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A healthy lifestyle lowers your risk of disease and maximizes your physical and mental wellbeing. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only do you improve your health, you also become a positive role model to those around you, especially your family, children and friends.
A healthy lifestyle is one that combines a balanced diet, regular exercise and good sleep habits.
This will help you with weight loss, weight maintenance and maintaining good health.
It’s important to be clear that this is what you are looking for – a healthy lifestyle. Not just quick weight loss. Many fad diets, weight-loss programs and outright scams promise quick and easy weight loss. But rarely does this help you follow a healthy lifestyle as such programmes are usually about short-term and extreme changes. Not your long term health.
The foundation of successful weight loss is a healthy, controlled diet combined with physical activity and sleep.
All 3 are the elements of a healthy lifestyle. For successful, long-term weight loss and good health, you must make permanent changes in your lifestyle and health habits. When you approach weight loss and fitness with that attitude, you find that you are able to start working on the right path.
How do you make these changes? Consider the following tips for maximizing your chances of weight-loss success and adopting a healthy lifestyle that lasts. We’ve short-listed the 10 most powerful tips that we think will set you on a path to a healthier lifestyle.
We have covered diet, exercise and sleep tips.
We live in a world where you are surrounded by food choices and so-called ‘health’ food and snacks. It can be impossible to decide what is really healthy for you and what is not. The simple rule to follow is to look at thequalityof the food. For example: is it fresh, is it processed, does it have a long shelf life, are there many artificial ingredients etc. When you look at foods this way it becomes clear that foods that come from a farm are of the highest quality whereas foods from a factory are low-quality
Simple rule to follow for a healthy lifestyle
Here are examples of fresh foods that come from a farm, the highest quality. This should be themain partof your daily diet.
Here are examples ofminimally processed foodsthat you might buy. These are high-quality because they are processed but only to a small degree.These can be included in your diet on a regular basis.
Here are examples of highly processed foods that you might buy. These are low-quality because they are processed to a large degree and contain many added ingredients. These should be included in your dietonly occasionally.
Use these simple guidelines to decide where a food falls.
Never believe the marketing of a product. This is often misleading. Instead, use the above rules and look at ingredients in the product.
This will help you stay away from junk food that is disguised or marketed as healthy.
Our parents and grandparents may have eaten 2-4 times a day with a fixed schedule. This has changed a lot and in our current lifestyle, we seem to eat much more often in a day.
In addition to breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner we end up eating whenever we feel like eating or whenever we see some food.
This means that we could be eating 5-10 times every single day. And this is where a lot of the unhealthy food enters your diet.
A simple way to avoid this is to have a schedule that works for you. It could be 3 or 5 times a day. Pick a number and stick to it. You will see that you avoid a lot of unhealthy foods this way or at least become conscious about how and when they are creeping into your daily diet.
Importance of hydration for a healthy lifestyle
We often confuse hunger and thirst.
We think we are hungry when we really are thirsty.
So whenever you feel like you want to eat, always have 1-2 glasses of water first. Sip the water slowly and then wait for a few minutes. This will usually satisfy you and you will realize you were not hungry after all. If you are still hungry after that, you can eat something healthy. But have the water first.
Snack on fruits for a healthier lifestyle
Make fruit your first choice for a snack. This will help you avoid or limit processed foods like biscuits. It can also help with reducing sugar cravings. You can have 2-3 medium sized fruits a day. An apple is an example of a medium sized fruit.
Always eat the fruit. Do not drink its juice. The reason for this is that chewing food helps our brain get the message that we are eating and getting full. This will help you realize when to stop.
Here is an example you can try out yourself:
Try eating 3 apples. You will struggle. But can you drink the juice from 3 apples? Easily!
It is not just about the fiber or added sugar. The simple truth is that it is easy to overeat in juice form, but not so when we eat food. So always eat the fruit, don’t drink juice.
No matter how good you are with your healthy habits, life will throw problems your way. It could be too much work, festivals, special occasions, or you have to travel for work. It will seem like the universe is plotting to throw you off track all the time. It is how it is. Accept it and stop aiming for perfection. A healthy lifestyle does not mean that you need to give up everything. Instead, here’s a tip for a healthy lifestyle that helps you overcome these situations.
Whenever unexpected things happen, think back to this simple rule: Never Miss Twice.
One poor meal or one missed workout are never the problem. The first mistake is never the one that does the damage. It is the string of repeated mistakes that follow that will cost you.
Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.
You may not be perfect, but you can avoid repeating that mistake.
Food is not a reward for exercise. And exercise should not be a punishment for eating poor food. Connecting the two is a bad (and stressful) habit – so don’t do it. This is a big mistake we see people make often. For example:
Disconnect food and exercise and do both because it is the right thing to do for you. If you had a lot of junk today, get back to healthy eating the next day. If you missed a workout, be sure to show up for it the next day. This will keep you positive and focussed on forming healthy habits. It will also save you a lot of stress and guilt.
Various physical activities that count as exercise
Do not think of exercise that needs to be done in a gym or that you need a workout. All movement counts.
The goal is to move your body often. Whether it’s 10 mins a day or 1 hour, it all counts.
The following are mistakes you should avoid:
None of these needs to stop you from moving your body. You have plenty of options like walking or online exercise videos. Start with anything, but do make a start and do not stop. You will figure out better options along the way.
If you start exercising to lose weight, it’s likely you will gain weight!
That’s right. Many studies have shown this. And at the heart of this behavior is thinking of exercise as some sort of ‘punishment’ and treating food as the ‘reward’. This happens subconsciously in most cases.
You may not even realize it but you may end up eating more than usual after your exercise or having more treats during the day.
A simple way to deal with this is to do something you enjoy. If you enjoy the exercise you are doing, that’s great. If not, find something that puts a smile on your face.
In the Daily9 coaching programme, we set D9ers a goal of 45 mins of movement every day. Not workouts – movement. This could be anything they enjoy, like walking, yoga or their favourite sport. The idea is to make movement a part and parcel of your healthy lifestyle.
Playing a sport is a fantastic option. Have you seen people playing badminton? It’s likely they’re smiling a lot and having fun. Sport has a way of doing that.
Think of your time in school and college. Did you play any sport then? If you did, get back to it. If you did not, think of sports that are accessible to you and where you can have your friends join also.
Making exercise social helps you stick to it long term.
The most important thing is to find an exercise option that you like. You’ll then do it more often. No motivation will be required.
This may come as a surprise to you but not getting enough sleep is a big contributor to weight gain & health issues. We’ll repeat:
Poor sleep = weight gain.
It’s not hard to see why – the longer you are awake, the more you are likely to eat. That need for a late night snack is actually triggered by your body.
See the below image that explains the link between sleep deprivation and weight gain. (Note: Leptin & Ghrelin referred to below are hormones that manage hunger).
How sleep deprivation leads to obesity
If you don’t sleep enough, it is possible that fat loss does not happen even with all the hard work you put in on nutrition and activity.
Adequate sleep is mandatory, not just for fat loss but also for brain function, physical recovery and to keep you disease-free. Getting enough sleep — enough quality sleep — isn’t only a health necessity, either. It can also help you perform better mentally, and physically, and it can certainly make you a lot happier. So stop treating sleep as a ‘nice to have’ and make it a part of your healthy lifestyle.
We seem to think of sleep as something that just happens. The body is supposed to do this thing called sleeping whenever it is that we decide that we’re done for the day and go lie down on our bed. That could be 10 pm today, 1 am tomorrow or something else.
There’s just one problem: that’s not how the body works.
Your body does not know when you’re done for the day.
You need to speak to it in a way that it understands and that will help you ease into a good night of restful sleep. And there’s a language – a rhythm, that your body recognizes very well. It’s called the Circadian rhythm.
The diagram below depicts the circadian patterns typical of someone who rises early in the morning, eats lunch around noon, and sleeps at night (10 pm). The exact times of your circadian rhythm will vary based on many factors.
Circadian rhythm for a healthy lifestyle
How does your body know what time it is in order to set your circadian rhythm? Your body pieces this together based on various clues that it receives from you and your environment.
You need to prepare your body for sleep. Think of it as a gradual slowing down for the day.
If ever there was a routine required, it’s in the crucial last hour before you hit the bed. The body loves ritual. The entire circadian diagram you saw earlier is one big, daily routine.
So it’s important that you establish and maintain a set of actions that help you power down for the day, both physically and mentally. The main purpose of this ‘power down’ ritual is to make it clear to your body that you’re done for the day and you are starting to wind down. This also means that you need to be consistent and have the same ritual each day. If you’re a parent, you know that this works like a charm with babies. It works just as well on adults too.
It does not need to be anything elaborate. We are talking about 3-5 things that are always the last things you do each day, every day. Here is an example of a power-down ritual:
Do what makes sense for you. It might take some practice and a few changes before you find the ritual that works well for you. But every step you take will help your sleep quality and your health.
If you are reading this, we know that a healthy lifestyle is a high priority for you.
This is our mission at Daily9. To help people discover a healthy lifestyle that they can follow for the rest of their life. Not short term diets, but a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Most importantly, the Daily9 weight loss diet plan is practical and suits an Indian family environment.
If you’re looking for a scientific and practical approach to weight loss, take a look at theDaily9 coaching programme. It’s the only programme that helps with weight loss and weight maintenance.
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