I hear it all the time - you know, the excuses of why you can't live a healthy lifestyle. There isn't any time! I don't know how! I'm exhausted at the end of the day! I am too busy! But the truth is, by not having healthy habits the rest of your life suffers. Fatigue, weight-gain, bad moods or mood swings, they are all the result of not living a healthy life.
Before we get into the the top tips, I am so happy to introduce you to Jackie, founder of Well and Blooming, who contributed to this post. As a fellow New Jerseyan, I am impressed by Well and Blooming's commitment to healthy living and the broad services she offers. From meal-prepping to nutritional therapy consulting, Jackie can help anyone who wants to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.
I had the chance to work with Jackie on this post. Here is a little more about what motivates her and her choice to live a healthy lifestyle, as well as what motivates her to help others:
What inspired you to start well and blooming? I started well & blooming because I want to inspire others to become the happiest & healthiest versions of themselves and develop a passion for leading a healthy lifestyle the way that I have.
It's a space for me to share healthy recipes made with whole foods (I'm especially into whole30 recipes right now as I just completed my first round), self love & care tips, my current favorite health/wellness obsessions, nutrition facts/news, and a bunch of other good stuff. I am also in the process of starting my own health consulting business so this site is a way to share my services
How do you stay on track for living a healthy lifestyle? I stay on track by thinking about how much better I feel mentally and physically when I am making healthy choices. It's not always easy but ultimately I know that it's always worth it. It's super important to listen to your body as well. If you need a rest day, take it . . . if you want a cookie, eat it - it's all about balance. I truly believe that leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle plus a positive mindset are the ultimate combination to becoming your best self.
What is the #1 piece of advice you would give someone who wants to start a healthy lifestyle? Nike says it best - JUST DO IT! Stop making excuses and start acting. I've been there and understand how hard it can seem but I can promise you that you won't regret it.
Start small- whether it's focusing on drinking more water, having a goal to work out (something that you actually enjoy) 2-3 days a week, taking up meditation, or incorporating more vegetables into your diet. Think about how much better you will feel in a few weeks and how proud of yourself you will be. Making the healthy choice almost becomes addicting and first nature.
I'm sure you enjoyed learning more about Jackie, just like I did!
Now, on to the Top 5 Tips. You may not believe it is this simple to change your lifestyle but it is! It only takes 21 days to form a habit - good or bad - so let's focus on making a few good habits the next 21 days.
TIP #1: WRITE DOWN WHY YOU WANT A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
This does not have to be a laundry list!! In fact, if you list more than 3, the list will become overwhelming and it will be less likely that you will adhere to a healthy lifestyle. Instead, focus on the really important things that matter to you.
Is it preventative care for yourself or a family member? Is it wanting to feel better/have more energy? Is it to be around to see (and play) with your grandchildren? Is this a reaction to some not so positive news from a Doctor?
Whatever the core reason for you to start a healthy lifestyle, write it down to make it a commitment to yourself. Then, if you ever need to think about why you are doing something healthy, you have a written reminder. Keep this reminder somewhere you will see it periodically - if not daily.
TIP #2: START SLOWLY
Why do most people not achieve their goals? Because they start off really disciplined and then can't maintain the changes they've made. Instead, you need a slow, tactical plan to incorporate lifestyle changes. Here is how to start making small changes that become your lifestyle:
Dedicate one dinner per week to a vegetarian option. What? You can't cook vegetarian meals? This step couldn't be easier. Have you ever made stuffed peppers? If so, substitute the ground beef or turkey with a meatless substitute (like Quorn) or chopped mushrooms. Ever make lasagna? Again, omit the meat and add chopped zucchini, mushrooms, onion, frozen chopped spinach. There are so many easy ways to cook a meatless meal.
Walk 30 minutes two or three days a week. Want to start exercising? Walking is the best way! You don't need a gym membership; just go outside and walk! After you become accustomed to walking 2-3 days a week (it might take 4 weeks - but that is fine), then think about adding in a fourth day or checking out a gym or exercise class or a YouTube class that you ca do at home! Any movement is better than no movement!
Make your lunch. If you simply can't get into a meatless meal, think about increasing your vegetable intake and/or making your lunch. I see this happen all the time at work! People go to the cafeteria which has sub-par or tempting foods for lunch. These foods are typically high fat and high calories. If you can make your lunch 2-3 days per week, I promise you will eat healthier.
Lunch ideas: salads with lots of veggies (limit salad dressing); vegetable stir-fry with rice or pasta (try brown rice or pasta made from beans); Frozen veggie burgers on a portobella mushroom bun. The idea is to increase vegetable intake at lunch which helps to achieve total vegetable intake for the day.
Try this Chicken BLT Lettuce Boat recipe from Well and Blooming. Click here for the recipe
TIP #3: KEEP A SCHEDULE
It is so much easier to start a healthy lifestyle slowly by mapping our your efforts. Using a calendar (digital or paper - your choice), write down your healthy efforts for the month. Then refer to the calendar weekly and check-off what you actually achieved. The nice thing about this tip is that overtime, you'll see how much you achieved!
TIP #4: FIND SUPPORT
This can be anywhere and anyone you want it to be from. Tell your friends, family and your social media groups what your activities and/or goals are. You'd be amazed how much positive support you will get when you post your progress. Also, when you are feeling unmotivated, let your network of support know.
TIP #5: IT IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE - DO NOT RESTRICT
When you start making changes in your lifestyle, there will be times that your life doesn't "fit" with your goals. Maybe you have a wedding weekend. Maybe you need a glass of wine (or two) after a tough day. The key is consistency to your healthy plan. In fact, I highly recommend having a cheat day. I typically am not as disciplined on the weekend knowing that my schedule will be different.
I may be going out to dinner or to the city or to hang-out with friends. Why put restrictions on myself during a splurge or a night out? By balancing healthy habits with indulgences, you are more likely going to stay on the healthy path for the long-term.
As Jackie from well and blooming told me, "Make sure to say nice things to yourself about your progress and give yourself a reward (maybe a hot bubble bath or something that gives you pleasure) is just as important as working towards your healthy lifestyle goals. After all self-care is very important."
I hope you enjoyed this post about how to live a healthy lifestyle and learning about Jackie from Well and Blooming, who contributed to this post. If you'd like to get free recipes and healthy living advice, follow my blog on Bloglovin. If you'd like to get in touch with Well & Blooming, visit Jackie's website or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org