With all the diets and exercise plans that promise to drastically improve your life in a short amount of time, then don’t, efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle seem futile. Such a goal, however, is not as hopeless or complicated to attain as it may seem. In fact, a healthy lifestyle can be obtained and maintained in small, simple steps.
1. Eat healthy food. The thing about temporary diets is that they minimize your fat cells, not eliminate. Therefore, when you go back to your regular eating habits, your fat cells inflate again. This is why it would be more effective to simply make good choices about what you eat by consuming a variety of natural foods. Ideally, there should be one serving of fruit or vegetables with each of your meals. DO NOT eat chips, fast food, white bread, or dessert (candy, cake, chocolate, ice-cream, etc.)
You can also limit simple sugars. Most of the calories the average person consumes are through what they drink, so cutting all soda, Minutemade Lemonade, sweet tea, and so on (or just drinking solely water) would be very effective. Minimally, you should drink three glasses of water per day. One glass is equal to eight ounces, three of which are 24 ounces. So, if you have a 25-ounce water bottle like me, you only need to drink one water bottle a day.
Finally, you should eat breakfast every morning. This will start your metabolism and therefore prevent eating later at night. You should avoid late-night snacking (food consumption four hours or less before you go to bed) in general because, once you go to sleep, your body stops digesting the food in your system, and then it just sits and becomes extra weight.
2. Exercise regularly. You need 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise per week. This is about 30 minutes of exercise per day, which is not that difficult to do. If you are a full-time student, this sum is easily met if you spend at least five minutes walking to your next class. You don’t have to dedicate 30 minutes of each day to the gym, simply incorporate exercise into your life. Walk more often. If there are stairs, take them. Include aerobic and strength training. Participate in sports. You shouldn’t sit for more than 20 minutes.
3. Get consistent sleep. If you are emotionally unstable, unable to remember, and/or consistently exhausted, you probably need good sleep and a good laugh. 18-25-year-olds need 7-9 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, so naps are included! Create a restful environment by avoiding stimulation before bed and being careful with caffeine. Finally, go to bed and get up at roughly the same time each day.
4. Manage your stress. Recognize your stress response and identify positive coping mechanisms, like exercise or gratitude. Get in the habit of journaling what you’re grateful for, like making gratitude the sole focus of your prayer journal. Also, set aside 30-minutes at least once a week for a de-stress activity that does not include technology, books, or people. I find half an hour of tidying my room or needlepoint to be very rejuvenating. 😌
Special thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Weier for their excellent lecture on this topic!