Two years ago, someone recommended me a 15-day crash diet they believed would shed 8 pounds straight in two weeks. The claim seemed “too good to be true” but the pursuit of a living a healthy lifestyle, and “mostly” the appeal of losing belly fat was enough for me to ignore the blaring red flag.
Two weeks of black coffee, miniature steak, and few green leaves later, I successfully lost 4 pounds (only) but it came with an unfortunate catch. Sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, dull skin…let’s just say if “Tales from the crypt” had another sequel, I would have fit right into the lead creature role.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, we often confuse rigid dieting with healthy living, and the real problem gets lost in the middle.
According to USA national center of health statistics, almost one-third of the American population is overweight because of their dietary pattern. If the trend prevails, there is a possibility 85% of the population would be overweight by 2030.
The chilling statistics have pointed out a major problem in today’s population that might lead to future health issues.
A sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting all day long on a 9 to 5 job, hurrying up on breakfasts and lunches, too tired to exercise; these eating habits and lack of activity often leads to obesity and stress, and in the aftermath, people scramble for weight loss diets to curb the growing weight.
In truth, if we move past the concept of restrictive dieting and focus more on a healthy lifestyle, half of our health problems would be solved and we may be able to enjoy the perks of a longer lifespan.
With that in mind, I have listed down 9 tips to adopt in your eating habits and daily routine to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
1. Regulate Unhealthy Food Intake
While ideally, you shouldn’t be taking unhealthy food at all, practically speaking, that rarely happens. Cutting your unhealthy meal altogether will only tempt you to eat more.
The better option is to self-regulate it instead, according to studies.
In 2013, European Journal of public health conducted a study on adolescent eating habits with regard to self-regulation. It came to notice; the students use three techniques to curb their unhealthy food craving.
They changed their daily route to home, to avoid the food streets with mouthwatering aroma permeating the air. They kept the junk food in the places where it would be an effort to get them while watching TV. And third, they busy themselves when the hunger takes in at odd hours.
Personally, I controlled my unhealthy food portion by reducing it bit by bit every week until 80% of my meals constituted healthy contents. Also, try to avoid excess sugar consumption.
The point is, to live a healthy lifestyle, everyone has their own sets of self-regulation techniques. As long as the end result is the same, stick with whatever works for you.
2. Take Your Time Between Bites
Have you ever noticed how, in your teens, you could eat a hearty meal without a hitch, but the moment you crossed 25 you began to put on weight on the same diet?
Metabolism productivity drops with age. What your body easily digested in your teens, would be harder to burn as you grow old. Secondly, it takes approximately 20 minutes for the stomach to digest, and the time frame increases with age and lifestyle.
To keep up with your stomach pace, you need to give your first bite a minute before you take the next one.
Your waistline, after all, is depended on how fast you eat. The faster the speed, the more would be the fat accumulation.
3. Drink Water In Abundance
We all know drinking water not only keeps our body hydrated but also moisturizes our skin. Do you know it also helps you maintain your body weight?
While water, itself, doesn’t have weight reducing properties, it’s an excellent appetite suppressant.
As you drink water, it takes up space in your stomach, reducing the appetite from 100% to 80%. Moreover, drinking water in times of hunger pang reduces the food temptation stopping you from midnight snacking.
Make a habit of drinking two glass of water 30 minutes before your meal, and you won’t have to worry about over-stuffing yourself devouring your favorite pasta!
4. Add Variety In Your Diet
Your body needs approximately 2000 daily calories intake including all the necessary nutrients to maintain good health.
To live a healthy lifestyle, one must focus on what to eat.
By having a versatile menu, you can get all the proteins, fats, carbs, and vitamins in your body within the given calorie bracket.
Meat and pulses have an abundance of protein. Grains have carbs and fiber, while vegetables and fruits provide the essential minerals. A well-balanced diet, including all those, will keep you healthy and fit.
Besides, a bit of creative cooking skills would easily spice-up the boring broccoli.
5. Sleep Well—But Not Too Well
You know how you slept late and still feel tired all day long? That’s the side effect of hypersomnia— in other words, “oversleeping.”
Oversleeping and sleep deprivation both can badly affect your physical and mental health. Mood swings, depression , heart disease, slow brain activity, and even obesity, are one of the side effects of imbalanced sleep patterns.
A person needs 8 hours of sleep to rejuvenate. A good night sleep will not only repair your body and mind; you will feel more energetic with a bounce in your steps.
6. Keep Your Mind Young
You know how sometimes you forget where you put the keys? Or you enter into your room and can’t remember what you were looking for? Or worse, you were looking everywhere for your pen when it was right there in your hand!
This mild memory lapse, we usually ignore as a “usual” occurrence, might very well be signs of your regressing cognitive reserves.
Cognitive reserve is the mental stamina of the brain that prevents it from damages. The stronger the reserve, the better you will be able to cope with mental damages in old age.
Studies say, those who were indulged in brain-challenging activities all their lives have the advantage to tap into their cognitive reserves in their old age more than those who weren’t.
Logical games, brainstorming exercises, reading, even knitting; these are the simple yet effective ways to keep your mind young and sharp.
“A healthy lifestyle is directly proportional to a longer lifespan.”
7. Walk, Walk, and Sometimes Hike
Let’s be honest, unless you are “highly motivated” about slimming down, chances are, you will lose interest in a tough exercise routine within a few months.
Besides, a hardy Gym requires a hefty sum. That alone is enough to deter someone from taking on it.
However, to live a healthy lifestyle, one must exercise regularly. Luckily, there is an easily attainable exercise that won’t put a strain on your pocket.
Walking, running, and hiking is a lot more adaptable than other exercise routines.
8. Keep Yourself Busy
Working yourself to the point of exhaustion is a red mark to your peace of mind, but an idle mind is most certainly a devil’s workshop.
For instance, somebody passed a fleeting comment you disapproved. You will brood over the intention of their comment. Your mind would deceive you to be skeptical. One thought would lead to another and within an hour you would create a mountain out of a hill.
Overthinking is a sure way to anxiety, and unless you stop your mind from wandering to negative thoughts, it would eventually lead to down the path of depression.
And that’s not the only reason to keep oneself busy.
Researchers believe, by remaining busy, you are constantly exercising your brain. Meaning, staying busy would keep your mind sharp.
For a healthy lifestyle, an active mind is paramount. As long as you are not overexerting yourself, do house chores, get a hobby, exercise more, or go outside and socialize.
9. Socialize more
We are not meant to live alone. Our mind longs for social interaction to share ideas, transfer knowledge, and we crave for companionship.
Besides, how else would we learn and thrive?
In 1902, an American sociologist introduced a concept of “the looking-glass self” on the development of self-image. He believed when people learn about other’s perception of them, they realize their strength and weakness.
That’s how people self-develop.
That being said, a lot of people don’t prefer social gatherings for the very same reason. The fear of judgment folds them into isolation. But to live a healthy lifestyle you have to build up your social circle and interact more.
A reclusive life may let you survive in the community but it would it help you to thrive? After all, one can only live a lonely life for so long.
A healthy lifestyle leads to a longer lifespan. And while it would be impractical to turn over the whole routine, following these tips for a healthy lifestyle would make a great impact on your life.