A full overhaul of your lifestyle can feel like it takes overwhelming dedication and willpower. If viewed as a daunting task, it is hard to stay committed. Instead, it can be helpful to make incremental changes to your lifestyle. When you see the physical and mental benefits of these minor adjustments, you’ll want nothing more than to continue making healthier, more balanced choices. Here are six simple lifestyle changes that are easy and fun to maintain.
A common diet choice is to eat healthy six days of the week and then go wild on the seventh. Instead, though of course you are encouraged to eat better every day, try integrating an “anti-cheat day.” One day per week, choose only healthy options. Have a cup of yogurt, a high-fibre cereal and a banana for breakfast. Enjoy half a grilled chicken breast on a bed of spinach with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and dried cranberries for lunch. For dinner, dig into grilled salmon with lemon, asparagus and green beans, and brown rice. The options are so varied and delicious you’ll want every day to be an anti-cheat day. So go for it!
Eliminate one beverage vice
Beverages make up a considerable portion of our daily intake, whether it is calories, caffeine, fat, or sodium. Make a conscious decision to eliminate or lower your consumption of one beverage type. If you typical drink two cans of soft drinks per day, drink only one and replace the other with water. Coffee drinkers can switch at least one round to green tea, with no sugar or milk added. If you require the caffeine kick, try halving your usual sugar amount and switch to milk instead of cream. If you like to indulge in alcoholic beverages, a serving of wine has fewer calories than beer. If you like mixed drinks, consider flavor-infused vodka rather than adding a high-calorie mixer. You can still enjoy your favourite beverages, but think of them less as staple and more as a treat.
Skip the fries
Part of the appeal of dining out is the indulgent nature of it all, and that includes ordering fries as a side. To help keep these unhealthy meals manageable, consider ordering an alternative side when you dine out. The simplest and tastiest switch is from ordinary fries to baked sweet potato fries, and avoid the salt shaker. The best switch health-wise is to a salad, and ask for the dressing on the side. Other decent side choices include rice, corn, or mixed vegetables. You can still enjoy your entree to its full extent, but turn fries from the required side into an occasional indulgence.
While dedicated workout sessions several times per week are best, every little bit of added movement helps. If you work in an office building, take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Not only is it healthier, it might be faster, and you won’t have to endure small talk during the elevator’s slow ascent. If you take public transit, consider getting off a stop or two early if feasible, especially if the weather is nice. Finally, rather than wasting time and gas hunting for that perfect parking spot, take advantage of the empty far reaches of the parking lot. These small changes are easy to integrate into your daily routine and they truly add up.
When you’re advised to exercise thirty minutes per day, it can sound daunting and impossible to fit into your busy schedule, yet most of us manage to fit in a few hours of lazy TV watching each night. Exercise can easily be integrated into TV time. If you own a stationary bicycle or treadmill, hop on and work out for the entirety of a sitcom. Otherwise, start small. Begin with body weight exercises like lunges during the commercial breaks of your favourite action show. If you enjoy watching sports, consider working in fun tasks. Every time a basketball team calls a timeout, do jumping jacks for the duration. If your favourite football team scores a touchdown, do five push-ups.
The value of a good night’s sleep is so often overlooked, but it is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Try as much as possible to allow time for a full night’s rest, and create an environment that encourages it. Rather than poking away at a game on your iPad before bed, gear down with a book. Try to organize everything for the next day so your mind is not running. Decrease distractions, avoid harsh lighting and maintain a clean, comfortable environment so you can rest up.