If you want to make your lifestyle healthier, try a step by step approach. Setting goals is a good way to make changes, but it is important to set goals that are attainable. Make small, step-by-step plans and create several smaller goals towards a healthy lifestyle. Instead of trying to change everything at once, make smaller changes every day, every week or every month.
Changing Your Diet
Take small steps towards better nutrition and a healthier diet. It is better to make gradual adjustments to your lifestyle than to try to change your whole diet at once. Start by adding new healthy foods: eat more fruits and vegetables, and make fruit and vegetable juices a part of your daily diet. Try to reduce the amount of white sugar and white flour in your diet, and replace them with whole grain flour, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, brown rice and healthy grains such as quinoa or millet. Choose healthy oils and unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, sunflower or other vegetable oils.
If you eat meat, choose lean meats such as chicken or turkey, and include some oily fish in your diet to get healthy fats. Try to eat more nutritious foods and less junk food or ready meals. If you eat a lot of snacks, choose healthy snack options such as wholemeal crackers, nuts and seeds, and fresh or dried fruits. Start to replace sodas and other sweetened soft drinks with fruit juices, herb teas and unsweetened soft drinks such as tonic water.
Make Realistic Exercise Goals
Exercise burns calories, keeps you fit and gives you a more toned body, but it also makes you feel better. Exercise releases feel good hormones (endorphins) and once you start exercising, the feel good hormones will make you want to keep exercising regularly. Exercising also helps to prevent stress, it improves your energy levels and it can even improve your sleep. Start with short sessions and increase the length and intensity over time. One good way to increase physical activity is to try to walk or cycle to work.
If you are not used to exercising or eating healthy foods, start by making make small healthier choices every day. If you fall back on your goals or your plans, it is not the end of the world and you can always try again. If you make your lifestyle changes too strict and if you make your goals impossible to reach, it is easy to give up on your plans. Instead of going from not exercising at all to trying to exercise hours every day, make a plan that includes short exercise sessions doing something that you enjoy: walking, hiking, cycling, swimming or any outdoor activities.