Healthy Lifestyle: Looking Past the Diet and Exercise

If you want to improve your lifestyle, you’ve probably already tried changing your eating habits (for the better) and exercise. However, you still may not feel fulfilled.. Why is that? Mental health is just as important as physical health. Oftentimes when you feel good first, looking good naturally follows.

First you need to find out what is truly standing in the way of your happiness. Is it a dead-end job, a sour relationship or the same monotonous routine? For some, this may be easy to pinpoint. For others, this may be a challenge. Don’t hesitate to ask a person close to you for his/her opinion.  

Now you assume I’m going to suggest that once you find the problem you have to change it. Not necessarily. Some large decisions could be in the way: your kids, your extended family, your situation. I totally get that. But there could be some other things you can change to make those tough times seem not so bad.

Plan a weekend getaway. This doesn’t have to be extravagant or far away; it could just be to a local hotel or to a woodsy cabin. But when you get out of your familiar environment, you can take time to breathe and get your thoughts off of the things that have been occupying your mind.

Try something you’ve never done before. Have you always wanted to go skydiving? Or maybe your adventure level is more along the lines of trying that new Thai restaurant. Do it! What’s holding you back besides yourself?

Take as much time for yourself as you give to others. This is a foreign concept for many people in today’s fast-paced world. Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert or somewhere in the middle, you need to take as much care of yourself as you take care of others. And you are the only one who can determine what that looks like.

Develop a life plan. Sometimes the thing that gets us down is that we don’t know where we’re going. Determine what you truly want to accomplish in life and work towards it.

Slowly but surely, your mental health will start improving. And once that happens, everything else will fall into place.  

Give Hiking Another Try

Hiking is great … the sun up above, the aroma of sweet flowers, the firm earth beneath you … until you start going. The sun gets hotter, the trail seems to go for miles and all of a sudden, hiking can be difficult. Hiking provides so many health benefits, as well as mental relaxation. So before you give up hiking for good, try some of these tips on your next adventure.

Take your dog along with you. They need exercise too and they keep great company!

Plan to a picnic stop along your route

Try easy paths, then work your way up to the harder ones

Take a first-aid kit. There’s nothing worse than hiking, getting hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

Get the right shoes first. They can make all the difference.

Train for it. Hiking seems easy but it takes a lot of power!

Bring the right snacks. Think protein.

Sunscreen. You often think about it when going to the beach but not when hiking. Take the time to protect your skin.

Make it a goal to go to all the major parks in Indiana.

Hiking may be difficult at first, as with any physical activity but with the right gear and training – you will have a great time!

Eating Healthy While on a Budget

Many people think eating healthy is sticking and that it won’t fit within their budget. Well, I’m here to bust this myth. It’s definitely possible to be budget conscience and find food that will fit your diet.

Have you started with the source aka where you shop? A vegetable is a vegetable whether you shop at Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Kroger, Aldi or the farmer’s market. You don’t have to go to the high-end stores to buy your veggies. Compare prices online or from advertisements and go to the store that offers them the cheapest.

Or better yet, grow your own veggies! This could be a fun stress-relieving project for you, a teaching moment with your kids or a new adventure with your spouse. If you provide your veggies with the correct environment, you’ll have more fresh food than you know what to do with (which is where freezing and canning come into play).

Fresh berries can get expensive, especially out of season. Instead of buying fresh and then throwing out the rotten ones (which is like throwing your dollars straight in the trash), buy frozen berries. They are just as nutritious and last much longer.

Vegetable chips may be delicious but are more expensive AND way more calories than making your own. Grab some kale, slice it up, add some sea salt and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. At only 50 calories per cup, you’ll love how they treat your wallet and your waistline.

Instead of paying a lot to get fresh fish, try going back to canned tuna. You still get your omega-3s, it’s friendly on your budget and they make convenient lunches.

By combining these tips in addition to being proactive with your budget and grocery list, you will quickly find that eating healthy and saving money go hand in hand.

Four Weight Loss Myths Revealed

Single food diets really work.

Companies love to hype up juice diets and weight loss programs that force you to eat only one food or one type of food for a certain amount of time. Truthfully, most of these regimens, especially if they are exaggerated or not completed correctly, can actually end up being less healthy for you than your original eating pattern. The majority of these diets are based on the assumption or belief that your body can’t handle taking in multiple types of nutrients or foods, leading to digestive complications and weight gain. However, the opposite is actually true. There are very few foods that only contain one type of nutrient, so finding foods that consist of, for example, only carbohydrates or only proteins, would be virtually impossible in the first place. Not to mention, your body was designed to take in multiple nutrients at a time and to use those nutrients in conjunction with each other to keep your body functioning properly. Eating foods that help you achieve a balance of each of the five nutrients — carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals is the key to a healthy diet.

 

Fast weight loss is the best weight loss.

Programs that promise intense weight loss in short amounts of time are often leading you astray in your quest to lose those extra pounds. Although it is extremely tempting to adopt regimens that give you fast results with minimal effort, keep in mind it is almost always unhealthy to rapidly lose weight and that these methods are frequently unreliable. The only exception to this rule is a process of rapid weight loss that is prescribed by doctors to patients whose weight is causing them serious health problems and even then, these diets are closely supervised by medical professionals and the weight lost is often difficult to keep off. Losing weight quickly can often cause you to lose water weight or muscle as opposed to burning fat because it is difficult to burn fat in short amounts of time. Adopting a weight loss regimen that gives you a goal of 1-2 pounds lost per week is a realistic and healthy method to losing weight and developing habits that will keep the weight off for the rest of your life.

 

You should never eat fast food or “junk food.”

It is true that fast food is unhealthy overall – there is no disputing that. However, you don’t have to completely stop eating McDonald’s or Taco Bell just because you’re trying to lose weight. Eating well can be hard at first but it doesn’t have to be completely devoid of enjoyment. Now, if you previously ate a Big Mac during every lunch break or stopped to get a Cheesy Gordita Crunch daily, those habits need to be broken. But getting the occasional order of fries, isn’t going to break your healthy lifestyle. It’s only going to satisfy your craving and make it easier to stay faithful to your regimen later. Control your portion sizes and the frequency with which you eat unhealthy foods and you’ll find yourself enjoying your new healthy lifestyle while still reaching your weight loss goals.  

 

Watching what you eat is enough – exercise isn’t necessary.

We know — It’s hard to find time to get to the gym and it’s harder still to find the motivation to push yourself through a hard workout once you get there. While you will most likely drop pounds through healthy eating, you’ll miss out on a lot of health benefits if you don’t combine your smart food choices with exercise. Exercising helps you keep the weight that you lose from coming back, plus it improves mood, helps with sleep and can aid in disease prevention. It is recommended that you participate in 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise most or all days of the week. Thirty minutes daily helps with disease prevention. Sixty minutes daily helps with weight maintenance. Ninety minutes daily can take care of both, plus it’ll burn more fat and helps you lose even more weight. Developing a regular exercise schedule can also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and build healthy bones, muscles, and joints. Studies show those who were active when they were younger and stayed active throughout their lifetime developed fewer health problems and lived longer than those who were sedentary most of their lives. If you really hate traditional methods of exercise, find ways to get your daily dose that are enjoyable to you.

Dieting is a Mindset

When many people think of dieting, negative thoughts come to mind. It means giving up your favorite foods for a certain period of time … but it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of thinking “diet,” think “lifestyle.” Consider: What do you want to do to improve your lifestyle?

A good way to go about this is gradually. It’s tough on your mind and your body when you completely uproot the lifestyle you’ve been grounded in. A good first thing to try is portion control. If you go out to eat, cut your burger in half first thing so that you know how much to allot yourself to eat. Take the leftover home for lunch tomorrow at work! If the cookies in the cookie jar are calling your name, limit yourself to one a day. Rejoice in the fact that you have self-control to only have one cookie instead of the whole jar. Oftentimes, we think that our minds are in control of our body but in reality, our stomach controls our body. By starting off limiting portion sizes, it will become easier to gauge when you’re actually full and will feel satisfied.

Along with portion sizes, cut out certain foods gradually. If you’re like me and LOVE grains, start out limiting your intake. Carbs can often leave you feeling hungry, which causes more weight gain from not feeling satisfied. Only have pasta once a week for dinner. Try mixing some greens in with your sandwiches. In time, you’ll be able to successfully limit your intake and will feel fuller longer.

Start changing your mindset from “I can’t do this” to “If I do this, I’ll be healthier.” We all want to live a long healthy life, but that’s easier said than done. If you start with your biggest weakness (your mind & thoughts), you’ll slowly begin to realize that this maybe isn’t as tough as you thought it would be.

Moral of the story: this process takes time. Be patient and be kind to yourself. You can do it!

50 Things To Do Besides Eat

Often we eat because we’re bored, lonely or sad. Instead of eating to deal with these emotions, try one of these 50 activities.

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Yoga
  3. Read a book
  4. Do a puzzle
  5. Go to the library
  6. Plant a garden
  7. Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  8. Color
  9. Reorganize your linen closet
  10. Call up a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
  11. Try on some new clothes
  12. Plan a vacation
  13. Balance your checkbook
  14. Clean out your junk drawer
  15. Make a memoir
  16. Discover a new route to take
  17. Count your blessings
  18. Ride a bike
  19. Plan a birthday party
  20. Send a card to a friend
  21. Plan a date night
  22. Stretch
  23. Do that thing you’ve been putting off
  24. Get your hair cut
  25. Get a massage
  26. Give a massage
  27. Check your social media pages
  28. Rework your resume
  29. Sign up for a local fitness class
  30. Check in on your neighbors
  31. Write an appreciation note to someone special
  32. Sleep
  33. Write down memories from your childhood
  34. Organize your photos
  35. Get crafty!
  36. Learn an instrument
  37. Wash your car
  38. Chew some gum
  39. Soak in the tub
  40. Start planning your holiday shopping list
  41. Play cards
  42. Set up your future goal list
  43. Learn a new game
  44. Play with a dog or cat
  45. Plan out future meals
  46. Practice karate
  47. Learn how to woodwork
  48. Watch a comedy show
  49. Drink water
  50. Do some sit-ups