a standing/treadmill desk instead of a regular desk.
Note: Consult a professional coach or doctor if you want to train like a hardcore athlete.
7. Sit less
Sitting time increases the chances of dying. In a study; they found that people who sit more (inactive) have a higher chance of dying than people who sit less (active).
If you exercise but sit a lot, you’re still unhealthy.
So get off that chair and move around. Set a timer for 25 minutes and make sure you walk around for 5 minutes.
It’s simple; minimize the time you spend sitting. Here’s how:
8. Weigh yourself daily
The same principle of tracking your daily food intake applies here.
Weigh yourself between every 1-7 days consistently at the same time (preferably right after you wake up). And write it down on a piece of paper.
Research proves that weighing yourself daily can actually prevent weight gain and increase fat loss.
Don’t hate yourself for it; be aware of it and change where you can.
9. Plan and prepare your healthy meals
Planning your meals forward takes away the unhealthy snacks you eat in between and the amount of effort it takes to decide what to eat.
There are many benefits to planning your meals:
- Saves time and money
- Helps avoid unhealthy choices
- Makes shopping easier
There are a lot of apps that can help plan your meals. Healthy meal planning includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks throughout the day.
Preparing your food all at once saves time over the course of the week. Choose one day (most people do it on Sunday) in the week to invest a couple hours in preparing your meals for the week.
Here’re some inspirations for healthy meals:
10. Get more vitamin N(ature)
Another great principle to include in your life to lead the healthy lifestyle your body deserves is to stay as close to nature as possible.
This means eating less processed foods, more organic foods, more plants and nuts.
Aim for eating more fruits, nuts and vegetables instead of cheese, cereals, bacon, etc.
You should also make sure you spend more time in nature. This way you’ll get more vitamin D in because of the sunlight.
11. Love yourself
There’s a close relationship between mental health and physical health. So, loving yourself more by talking positively to yourself or having more love in your life increases mental and physical health.
Another fascinating part of our nature is that we can make our bodies heal wounds. How? The simple answer: oxytocin.
Touching yourself releases oxytocin; just place your hands on your belly or anywhere you feel like.
Or call your mom. I mean it; hearing the voice of a loved one also releases oxytocin.
12. Lower sugar and sodium intake
We consume 82 grams of added sugar and 3.4 grams of sodium (salt = sodium x 2.5) per day. This is far above the recommended intake, which is:
- Max. 25 grams of added sugar for women and 38 grams of added sugar for men.
- Max. 1.5 grams of sodium per day.
The added sugars and sodium are mostly found in processed foods like bread, pizza, chocolate and soda drinks.
Before you consume the next thing, check the labels first. Look for the amount of sugar and sodium that’s in it. If you’re really serious about it; you can even decide to track it.
The benefits of consuming less sugar and sodium are:
- Decreasing the chance of getting diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart diseases.
- Preventing spikes in your blood pressure.
- Preventing the build-up of resistance to insulin.
13. Stop unhealthy habits
Smoking, drinking alcohol or eating a lot of snacks at night. We all know that these are unhealthy habits but we’ve all been there.
The most important thing here is getting rid of the unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy habits.
The change is relatively simple; it can be done in 2 simple steps:
- First; you need to identify why you take part in the unhealthy habit. You need to find the trigger/cue which leads to the action. The reason why you crave smoking could be because you have the need to have a way of socializing; which in this case could be smoking.
- Now you can think of other ways to fulfill your needs. So, keep the same trigger/cue (= a need for social stimulation) and the same reward (= social interaction). The only thing you need to change is the routine (=smoking). You could turn this in grabbing coffee with a colleague or friend. This way you still get the social stimulation, but you improved and created a healthier habit.
14. Regular health checkups
People assume when they are feeling alright that they are living a healthy lifestyle. But this isn’t always the case. Having everything in perfect balance is hard.
Checking your blood for specific diseases is never harmful. You might feel a little bit drained (literally) afterward, but at least you get to know how your health is looking.
Checking your blood every 6 months could be enough to discover some deficiencies and potential dangers. Some companies offer advanced blood tests which creates an overview of the areas you could improve in.
Besides doing a blood test, there are also many other health-related tests you could do.
15. Build healthy relationships
“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits.” – Dan Buettner
If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you should not spend most of your time with people who don’t live the healthy lifestyle.
The solution is simple but not easy:
Decrease the amount of time you spend with people who have unhealthy habits and increase the amount of time you spend with people who have healthy habits.
If you don’t have a lot of friends with healthy habits, search for people who do. Search in communities where healthy habits are a focus like vegan or vegetarian people; Facebook groups focused around the subject; bloggers in the health industry or hire a health coach and become a knowledge sponge (absorbing all the information the person provides).
16. Increase your energy
There are a lot of ways to increase your energy but the best change you can make is to live a healthy lifestyle that delivers sustainable energy levels throughout the day.
It is important to watch which type of carbohydrate you are consuming. There are basically three main categories:
- Simple carbohydrates (A.K.A. sugar) which give you an energy boost short-term.
- Complex carbohydrates like whole grains; peas and beans. These can be divided into refined (processed) and unrefined (unprocessed) carbs. Unrefined is the healthy lifestyle choice as they still contain the complex carbohydrates.
- Fibers found in most vegetables helps with digestion.
Focusing on unrefined complex carbohydrates will result in sustainable energy levels throughout the day. Include a lot of vegetables and healthy sources of protein, and you are good to go.
Besides having to deal with our physical energy; sometimes it comes down to mental energy. Check out this article on how to boost mental energy:
17. Don’t skip breakfast
A lot of people say that breakfast is the most important meal of all the meals. This is mainly because eating a high-protein, and high-fiber meal right after waking up is associated with fat loss.
The benefits of having a healthy breakfast are:
- Increased fat loss
- Improved concentration and performance
- More strength and endurance
- Lower cholesterol levels
Some breakfast inspirations for you to stay energetic throughout the day:
18. Increase fiber intake
The main benefits of fiber are:
- Helps you on the toilet and decreases the chances of constipation
- Lowering the cholesterol levels
- Helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption
- Increases fat loss (see healthy lifestyle tip 16)
Fiber can be found in
- Vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli
Find out more foods which are rich in fiber here:
19. Choose meals in reverse order
People usually tend to choose a meal in the order of 1. Carbohydrates, 2. Protein and 3. Vegetables.
Doing this the other way around makes sure you put more veggies on your plate and fewer carbs. Make sure you fill half of your plate with vegetables and feel the benefits such as:
- Reducing the risk of heart disease including heart strokes and attacks
- Protection against certain types of cancers
- Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Try it next time you put a meal together!
20. Explore new hobbies
“Happy people are 35 percent more likely to outlive unhappy people.” – Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle
Being happy can mean something different for each individual. What is certain though is that enjoying your time while you can undoubtedly lead to happiness.
Try out new hobbies and explore your options. There are so many things you can try out; you can even make a challenge to try out as much as possible.
Find inspirations of hobbies you can try here:
Or if you’re still wondering what to try, this can help you:
21. Cheat day!
Many people associate cheat day with people who are too weak to maintain their healthy lifestyle diet.
One of the reasons to implement a cheat day in your diet is solely based on the improvement of your mood and motivation to keep going with the diet.
Stick to a healthy lifestyle diet 6 days a week and choose 1 cheat day (usually a day on the weekend).
You will be tempted throughout the week but here’s the solution; write everything down you are tempted by.
If you feel like eating Oreo’s on Tuesday but Saturday is your cheat day; write it down so you can buy it on your cheat day and eat yourself to death (not literally).
There are a couple of rules if you want to turn this into a healthy habit:
- Minimize the insulin spike by ensuring that your first meal (total should be 300-500 calories) of the day is not a cheat meal but a high-protein (at least 30 grams) and high-fiber meal. Before the second meal (which can be a cheat meal) you should consume a small amount of fructose like grapefruit juice. You should also supplement with Policosanol, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Green Tea Extract and Garlic (PAGG). And consume citric juices throughout the day in the form of lemon juice in water or food or any other way.
- Increase the digestion speed by consuming caffeine and a combination of theobromine (found in dark chocolate) and theophylline (found in green tea).
- Last but not least, contract your muscles briefly throughout the day. It’s weird but doing exercises like air squats, wall presses and chest pulls (with bands) for 60-90 seconds a few minutes before eating and 90 minutes after eating transfers glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) to the surface of muscle cells which causes calories to be absorbed by the muscles instead of transformed into fat.
Make sure you follow these rules on your cheat day, and you will not have the feel guilty about it!
22. Lose fat
The last tip to lead the healthy lifestyle you want is about fat loss. The number of obese and overweight people worldwide is increasing. This means that more and more people need simple principles to follow to lose fat.
Here are the basic principles of fat loss:
- Avoid white carbohydrates like all bread, rice (also brown rice), cereal, potatoes, pasta tortillas and fried food with breading. Avoid white carbohydrates and you’re good to go.
- You should also avoid eating all fruits except for avocado and tomato (except for after 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout, this also counts for white carbohydrates).
- Eat the same meals over and over again, this makes it easier to sustain the diet. Create 3-4 go to meals and stick with them. Choose per meal one main protein source (egg whites with whole eggs, chicken breast, beef, fish, pork or any vegan replacement), legumes (lentils or black/red/borlotti/soya beans) and vegetables (spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc.).
- Don’t drink your calories. Instead; drink water and red wine (max. 2 glasses per day).
- Take one day off the diet. Have a cheat day! See tip 20 for information on how to implement a cheat day in your diet.
Before you leave, there’s something else…
Before you move on to read the next article to live the healthy lifestyle your body deserves you should commit to applying at least 1 tip of the 21 tips above to see how you feel about living the healthy lifestyle.
If you like it, apply more of the tips to your life.
To conclude this article; here are some other recommendations to live the healthy lifestyle your body deserves:
- Read the 4-hour body by Tim Ferriss for excellent advice on how to improve everything body related.
- Ask for advice or read the book of Dr. Doug McGuff to build the physique you want.
- Read the site of Dan Buettner (the face behind The Blue Zones Story) if you are interested in increasing your lifespan.
- To transform your life in 14 days; read another great article written by Lifehack contributor Jessie Hays.
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com