I wanted to write a post based on a question I get asked quite often, “How do I become healthier?”With all the information on the world wide web these days navigating nutrition can seem impossible. I think the true path to health is the simplest, and involves just a few simple adjustments to your daily routine.
It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose to participate in, as long as you make a point of being active on a daily basis. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise per week for adults and more for kids. This includes anything from brisk walking to swimming, weightlifting, or jogging. I love to emphasize variety into my daily exercise routine and I rarely ever do the same workout twice. This I find is key to staying motivated and making exercise fun.
2. Eat real food
Eating healthy is not complicated or boring. Emphasize foods in their whole form, fruits, vegetables, meats and fats from happy animals, whole grains, and a moderate amount of nuts and seeds. Stay away from most things that come in a package or “convenience foods” with unrecognizable ingredients. Treat yourself every once in a while but keep it real for the most part. As you start to eat more whole foods your palate will adjust and you will start to feel good and crave the healthier alternatives.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people
Join an online community or make a friend at the gym. Swap healthy recipes with family members or friends. Hold a healthy food potluck. Find people you can turn to for support. The sooner you start to see prioritizing health as a lifestyle, the sooner it becomes routine. People may start to take notice and ask you questions, keep it up, you are inspiring!
4. Appreciate the little things
At first progress may seem slow, but slow changes in the short term lead to big changes in the long run. This is not a 21-day detox or 2 week quick-fix. Diets don’t work. Consistency does. If you find you are down a dress size or maybe you can run further than you ever thought possible, you are making progress. And progress, no matter how small, is progress. Use these changes to fuel your motivation in the gym and in the kitchen.
5. Find new ways to treat yourself
Instead or rewarding a week of clean eating and exercising with a weekend binge of fast food and alcohol, celebrate with a new cool pair of shoes or a snazzy workout outfit. Call a friend and tell them your progress, or host a family dinner filled with lots of fresh, healthy food. Don’t undo your hard work with bad choices. That being said, don’t completely deprive yourself either. Partake in a small piece of cake at a birthday celebration or some pizza on date night. Be aware of your portions and indulge smartly.
6. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Don’t become uptight about your diet or exercise routine. When healthy living becomes an obsession, it is no longer healthy. Don’t feel like you can’t partake in social gatherings because there won’t be any healthy food served or because it entitles missing your workout. Have a relaxed approach to health, and if you have one bad day, forgive yourself and get back on track.
7. There is no magic formula
This is perhaps the most important one. There are hundreds, probably thousands of diet books and health gurus out there that will convince you that they have found the path to radiant health, better digestion, and the cure to every disease. Any health ailment that you may have, they can cure it. This is a farce and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to health. A balanced diet and exercise routine is all you need to achieve the healthiest version of yourself. No superfoods or magic pills involved.
8. Listen to your body
Learning what works for you in terms of fuel and exercise comes from trial and error. Find foods that you like and that your body responds well to. Find an exercise routine that leaves you feeling energized and strong. Your own intuition is the best guidance for optimal function.
Now I want to here from you! Would you add anything to this list? What is something that has helped you on your healthy living journey?