Tuesday, 20 October 2015
How To Kick Start Your Healthier Lifestyle
It's something we all claim at one point or another, often vowing that you're going to commence a super healthy lifestyle from here on. More often than not, we find ourselves promising to live a 'clean', 'green' life, working out five days a week and never letting a bar of chocolate pass our lips ever again. Usually you find yourself claiming such extreme measures after a heavy weekend, over indulging in carb heavy, sugary foods and alcohol. It's only a natural feeling - if you're lacking nutrients, your body is going to crave them. However, this way of thinking often leads to a few days or weeks of eating relatively well, but giving into temptation and finding yourself back at square one.
There is no such thing as a quick fix. Instead, you need to invest, organise and plan a healthier lifestyle.
There's little point in choosing to have a short term goal such as losing some weight/getting fitter for a particular event, for example. Instead, you need to be thinking long term. If you want to be healthy, that is a lifestyle change, not a six-week crash diet course.
Where to start though? Several years ago, the resources available offering clear cut advice were pretty confusing, and admittedly, these days it can still be a bit of a blur. However, it really needn't be such a headache.
I spent several years struggling with my lifestyle, and had a poor understanding of what a healthy lifestyle looked like. I tried and tried, and was quite frankly, disgustingly rejected from receiving any help. Instead, I had to take resources into my own hands and taught myself, from scratch, what a balanced diet and lifestyle is. In the past two years, I've managed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with the odd blip which is only natural, and feel fantastic for it. So, where do you start?
Do your research
I'd spend many a sleepless night (due to poor diet and general lifestyle) wide awake, researching health and nutrition. Obviously, make sure the information you're taking away is from a reliable, thoroughly researched source. Often I found, and still do find, that there are bloggers whose own experiences provide sufficient evidence of knowledge for me, and are more relatable with their pieces of advice and knowledge than any 'Doctor' or 'Professor'. Two ladies who really have helped me in more ways than they'll ever realise were Laura and Jemma (and I thoroughly recommend you read their blogs back to front!). They offer fantastic advice derived from their own journey to a healthier lifestyle, and totally have hit the nail on the head when it comes to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
There are plenty of nutritionists and dieticians who've written plenty of fantastic books, which can provide some interesting bedtime reading. Clean and Lean totally struck a chord with me, and although a tad extreme in some areas, as long as you have a healthy mind, it is a fantastic source of healthy lifestyle inspiration. More recent literature such as Get The Glow is another source of brilliant inspiration, and truly delicious and simple recipes too. Check out Get The Gloss and Madeleine Shaw for fantastic online resources too.
Plan, plan again, and plan some more
If you're planning on being healthy, you need to plan out everything too. Firstly, start off just by writing down everything you're eating so you have a rough idea of what areas need improving, and so you're aware of what you're actually eating (no lies here!). Then, start planning out your weekly meals. It feels a little alien at first, but it'll mean you can stick to your plan and weekly structure so much better, and you'll more likely save some money too. Plan snacks for when you're out and about, such as a mini pot of nuts and dark chocolate or some homemade energy bites.
If you need to pre-prepare meals, such as breakfasts like overnight oats, or lunches like a Glowing Goddess Vegan Bowl, set aside a day during the week or half an hour each evening and get these all ready.
Plan your workouts too, and you will find yourself sticking to them. Every four-six weeks, change up your workouts to keep things more exciting. What's even better with planning is the fact you get the excuse to buy adorable stationary such as the above Nouvelle Daily planner. Now all your healthy lifestyle plans can stay in one pretty place!
Work out what's best for YOU
I've worked out that a lower carb diet (not no carbs!!), very little refined sugar, lots of good fats, well sourced protein and lots of vegetables is the diet that works best for me, 80% of the time. However, 20% of the time, I need to indulge. I'm a self confessed chocoholic and was blessed with a sweet tooth. As long as I eat the healthier way that suits me 80% of the time, spending the other 20% of my time allowing myself to indulge is pretty much never an issue.
However, what works for me may not work for you. You may find you need to live a 70/30 lifestyle, or that your lifestyle suits being higher in carbs because you're very active. Keep the basics of a healthier lifestyle (lots of vegetables, eat your good fats and enjoy well sourced protein), but tweak particular dietary needs to your own personal requirements. This is YOUR healthy lifestyle, not the persons next to you.
Balance is everything
As I've already mentioned, I live a lifestyle that allows me to be indulgent 20% of the time. This is so crucial to me as I need to have those moments in order to keep myself sane and stop me from overindulging. If you deprive your body from things that you want, it'll only end in disaster. Yes, these things may not necessarily be 'clean' or 'good', but it's ok to have something a little bit naughty sometimes! Depriving only leads to bingeing in the end, and that's not somewhere you ever want to be. If your body is craving Haagen Dazs Salted Caramel ice cream, go for it. Just ensure that you boost the veggies in your next meal, or do whatever it is that makes you feel healthy.
Do you feel you live a healthy lifestyle? What are your tips for someone who wants to kick start a healthier lifestyle? What's one 'healthier' food that you can't live without, and one 'not so healthy' food you can't live without?
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