Eat and exercise yourself toward health

bikeWe’re a couple months into the new year now. And that means you should know if you’re sticking to your resolution to lose weight and look great this year. If you’re not, that’s completely fine. These things are tough and it can be difficult to stick to new, healthy habits. But there are a number of steps you can take to begin to make a major impact on both your health and waistline.

Figure out what’s going on in your head

You need to understand why you’re resisting your healthy lifestyle before you can move forward. Do you really want to make these changes? Are you committed to this lifestyle? Are you willing to do what’s necessary? Sometimes, you just to need to commit to one small change at a time. Think about it this way.

It’s easy to lace up your gym shoes, right? So, once that’s done, you won’t want to sit around wearing those shoes. You will head to the gym or go for a run. And once you’re used to doing that, you’ll be more likely to go again. This healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy choices and creating new habits. And those just have to start somewhere.

Choosing to eat healthy foods

Everyone has a different idea about what it means to eat healthfully. Scan the news headlines and it’s likely you’ll see completely opposite ones daily. Fat’s good for you, one will scream. Fat’s bad for you, another will say.

What’s important is that you do your research and speak to your doctor, if necessary, about what you should be eating. Many medical health insurance companies in South Africa cover consultations with a nutritionist or dietician. So, check your cover to see what assistance you’re able to receive.

Once you know what you need to eat, it’s all about making smart decisions daily. Smart decisions at the grocery store and at restaurants. Every meal you eat, every item of food you eat is a vote for your healthy lifestyle. Either you’re voting for it or against it. It’s up to you.

A good idea is to start thinking about your trips to the grocery store. Often all of the more healthy options are packed at the shop’s perimetre. This is where the fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood and dairy are located. This is then where you should be spending most of your time. All of the items toward the middle of the shop tend to be packaged, processed foods. Take one look at those labels and you’ll see they’re laden with sugars, fats and preservatives.

Eating food from these packages and at restaurants means you’ll never really know what’s in your food. Cooking your meals at home means you’ll know what goes into every bite. And by stocking your kitchen with healthy ingredients, you’ll always be ready to create your next masterpiece.

Exercise more often

It’s important we all move our bodies and increase our heart rates every single day. The American Heart Association recommends that we all workout for a total of 150 minutes weekly. That works out to 30 minutes of moderate exercise each weekday. And that’s pretty easy to do. But that’ll keep you at the same place you are now. If you’re planning on losing weight or toning up, you’re going to have to do a little more exercise. You’re going to have to get sweaty. The association recommends you start walking. That’s the most simple change you can make to improve your heart health, it says.

“It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great exercise. A walking program is flexible and boasts high success rates because people can stick with it. It’s easy for walking to become a regular and satisfying part of life.”

Other activities you could consider include hiking, cycling, swimming and playing sports. Most don’t need much equipment and are fairly easy to do. And the plus side, soon you’ll be hooked on your new favourite exercise regime.

When you’re exercising regularly, your body releases endorphins. Their job is to make you happy and, of course, you’ll want to keep feeling that way. Those neighbourhood walks could soon be the happiest time of your days and weeks. Remember, for best results, it’s essential that you combine your cardio workouts with some form of weight training.

By combining the three essential elements of smart thinking, eating right and exercising often, you’ll soon be the most healthy version of yourself. It might be painful at first but, eventually, you’ll love it.