Who said that healthy lifestyle is a struggle?
Once in a while, every one of us wonders how to start a healthy lifestyle.
However, living healthy and maintaining it for longer than a week, are two different things. And I include myself in it too.
No one will ever tell you they don’t want to live healthily and they don’t want to feel good in their bodies, or they are not interested in how to start a healthy lifestyle. However, many people just stop there.
The reason behind all that procrastination and refusal to do good for ourselves is sometimes pure laziness. Oh yes, including me.
But on top of that is the simple psychology. I really like the Japanese principle of overcoming laziness in one minute. The principle says that to develop a new habit we should do it every day at the same time, for one minute only. No matter how lazy we feel, a minute of doing something is achievable.
So, my advice on developing a healthy lifestyle is based on that simple Japanese principle.
No, I will not ask you to be healthy for a minute a day.
However, I will ask you to start simple. As simple as possible. Moreover, I will ask you to start with something that will help you see and feel the difference as early as possible.
Therefore, every positive change will motivate you to keep doing what you’re doing. Most importantly, it will give you the little push to add more and more. One day, you will realise you’re preaching about a healthy lifestyle, just like me here today. Weird, but awesome.
How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle? Start Small
The best thing about how to start a healthy lifestyle is that you’ve got hundreds of small steps you can choose from.
Moreover, changing your day to day life drastically will be a massive shock to your body and mind. Most likely, you will drop it after a week or even a few days.
The secret to starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to start small and keep it like that. Changes you almost don’t realise you’re implementing will trick your mind and body, and they won’t resist so hard. That gives you the freedom to add more in a while.
Psychology of The Change
While reading this, you might think that starting a healthy lifestyle sounds like a battle against yourself. All that story about tricking the mind and the body is real, but don’t let it full you.
The battle is not against yourself and your lifestyle.
It’s again your habits.
We are all products of our own habits.
Your body is in the state it is now, because of your everyday actions. Your daily actions are habits.
Let me give two examples of habits you might not realise you’ve developed.
Snoozing the alarm three and more times every morning is not a result of you being sleepy. It’s a result of the habit to stay in bed for a few more minutes every morning. Relying on the alarm to remind you every five minutes that its time to get up is a simple habit. You don’t think about it; you don’t argue it. You’ve got your habit – hit the snooze button at least three times before waking up. Do you need a proof? Isn’t it true that you set up the alarm on purpose at least 20 minutes before the time you should actually go out of the bed? I bet, you said Yes.
How about staying on your phone?
Do you reach for your phone every second you don’t have what to do? Do you open FB or Instagram and just scroll a few times without even looking what’s on the feed? You don’t even care what’s there. It’s just the habit to do it… I know, I do it all the time. Moreover, I end up asking myself what do I remember from that scrolling for five minutes? The answer is “Nothing!”.
It’s all about the habit.
So how do we do it then? How to start a healthy lifestyle?
How to change the habits?
You cannot. What you can do is to replace them.
However, if you want to start living healthier, then you should start small.
Trick your mind and body, go over the first small fights against the most critical bad habits, and then proceed forward.
The base of how to start a healthy lifestyle… 7 bases
I would like to give you only seven things, to begin with. It’s not too much.
Half of them you won’t realise you do them.
All of them are easy to follow.
Healthy change Number One – Sleep
Let me make one thing very clear.
Even if you decide to ignore all of the other healthy habits I suggest you implement, developing a healthy sleep schedule is the one you should go for no matter what.
Most of us go into two main categories:
– we sleep fewer hours than we should
– we sleep more than we should
Every human body is different.
My body needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night. More than eight is too much for me, and I feel lazy and unproductive. My best friend feels good after six hours of sleep, while my sister needs at least eight hours, to act in a human-friendly way.
It’s all about your body’s need. My task is to push you in the right direction, but I cannot tell you how many hours you need to sleep so you can wake up fresh an happy.
How to find out how many hours of sleep you need?
How many hours do you usually sleep? Don’t count the weekends as they’re the days we usually sleep more than we should… even though we enjoy it.
If you have to wake up at six o’clock every morning, but you go to sleep at midnight, try to pull the time with a half hour earlier for a few days. Then add another half hour. Keep adding until you start waking up fresh and ready to rock the world, even if that time is quite early.
I usually wake up at 4 am almost every morning, so I go to sleep after 9 pm, but not later than 10 pm. It gives my body enough time to relax, and everything I didn’t have time to do the previous evening I do it twice faster in the morning.
Healthy Change Number Two – Walk More
Now, I know I said you wouldn’t even notice you’re implementing a new habit. And I will stick to that.
Moving your body more is the basis of a healthy lifestyle.
But if your typical lifestyle doesn’t include much of activity, I’ve got a suggestion for you.
Keeping the promise for “start small”, stick to a schedule to go for a walk twice in the week. Keep the walk short – half hour, not more. To make it easier – choose a shop, or a place to visit that requires only ten minutes walk to there. Getting to a particular place will trick your mind, that you have got to do something. Then, all you have to do is to go back home. If you have a look at that shop or the place, you’ll add even more to the walk, without realising you’re doing it. And that, my friend, is a healthy lifestyle.
Do it twice in the week, so you don’t feel pressured about it. Once you get used to the habit to move more and start feeling better, you’ll adjust yourself to more physical activity. However, start small.
Healthy Change Number Three – Less sugar
A few months ago, my partner and I watched an Australian movie “That Sugar Film”. To say that it turned our world upside down is not enough. I am not sure I’m allowed to give you a link to it, but I found it on Youtube, so give it a go when you’ve got the time.
To summarise the whole thing (although it’s much more than I can put here), the average person eats more than 40 teaspoons of sugar daily… only with the normal food. Assuming one teaspoon of sugar is 4g. If you start calculating just for a day how much sugar we take with the food is shocking. And I don’t talk about the sweets at all. To make it more visual, here are just a few examples of how much sugar we take while enjoying the everyday meals.
Low-Fat Yogurt – it could contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar in a single cup. Source
A Bowl of Frosted Cereal – that’s around 45g, and it can give you 3 Tsp. Source
Ketchup – 1 tablespoon will bring 1 tsp sugar into your body. Source
Sweet-and-sour Chicken – One portion gives you 4tsp of sugar, and you don’t even know it. Source
Fast-food Double Cheeseburger – more than 2 tsp of sugar enter your body with one cheeseburger. Source
Maple Syrup – This organic sweetener is packed with 7.5 tsp of sugar in only 2 tablespoons. Source
So, even you think that a certain food shouldn’t be cooked with sugar, the reality says something different. How to start a healthy lifestyle if everything is covered in sugar?
What to do then?
You cannot stop eating sugar, I know. I cannot either. We are humans, and the reality is – we cannot escape so easy what’s around us. But what we CAN do is to reduce it.
I used to drink my coffee with two teaspoons of sugar in the morning. I reduced it with 50% which means I put one teaspoon now. My next goal is a half teaspoon, and after that, I want to cut it off from my coffee. As a result, I don’t feel like I’m killing myself every time I drink coffee (it’s all in the head, guys), and I even save money in some weird way. Yes, sugar is cheap, but spending less on it is good for the pocket, and it doubles it up when it’s good for the body as well. Hence, it’s good for everything. When I do the grocery shopping, I always have a look at the labels to spot the sugar levels and choose the products with less sugar than the others. It makes the difference at the end of the day, doesn’ it?
Find your way to reduce your sugar intake. Do the little step towards a healthier lifestyle. Share with me where you’re going to cut off in your sugar world.
Healthy Change Number Four – How to start a Healthy Lifestyle by Adding More Herbs
I promise that one good habit will be the one you won’t even notice you’ve implemented.
How to start a healthy lifestyle without talking about food? We cannot.
The food is the absolute base of the healthy body. Everything we put in our mouths becomes part of us. The cheeseburger, the salad, the juice – it all becomes part of us. However, trying to eat more healthy could be difficult at the beginning. Therefore, adding more herbs to the meals is not.
EatingWell gives us the best guide to how to store and use herbs. Also, if you need inspiration, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s article on how to use herbs.
Do you want an advice from me? If possible grow your herbs at home. We have a small garden and let me tell you – the fresh spring-like smell of parsley and dill is going to take you back in your childhood. I can never compare our home-grown herbs with the ones in the shop. I use herbs for every single meal, and everything is so yummy. If you need more information on growing Yummy herbs, take a look at this Guide.
Healthy Habit Five – Water
Yep, I hate to see and hear this everywhere, but the truth is – there’s a reason behind it. Our bodies are more than 60% water. That’s why we need consistent intake o clean, fresh water every day, so we can keep this body fresh and clean. Due to that, if you wonder how to start a healthy lifestyle today, water is one of the first few steps to there.
Here’s another way to look at it. Let’s imagine a lake. It’s full of water that stays there. If you don’t put fresh water daily in that lake – it will get dirty and muddy, isn’t it? The mud will start affecting the life in the lake, and it will be hard to keep it clean. It’s the same with your body. Your body is like a lake. The water keeps it fresh and clean. It helps your organs to function better; it keeps your mind clear and sharp. Helps the energy to flow faster and better.
I’ve never been able to enjoy drinking water. I always forget to do it. It’s not like I don’t want, I simply forget. So what did I do?
The regular recommended intake of water is around 2 litter daily. While I was telling myself that for years, all that happened was to try once in a while to drink lots and lots of water for a day or two and then to stop it. As much as I was trying as harder it was getting.
I learned to start my day with one glass of warm water. Sounds too gross? It’s like that only at the beginning. Early in the morning, our minds are more likely to go for the healthy options. Starting the day in with a healthy choice will give you the confidence you can do more. So, I start my day with a glass of warm water, and then I drink my coffee. You now that the coffee is going to send to the bathroom after only 40 minutes, right?
So, every time before I enter the bathroom I drink another half or a full glass of water. It sends me to the bathroom again in another hour or so, so I do that all morning, up to 1-2 pm. After that, I slow down a bit as my body is already full of water and it doesn’t need too much anymore.
This simple strategy was the only one I managed to stick with after years of looking for a way to do it.
If you’re a victim of your own bad habit not to drink water – try it and let me know if it worked for you too.
Healthy habit Number Six – How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle while Dancing
I bet you didn’t expect me to say something like that. Although everyone knows that dancing is healthy and fun, nobody takes it seriously… You should.
Well, dancing only 5 minutes for three or four times per week will pump your energy levels, move your muscles and boost your satisfaction of life. When we look for ways how to start a healthy lifestyle, we always should focus on what gives us pleasure in life. I believe dancing crazy for five minutes few times in the week gives me pleasure. It doesn’t take any time; I don’t have certain hours for it. I can look and hear a favourite song, and then decide now is the time for the five minutes of fun.
Try it and let me know what song did you choose?
Healthy Habit Number Seven – How to start a Healthy Lifestyle by Practising Gratitude
First of all, if you wonder what the best mental exercise that could help you keep up the healthy lifestyle is – it’s Gratitude.
The core of happiness is realising what you have around and appreciating it.
The core of Gratitude is to notice every single little thing in your life – present and past and be grateful it led you to this day and this stage of your life. Everything that happens has a reason, a lesson or a present behind it.
Practising Gratitude towards your life, your mental state, your surroundings and the people you share everything with, is the best present you can do for yourself.
Gratitude changes lives. It changes the way you see the world and the way the world sees you, changes as well.
Following the little advice fro the beginning of this article – Start Small, use it for the last healthy habit as well.
Small Gratitude few times in a week will do wonders for your mind and life. I’ve got a Gratitude Journal and often sit down and write everything I’m grateful for. You can do it too.
If writing is not your thing, just take a few minutes in the day and say out loud or in your mind what are the things you’re grateful for today. Make a list of these things and carry it around with you everywhere you go. Add new things wherever you go. Finally, go through it when you have a moment.
So, appreciate everything God or the Universe gives you every single day. Find your strength, realise how much you’ve done in this life. Count the people around you that make you smile, brighten your days and help you stay positive.
Be grateful for every bad thing that happened in the past. It sent you to the bottom of your life, but that was the moment when you found your powers, your inner strength and your will to survive it. The result Is you today, and there’s nothing more amazing than that. By reading this article on how to start a healthy lifestyle, you only claim you’re willing to do more for yourself, be the better version and maintain your happiness.
And that’s amazing. I congratulate you and thank you for doing it. Stay healthy and be happy! I am grateful for You.