It seems that everyone wants to have a healthy lifestyle lately, but most people have no idea what to do to get one, and what to do to keep it. Healthy lifestyle habits are the ones that make the biggest impact in your life. Many people don't realize what they’re doing every day is what is causing their health issues.
Good physical health has nothing to do with how thin you are. It has everything to do with how healthy you are. It is not how well your body bounces back following pregnancy or how you don’t gain a pound no matter what you eat. Your physical health plays a prominent role in how you live your life, and it’s time to make positive habits to encourage physical health a part of your everyday life.
Below I will discuss 5 habits you can implement today which will lead to a healthy lifestyle. You won't have a healthy lifestyle overnight, but you will start to build a foundation of habits which will improve your health in the long run.
Diets are very damaging to your health! Despite what experts tell you, any food restriction leads to slowed metabolism and eventually back to weight gain and a higher weight set-point. Stop the fad diet madness and just follow your God given intuition about what your body needs. Finding what your body is craving and thoroughly eating it is the only way to rid yourself from food cravings once and for all.
Many people on diets will often have nutritional deficiencies, even though they feel like their meals are balanced. The less you eat, the less nutrients you are consuming.
If you are in a severe caloric deficit or eating as few carbs, proteins or fats as possible; you are probably missing out on vitamins and minerals from meat and fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy, and so many more different types of foods.
Think about a time when you were dieting, whether you were counting macros or trying to stay in a caloric deficit. Did you always choose the healthiest, most nutritious foods possible? Probably not. You told yourself you could eat whatever you wanted, as long as it fit within your calories. Which means you might choose a cookie or processed snack over a smoothie or oatmeal, just because the calories happened to be the same or less. You start forgetting about nutrition, and only focus on a number.
Every time I tried dieting in the past, I tried to squeeze in every last calorie, point, or carb count out of whatever my allotment was for the day. I was frequently hungry, and when I wasn't hungry I felt obsessive about what I would eat next. Then I would fantasize about what my allowed cheat meal would be for the week.
You will have a lot more free time when you aren’t thinking about food. Intuitive eating helps you stop obsessing about every single thing you consume. Food just becomes food. It becomes a way to fuel your body, to nourish it with nutrients, to feel satisfied and happy. When you get to this point, you start noticing when you are actually hungry and when you are full, and are able to discover the foods you love.
This is a big deal for chronic dieters, people with disordered eating, and anyone who feels out of control around food. If you fear food, or being hungry, if you are afraid of sugar and fat, and think carbs are coming for you, then intuitive eating is the best option for you. In the beginning, it can be scary, but if you follow through with it, you will start to notice when you stop binging, and are able to just eat and not worry about it.
In fact, the reason you feel out of control around food is that you are not eating enough and you are not fueling your body. Hunger is not a problem that needs to be destroyed at every turn. You become at peace with food by eating till your full, each and every time you feel the urge to eat. Only then can you convince your body that you are not trying to starve it into submission. Your metabolism will take care of the rest, but only if you allow yourself to fully eat at every meal.
Another habit which can lead to a healthy lifestyle is to focus on increasing the quality of your meals each day. Even if you don’t want to eat something that’s good for you every day and do it by replacing something that’s not good for you. Instead of having a dinner roll with your dinner, grab an additional helping of broccoli. Instead of eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, have 2 scrambled eggs with butter. Yes I said butter! It's really a good food. Replace one thing you eat every day with something healthy as a start. Take it slow,and follow your intuition and yes seek to satisfy your cravings.
If you want to train yourself to create healthy lifestyle habits for your physical health each day, start slow and work your way up. Start by moving your body for 20 minutes each day. Take a walk, play tag with the kids, or take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. I am not talking about exercise here, just get up and move more. You don’t need to go to the gym, but you do need to make it a habit to move your body and stay active 20 minutes per day for good physical health.
Your sleep habits have an effect on your physical health. If you’re not getting enough sleep each day, make it a point to get to bed a bit earlier at night and get more sleep. Your body needs this time to rest for the following day. You’re less likely to suffer from depression, health problems, hormonal issues and even a weak immune system if you’re getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Work it out so this happens, and your body will become a lot more physically healthy and be on your way to a that healthy lifestyle you're after!
Your physical health won’t change as easily if your spiritual health isn’t changing with it. I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m not great at this habit but I’m a work in progress too. But I can tell you the more I am in the word, the happier I am and the easier I can handle the grenades that come at me during my day.
There’s a song my kids love to sing, “Read your Bible, pray everyday and you’ll grow , grow, grow”. My worst days usually coincide with the days I forget to spend time in the Bible. I really need this time because it fills my spirit each time and helps me cope with life as it happens.
The best way to create healthy lifestyle habits is to start slow. Choose one thing to change and work your way up the ladder to bigger and healthier changes in your life. The smaller the habit, the easier it is to adopt into your life.
Your body responds better when you don’t shock it into a complete change. Your physical health also responds to your mental and emotional health, so it’s important you don’t forget to change those through small habits which lead to your ultimate goal of a healthy lifestyle.
Jennifer Smith is certified in Holistic Nutrition, a Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.