So, you’ve decided to focus on your health but you’re not sure where to start. When it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, there is quite a bit of conflicting information on the subject. In the years we’ve worked with our members on their health and fitness, we’ve had the opportunity to take note of the changes that have not only been easier to make but have also had the biggest impact on achieving their goals.
Today, we’re going to share with you five easy-to-implement lifestyle changes to help you kickstart your fitness journey. We’ll also show you how to make the transition as smooth and painless as possible to help you keep at it long term.
Let’s get started!
Lifestyle Change #1: Healthier Food Choices
Don’t worry. There’s no need to go cold turkey on chips, soda, and all your other favorite junk food. In fact, you don’t even have to give them up completely even after you’ve successfully built healthier eating habits.
The goal is to slowly tip the balance in favor of wholesome foods until you’re eating healthy at least 80% of the time. By not rushing this process, you avoid putting yourself at risk of feeling deprived and eventually falling off the wagon.
But why is eating clean, nutrient-rich food important in the first place?
Well, the main reason is they have all the nutrients your body needs to not only function at peak capacity but also keep diseases at bay. In contrast, junk food not only does nothing for your body but also triggers cravings and impairs your ability to efficiently burn fat for energy.
Lifestyle Change #2: More Water
When it comes to lifestyle changes, this is probably the easiest one on our list. By simply drinking a glass of water before and after each meal, you instantly bump your intake up to six glasses a day—and that’s if you only eat three meals a day. If you eat more often, then that number goes up too.
Why is it such a big deal to drink more water?
Studies show that by simply staying hydrated, you can:
- Improve your focus
- Boost your energy levels
- Keep cravings at bay
- Manage your food intake better
So, how much water do you actually need? While the eight glasses per day most experts recommend is a solid starting point, you’ll need to bump your intake up if you’re active or work in particularly hot environments. We recommend drinking at a minimum of half an ounce per pound of your body weight.
Lifestyle Change #3: Increased Physical Activity
By ‘physical activity’, we don’t just mean going to the gym. Simply moving more can have a massive impact on your health too.
Add quick five-minute walking breaks to your workday. Take the stairs more. Pick the farthest parking spot you can find. Ditch the shopping cart and carry baskets whenever you can. Find a sport you enjoy and play it frequently.
By being more active, you can:
- Fight off cravings
- Improve your concentration, decision-making, and visual learning
- Manage your weight better
- Improve your heart health
- Avoid the muscular imbalances and chronic aches caused by sitting all day
Of course, if you’re looking to take your fitness to the next level, you’ll need to follow a more structured training plan that’s designed to help you get the specific results you’re looking for. But just moving more every day is definitely a great first step.
Lifestyle Change #4: Get More Sleep
Know how restarting your computer from time to time keeps it running smoothly? That’s exactly what sleep does for your body.
When you sleep, you give your body time to not only destress and repair itself from damage but also strengthen its defenses against viruses. The result? You wake up happier, more focused, more energetic, and better equipped to fight off all sorts of infection – something needed now more than ever.
But that’s not all that sufficient shut-eye can do for you. It’ll also:
- Keep your skin radiant and younger-looking
- Help you regulate your hunger and cravings better
- Minimize fat gain
- Keep your heart healthy
- Keep your blood sugar levels stable
- Improve your cognitive functions
And if you regularly engage in vigorous physical activities like resistance training or high-intensity, high-impact sports, getting enough sleep between sessions will also allow you to improve faster as well as perform better in the gym or on the court or field.
But what if I have trouble falling asleep at night?
Here are some things you can do to make falling asleep a bit easier:
- Stop using your computer or phone an hour before going to bed
- Use blue light filters on all your devices at night
- Turn the lights off (or leave only a super dim one on if you can’t sleep in total darkness)
- Don’t engage in any mentally or physically exciting activities so close to bedtime
Lifestyle Change #5: Meditation
Chronic stress is more damaging to your body than you may think. It can cause a wide variety of conditions, such as heart disease, depression, hair loss, high blood pressure, and anxiety. And if you’re trying to lose weight, it can sabotage your progress too.
You see, when you’re stressed, your body starts releasing a hormone called cortisol, which is designed to give you the focus and energy boost you need to either get rid of or run away from the thing that’s stressing you out. Once the stressor is no more, your body returns to normal.
The problem is that these days, there are a variety of stressors plaguing us so our cortisol levels rarely ever go back to normal, which, in turn, is known to cause fat gain.
The solution? Meditate.
Let’s face it: it’s virtually impossible for you to completely eliminate stressors from your life. The only thing you can do is control how you respond to them, and meditation is a great way of learning how to do just that. It teaches you to stay centered no matter how crazy things get.
Getting Healthier is Easier Than You Think!
Contrary to popular belief, taking better care of your health doesn’t require you to completely change your lifestyle overnight. The key to long-term success is making many small changes—like the ones we’ve shown you today—and consistently taking small steps in the right direction over time.
Ready to get started on your lifestyle changes? Fill out the form below to schedule your free one-on-one today!