It’s quite a challenge to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle, especially if you’ve already developed some bad habits. However, you don’t have to do everything all at once. In fact, you might even find it easier to make the change and stay committed if you take small steps rather than huge leaps.
Here are a few small and relatively easy lifestyle changes that can lead to big results.
Sleep at the Same Time Each Night
Sleeping at the same time every day, including the weekends, will help you achieve a natural sleep schedule, which will then make it easier for you to achieve the requisite 7 to 9 hours of sleep for adults. If you keep on sleeping at different times each night, it can result in what is called the social jet lag phenomenon. Social jet lag is one of the biggest contributors to irregular circadian rhythms.
To help your body condition itself for sleep, avoid watching TV or using gadgets like a smartphone or tablet about an hour or so before going to bed. The light from these devices can interfere with your ability to actually “shut down” and sleep soundly. You should also avoid eating heavily about two hours before bed.
Cut Back on Added Sugars
Sugars found in vegetables and fruits are good for you, because these come packaged with fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients. Added sugars, on the other hand, are not quite as sweet for your health. Cutting back on added sugars will help lessen the effects of skin aging, reduce belly fat and the risk of related diseases, keep your heart healthy, and of course, make you lose weight faster.
If you are already eating or drinking low-sugar alternatives, you might want to consider going for completely unsweetened products for even more benefits. Just imagine: one cup of natural and unsweetened cashew milk is only 25 calories! Not only will you enjoy cashew’s various health benefits for fewer calories, you will also get to enjoy the full flavor. The same goes for 100 percent natural and unsweetened fruit juices.
Drink More Water
Staying hydrated is important to a lot of bodily functions, like flushing out toxins, regulating temperature, and keeping tissues healthy. Studies have also shown that drinking more water before meals helps with weight loss and weight management. Water also doesn’t have any added sugars, so you don’t have to worry about counting calories while staying hydrated.
Learn How to Cook
Not only will you save more money because you won’t be buying overpriced food, you will also have more control on both the ingredients and the serving portions. Some studies have also shown evidence that people who cook their own food also enjoy their meals more. Learning a new skill like cooking also gives your self-confidence a boost!
Go with Whole Grains
Whole grains like whole wheat, whole oats, and brown rice contain more nutrients and dietary fiber compared to refined grains. Dietary fiber has been scientifically proven to be helpful in promoting better digestive health, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar levels. A high-fiber diet also helps with weight loss, because high-fiber foods are more filling and yet have fewer calories for the same amount of low-fiber foods.
Make a Shopping List
Having a shopping list makes you less prone to wander off into the shelves and freezers that contain unhealthy snacks. A shopping list can also help you plan out a route in your favorite grocery store so you can sneak in a few minutes of exercise. Shopping on a full stomach may also help you avoid giving in to the temptation of buying snacks.
Take the Stairs
This is a health tip that bears repeating. If you don’t work on a ridiculously high floor, it’s better to take the stairs than the elevator. This is a cheap and easy way of burning calories and you can even tone your legs and thighs while you’re at it. To add even more steps into your daily routine, try getting off one bus or train stop early. Walking has been found to help strengthen bones and even reduce feelings of anxiety — what can be better than a physically and mentally beneficial activity, right?
Achieving your health goals doesn’t happen overnight. It comes as a result of your daily efforts and your dedication to the changes you have decided to make.
Good luck on your journey toward a healthier life!