So you’ve finally decided to start taking better care of your health. The only problem? You have no idea where to start—and the fact that there’s a lot of conflicting information on the subject does not make things any easier.
Worry not because today, I’m going to share with you five easy-to-implement lifestyle changes to help you get started. And I’ll also show you how to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible to help you keep at it long term.
Let’s jump right in!
Lifestyle Change #1: Healthier Food Choices
Don’t worry. There’s no need to go cold turkey on chips, soda, and all your other favourite junk food. In fact, you don’t even have to give them up completely even after you’ve successfully built healthier eating habits.
The goal is to simply slowly tip the balance in favour of wholesome foods until you’re eating healthy at least 80% of the time. By not rushing this process, you avoid putting yourself at risk of feeling deprived and eventually falling off the wagon.
But why is eating clean, nutrient-rich food important in the first place?
Well, the main reason is they have all the nutrients your body needs to not only function at peak capacity, but also keep diseases at bay. In contrast, junk food not only does nothing for your body, but also triggers cravings and impairs your ability to efficiently burn fat for energy.
Lifestyle Change #2: More Water
This is probably the easiest one on our list. By simply drinking a glass of water before and after each meal, you instantly bump your intake up to six glasses a day—and that’s if you only eat three meals a day. If you eat more often, then that number goes up too.
But what’s the big deal with drinking more water anyway?
Studies show that by simply staying hydrated, you can:
Improve your focus
Boost your energy levels
Keep cravings at bay
Manage your food intake better
So, how much water do you actually need? While the eight glasses per day most experts recommend is a solid starting point, you’ll need to bump your intake up if you’re active or work in particularly hot environments.
Lifestyle Change #3: Increased Physical Activity
By ‘physical activity’, I don’t just mean going to the gym. Simply moving more can have a massive impact on your health too.
Add quick five-minute walking breaks to your workday. Take the stairs more. Pick the farthest parking spot you can find. Ditch the shopping cart and carry baskets whenever you can. Find a sport you enjoy and play it frequently.
By just being more active, you can:
Fight off cravings
Improve your concentration, decision-making, and visual learning
Manage your weight better
Improve your heart health
Avoid the muscular imbalances and chronic aches caused by sitting all day
Of course, if you’re looking to take your fitness to the next level, you’ll need to follow a more structured training plan that’s designed to help you get the specific results you’re looking for. But just moving more every day is definitely a great first step.
Need help coming up with a training plan that would help you reach your fitness goals?
Book a Free No Sweat Intro here at CrossFit Harrow and we’ll take care of it for you!
Lifestyle Change #4: More Sleep
Know how restarting your computer from time to time keeps it running smoothly? That’s exactly what sleep does for your body.
When you sleep, you give your body time to not only destress and repair itself from damage, but also strengthen its defenses against viruses. The result? You wake up happier, more focused, more energetic, and better equipped to fight off all sorts of infection.
But that’s not all sufficient shut-eye can do for you. It’ll also:
Keep your skin radiant and younger-looking
Help you regulate your hunger and cravings better
Minimise fat gain
Keep your heart healthy
Keep your blood sugar levels stable
Improve your cognitive functions
And if you regularly engage in vigorous physical activities like resistance training or high-intensity, high-impact sports, getting enough sleep between sessions will also allow you to not only improve faster, but also perform better in the gym or on the court or field.
But what if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night?
Here are some things you can do to make things a bit easier:
Stop using your computer or phone an hour before going to bed
Use blue light filters on all your devices at night
Turn the lights off (or leave only a super dim one on if you can’t sleep in total darkness)
Don’t engage in any mentally or physically exciting activities so close to bedtime
Lifestyle Change #5: Meditation
Chronic stress is more damaging to your body than you may think. It can cause a wide variety of conditions, such as heart disease, depression, hair loss, high blood pressure, and anxiety. And if you’re trying to lose weight, it can sabotage your progress too.
You see, when you’re stressed, your body starts releasing a hormone called cortisol, which is designed to give you the focus and energy boost you need to either get rid of or run away from the thing that’s stressing you out. Once the stressor is no more, your body returns to normal.
The problem is that these days, we are all constantly stressed—by things like traffic jams, annoying coworkers, crazy workloads, and unreasonable bosses and clients—so our cortisol levels rarely ever go back to normal, which, in turn, is known to cause fat gain.
The solution? Meditate.