Make an appointment with your doctors. One key to improving your health and maintaining it is regular doctor visits. These health care professionals will help support your desire for a healthier life. They’ll also be able to tell you if you need to start or stop anything in order to have a healthier life.
Visit your primary care physician. Talk to him about your current health condition and if there is anything they’d recommend to help you live a healthier life.
Also visit your dentist. It’s typically recommended to go twice a year just for a check up. This is another important visit you shouldn’t overlook.
Visit any other doctors you may need. For example: OB/GYN, allergist or endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in hormones).
Take some measurements. There are a few ways to check on your health status without a doctor. Measuring your weight and overall size can give you some insight into whether or not your body is healthy as well.
Weigh yourself. Note your weight and compare it with national standards for ideal body weight. This will tell you if you’re close to a healthy weight or should consider weight loss.
Measure your waist circumference. Another way to interpret your weight and health is by measuring your waist circumference. A large waist may mean you have a high amount of visceral fat which could be dangerous to your health. Men should have a waist circumference less than 40″ and women should be less than 35″.
Also figure out your BMI with an online calculator. Again, this is just an additional method of letting you know whether or not you’re at a healthy weight.
If many of these measurements are too high and you feel you might be overweight or carrying too much weight, this can be a part of your life you work on so you can be healthier.
Start a journal. Keeping a journal is a great way to start your healthier life. You can take notes, write goals, track your goals and even keep a food journal. These items will help you figure out what you need to do and motivate you to meet those goals.
You might first want to start taking some notes on any information you get from your doctors or track your weight, BMI or waist circumference.
Also jot down notes about what goals you have and how you think you’re going to live a healthier life. It’ll take some brainstorming and thinking about all the different aspects of your life you want to change to be healthier.
Take notes on your food choices in your journal as well. Studies show that those who journal their food regularly stay on track with new diet patterns for longer.
Build a support group. A support group is a great part of a healthier lifestyle. They not only can provide support for your goals but also are a support to your mental and emotional well-being.
A big part of a healthier life that often gets overlooked is your mental and emotional health. A support group doesn’t have to just be there to cheer you on, but be a good friend.
Ask friends, family members or co-workers to join you on certain goals. Maybe others want to lose weight, eat healthier or exercise more.
Studies show that those people who have a support group are morel likely to meet their long-term goals.
Making Healthier Diet Choices
Write up a meal plan. When you’re trying to live a healthier life, your diet may be one thing you want to change. Writing up a new meal plan for yourself can help give you the guidelines you need to eat healthy all week long.
A meal plan is your blueprint for each meal, snack and beverage throughout the week.
This plan can also allow you to see and plan each of your choices. You can feel confident that what you’re eating each day meets your new healthier life.
To start your meal plan, get a pen and paper and write out each day of the week. Write down all your meals, snacks and drinks.
Writing a meal plan can also help you have a more organized grocery list.
Eat mindfully. Mindful eating is a way of eating that helps you bring more attention and focus to how you eat. Mindful eating is important to a healthier life as it helps you enjoy eating.
People who eat mindfully typically eat less, have an easier time losing weight and get more satisfaction out of their meals.
Eating mindfully involves a variety of things. To start, turn off all electronics (like your phone or TV) and remove any other distractions. You need to be able to fully focus on your meal.
When you’re eating pay attention to how your food looks, how it tastes, the textures and temperatures. Really concentrate on each bite.
Also take at least 20-30 minutes to eat your meal. When you take your time with your meal, you may end up eating less and enjoy your meal more.
Maintain a balanced diet. A well-balanced diet is the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Eating well is important to help you live a healthier life.
When you eat a well-balanced diet you’re able to consume all the recommended nutrients your body needs. Your less at risk for nutrient deficiencies and other side effects of a poor quality diet. You will feel and be healthier.
A well-balanced diet is one that includes all five food groups each day. In addition, its a diet that features a wide variety of food. Don’t eat the same few foods each day. This limits your ability to eat a wide variety of nutrients.
Pay attention to portion sizes. When you read the nutrition information and calorie count on food packaging, it is referring to one portion of that food item. But what is a single portion? You might eat an entire bag of chips thinking it only contains one portion, but in fact you’ve eaten three or four portions. Make sure you’re checking portion sizes and that you’re not eating more than you need to.
Remember that these measurements constitute a single portion: 3–4 oz of protein, 1/2 cup of grains, 1/2 cup of fruit or one small piece and 1 cup of vegetables/2 cups of leafy greens. These are serving sizes per meal.
If you go to a restaurant and the portion sizes are huge (as they often are), see if you can get half of your meal boxed up right away to take home. That way, you won’t be tempted to clean your plate, even if you’re full.
Drink more water. Make a conscious effort to drink more water. Being adequately hydrated is essential to living a healthier life.
When you’re dehydrated you may experience a variety of side effects that may not only affect your health, but how you’re feeling as well.
When you’re dehydrated you may have chronic headaches, fatigue and afternoon fogginess.
Aim for about eight to 13 glasses of clear, hydrating fluids each day. This amount will vary based upon your age, gender and activity level.
Drinks that can count towards water include: water, flavored waters, decaf coffee and decaf tea. Keep in mind that sports drinks often contain a lot of sugar, and should be diluted with water in a 1:1 ratio.
Limit alcohol. Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to weight gain or a weight stall and also have negative effects of your overall health.
Health professionals typically recommend that women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage daily and men consume no more than two alcoholic beverages daily.
Limit these even further than the recommendations to help support your desire to lose weight and be more slim. Alcohol provides only calories, no nutrition.
Typically one serving of alcohol is 4-oz of wine, 2-oz of liquor or one 12-oz beer.
Consider supplements. When your diet is limited — due to allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. — you may need to rely on a supplement to help you get enough vital nutrients for your body. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you need supplements and which ones might be right for you.
Supplements can interact negatively with other medications you might be taking, so be sure you talk to your doctor about side effects and possible interactions.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, which means if you take too much, you won’t just pee out the excess, but it will stay in your body. This can be very dangerous, and therefore it is important you speak with your doctor about how much you should take. Never exceed the recommended amounts.
You may want to consider taking calcium (especially for women), iron (for women who have a heavy period), or B12 (for those who are vegan or vegetarian).
Remember, vitamins are there as a back up. They shouldn’t be used to in place of foods. You should always aim to get as much of your nutrition from foods as possible.
Boost your serotonin levels naturally. Serotonin (“the happiness hormone”) regulates mood, sleep, memory, and appetite. You can increase the serotonin levels in your brain by eating vegetables and seeds with a high tryptophan to protein ratio. This is because serotonin is synthesized by tryptophan, an essential amino acid that comes from protein in food.[
Tryptophan cannot cross the blood-brain-barrier when there is too much LNAA in your blood plasma.
The carbohydrates in seeds (and vegetables) cause an insulin-mediated reduction of LNAA in your blood plasma, such that more tryptophan can enter the brain where it will produce more serotonin.
The best ingredients are seeds like sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, butternut squash seeds. But don’t roast them, because this lowers their effect.
Tryptophan-rich animal products (like chicken, milk, and cheese) will not increase the serotonin levels in your brain. If any, they will have an adverse effect. This is because the carbohydrates in animal products don’t lower the LNAA levels in your blood plasma.
Fitting in Physical Activity
Make exercise fun. Physical activity is an important component of a healthier lifestyle. However, if you do not enjoy the type of exercise you do this can work against your goal of living a healthier life.
Find an exercise routine that you truly enjoy. This will also help support your mental and emotional health. Exercise should feel rejuvenating and enjoyable.
Make a work out mix that you listen to only when you are working out. Every time you switch on the mix your body will get into the pattern of knowing it’s time to work out!
Find exercises you enjoy: walking, cycling, yoga, Zumba, ballet — just make sure you are exercising consistently. Peruse your local free library for any workout DVDs or reading material. There is a plethora of information on the internet.
Find a buddy to workout with. You can teach each other your favorite exercises, as well as motivate each other to go during a lazy spell. Also, there’s nothing wrong with a little competition!
Aim for 150 minutes of cardio each week. In general, health experts recommend you aim for about 150 minutes or 2 1/2 hours of moderate cardio each week.
When doing moderate-intensity cardio, you should be able to talk, but not, say, sing a song. You should break a sweat and your heart rate should be at 50 – 70% of your maximum heart rate.
When you include regular cardio, you will be making big strides towards living a healthier life. Exercise, especially cardiovascular activity, comes with a variety of health benefits including: improved mood, better sleep, decreased risk of chronic disease, weight control and improved blood pressure and glucose control.
If you want to see additional health benefits from your cardio exercises, aim for 300 minutes each week.
Include strength training. In addition to regular cardio exercises, its important to include adequate strength training.
Resistance training or strength training offers additional health benefits outside of the ones offered by cardio. Regular strength training can help build lean muscle mass and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Include 1–3 days of strength training each week. Aim for 20 minutes per session and include exercises that work all your major muscle groups.[
If you’re just starting out, skip the free weights and use machines at the gym. Make sure you ask a trainer to show you how to use them and how to maintain proper form.
Making Healthier Lifestyle Changes
Follow the 80/20 rule. If you’re aiming to live a healthier life, it’s not about avoiding every unhealthy food or working out everyday. It’s about moderation that works for you.
Many health professionals suggest a common rule known as the 80/20 rule. This means that 80% of the time you choose healthy activities or things that will promote a healthier life. 20% of the time you can choose something a little less healthy (like sleeping in instead of your morning workout or having an extra glass of wine).
When you first start on your goals towards living a healthier life, make sure to include treats and fun things that might not necessarily be considered “healthy.” These things will support your mental and emotional health.
Give up smoking. All health professionals will recommend the discontinuation of smoking or using other tobacco products. They have been linked to a variety of healthy problems and diseases.
Try to give up smoking as soon as possible. Giving up cold turkey is harder and may come with more side effects, but it’s the quickest way to discontinue damaging your body.
If you’re having trouble quitting, see your doctor for help. They might be able to prescribe you a medication or refer you to a smoking cessation program.
Manage stress. Stress is a hard to control emotion that can wreak havoc on your health. Low-grade chronic stress is very common and can inhibit your progress towards living a healthier life.
Stress can lead to a variety of health related side effects including: headache, depression, fatigue, raises your risk of a heart attack and type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, and reduced immunity.
Engage in other behaviors to help you calm down, release stress and anxiety. Try: meditation, yoga, light exercise, listening to music, talking to a friend or taking a hot shower or bath.
See a therapist. These health professionals will be able to give you direct guidance on how to better manage your stress, a hectic lifestyle and other life situations.
You may want to talk to your primary care doctor about a local therapist or someone they would recommend you to.
Seeing a therapist isn’t only reserved for those people dealing with a significant mental illness like depression. Many studies have shown that people of all ages and background can benefit from seeing a therapist or a life coach.
Get more sleep. Getting more sleep will help you feel more rested and ready to face the day in the morning. It gives your body more time to rejuvenate itself as well! This is when your body repairs itself on a cellular level.
It’s typically recommended to get between 7–9 hours of sleep each night.
To help you get a well-rested sleep, do not exercise right before bed, turn off all electronics, turn off all lights and things that make noise. This will help you get the best sleep.
Don’t ignore chronic sleep problems. If you can’t get enough sleep, aren’t sleeping well or do not feel well-rested, make an appointment with your doctor to see if they can help alleviate this problem.