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Healthy Habit Changes for 2009

Healthy Habit Changes for 2009

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    Trying to make 2009 your healthiest year to date?   I’ve compiled for you what I believe to be some of the best health conscience habits you can easily adopt.

    Habit 1:  Drink more water.

    Sure, I know about all the news reports that say it’s possible to drink too much water.  Surprisingly, this same story is told just about every 4 years when news stations have no other “news” going on, and it always seems to stir up all sorts of awareness on the topic.  The truth is, in all my years of guiding individuals on proper nutrition, I have yet to run into one person who had an H2O disorder.  A well-hydrated body has a much easier time at shedding unwanted body fat and preserving lean muscle mass.  A healthy, active individual should be consuming .6 – .7 ounces of water per pound of body weight.

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    Habit 2:  Eat more fiber.

    I’ll say it again.  People do not get nearly enough fiber in their diets.  Work on trying to get anywhere from 25 – 30 grams of fiber per day into your eating plan.  Fiber provides a plethora of benefits from increasing the thermic effect (calories burned from digestion) of a meal, to trapping and evacuating excess fats.

    Habit 3:  Eat every 3 hours.

    Start splitting your larger meals up into smaller, more frequent bouts of eating.  Spreading your calories throughout the day allows for an increase in metabolism and insures that none of the nutrients you are consuming go to waste.  This can be difficult for many people who maintain busy lifestyles, which is why I suggest picking one or two days a week to do all of your cooking.  At that point, Tupperware containers become your new best friend.

    Habit 4:  Eat more fruits and vegetables.

    And eat a large variety as well.  The more colors you consume the better.  They’re packed with fat-burning fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  We all know that vegetables are gold, but when it comes to fruit, it sometimes gets a bad rep.  I often get the question “but doesn’t fruit have a lot of sugar in it?”  Again, I have yet to meet the person who has a well-balanced diet who has found that fruit was the main reason they couldn’t let go of the extra body fat.  Get over it. If you’re obese fruit isn’t the culprit.  Take a long look at everything else you’re eating, and I’m positive you’ll find something a little more worthy to drop. 

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    Habit 5:  Drink less alcohol.

    If you want a drug that will help you gain body fat as well as decrease your lean body mass, then you’ve found the right prescription.  This is true only when it’s consumed in excess, of course.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some beer, and there are studies showing plenty of benefits from its consumption at moderate dosages.  But let’s not get carried away now.  If you tend to go overboard, and you know who you are, maybe it’s time to start keeping track of just how much you’re putting back.

    Habit 6:  Choose organic and local foods when possible.

    There is no doubt in my mind that we will start to see more and more studies come out showing the adverse effects of consuming over-processed food.  It’s only a matter of time.  Digestion is a delicate process, a process our bodies have spent hundreds of thousands of years perfecting.  In just the past few decades we have started introducing extra hormones, antibiotics, and other impurities into our foods.  Our bodies have filters that take care of these things, but let’s not put them to the test.

    Habit 7:  Reduce the amount of sugars consumed.

    At this point it should be a no brainer.  If anything good has come from the hundreds of diet books written this past decade, it’s the awareness that controlling your blood sugar is crucial to achieving optimal health.  The sweets do not have to be eliminated from your diet completely, but you should have them well under control. 

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    Habit 8:  Stop going to the super market hungry.

    Real simple.  If you’re hungry, you’ll buy what you want, not what you need.  Our bodies are still hard-wired for survival.  Unfortunately when you stroll down the aisle at your local food supply your brain will target just about anything in your field of vision and deem it an acceptable choice of nourishment, regardless of its nutritional value. 

    Habit 9:  Take regular stand up breaks at work.

    Do it for your posture, do it for circulation, and do it for your own sanity.  Our bodies were not designed to be in a seated position all day long.  You could prevent much of life’s chronic pains if you would just take a moment to stand up and stretch your legs every 30 or 40 minutes.  Set a timer on your desktop if you have to; just get it done.

    Habit 10:  Start using the stairs instead of the elevator.

    Even park farther away from your destination so you have to walk a few extra steps in the day.  Adding a tiny bit of extra footwork can add up at the end of the year.  I know it’s not exciting or drastic, but the difference can be a few extra pounds that you don’t need hanging around your waist.

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    Habit 11:  Balance your physical and sedentary activities.

    I’m talking about what you do with your free time.  Have you ever spent a couple of hours on the weekend watching TV, playing video games, or browsing the internet looking at cat pictures?  Try to create some balance by doing an equal amount of leisure activities on your feet.  Take a walk, shoot some hoops, and maybe take up a new physically active hobby.  Who knows, you might find something new you really like.

    Habit 12:  Keep a health journal.

    One of the most powerful ways to be successful with your health is to write it all down.  Keep track of your workouts and your nutrition.  It can be very hard to figure out where you’re going if you don’t remember where you’ve been.  You’ll be giving yourself a point of reference so you can truly see if any of the changes you make are creating a difference.  If they’re not, then at least you know that and can change your plan of action and recalibrate.   

    A lot of times we get a little too ambitious when it comes to our new year’s resolutions and try to take on more than we can handle.  This inevitably leads to failure.  Start with the small habits and work your way up the fitness ladder for a more subtle and long term experience.  Good Luck.

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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