In 2020 it’s easier than ever to fall victim to the notion that quick fixes, or magic ‘pills’, can help you reach your health goals faster and with less effort. An attractive proposition right? But, let’s be honest with one another, can true health really be achieved overnight? Unfortunately not! However, just because health doesn’t come easy is not to say it cannot be enjoyable. The trick is building a routine whereby healthy habits are an enjoyable and consistent part of your lifestyle. Here are my top tips to help you do exactly that:
- Daily exercise doesn’t have to be a chore – Find movement you enjoy and aim to do it every single day. Moving your body not only helps burn calories (a helpful tool for those wanting to lose weight as explained in other blogs) but results in the release of feel-good hormones (endorphins) that will keep you feeling more motivated and inspired to stay on track. Over time, do not be afraid to challenge yourself. Creating micro stress, by challenging your physical body & mind at the same time, will help you increase your exercise capacity over time.
- Don’t let a single meal or day throw you off track. We’ve all had that day or night whereby some less healthy habits may have snuck in and we felt like giving up. Was all of our previous hard work in the preceding days now all for nothing? While of course, it’s best not to have ‘blowouts’ sometimes we need to understand that such is life and being healthy is about consistency, rather than an “all or nothing” mentality. The key is understanding that your health, or bodyweight for that matter, isn’t based on a single meal or single night but how you lead your life over the long term. Essentially an average. Think of it this way. You have 365 days in a year. If 12 days a year (1 day per month) you are a little less healthy – indulge a little more and do less exercise – that’s 3.2% of the year. If we look at that with a glass half full mentality, that means 96.8% of your year you maintained healthy habits. With this in mind, if you have a bad day, the world, and your health journey is not over. Get back on track and work towards improving that average over time.
- Hold yourself accountable. I personally hold myself accountable for the way I live my life rather than relying on anyone else for this. So whilst I am a believer that Personal Trainers & Nutritionists or other health professionals can be important for certain individuals, the buck must always stop with YOU. You are your own master and you owe it to yourself to learn and implement. This is your life and your body. If you rely on someone else to hold you accountable, as soon as they are not there, you are more likely to skip a session or eat fast food. To build self-accountability you need to understand why you want to be healthy? For most people, this often needs to be much deeper than “to look or feel good.” What does health offer you? What does it enable you to do? For example: “I choose to adopt healthy lifestyle practices because it will allow me to live more high-quality years that I can spend with my parents, kids, and grandchildren.” Find something with deep meaning and use it as a reminder if you are ever tossing up between a healthy and less healthy decision.
- Surround yourself with healthy people. We really are a product of our environment. If you want to be healthy and all of your friends are reinforcing unhealthy habits you need to make the hard decision as to whether they are the best influences. Find a tribe of people who are leading a lifestyle that you want to live and you’re far more likely to stay on track. I get it, making new friends can be daunting. As can spending less time with your current friends. However, investing your time into building relationships with like-minded people is key to creating consistency in your health journey.
To round this one out I thought I would leave you with my personal health principles that I follow in my own life. Of course, this will look unique for everyone – there is no perfect formula!
- I aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s the average that matters.
- I drink 2-3 Litres of water a day. More if I am in a warmer climate or doing greater amounts of cardiovascular training.
- I do some form of training every single day. I prefer to have an hour for strength training but some days do not permit it. On these days I will do 30 minutes but work at a higher intensity with less rest between sets. I love weight training but don’t really love yoga. For that reason, I do not have a membership at a yoga studio. Find what you love to do and you’re more likely to do it regularly.
- Other incidental exercise includes swimming in the ocean, walking the dogs or going for quick jogs around the block (15-20 mins).
- If I know I am going to have a very indulgent social occasion I will consume fewer calories in the meals leading up and perhaps the meals the next day. That way I can enjoy the social occasion and do not have to worry about being in a huge calorie surplus. Again it’s about the average over time.
- I consume a plant-based diet that would consist of approximately 90% of calories from whole foods and 10% from more ‘cheeky’ plant-based foods (processed or slightly processed). I challenge myself to eat 40 unique plants across the week. This diversity of plants is incredible for the diversity of healthy bacteria in our gut who feed off of the soluble fibre and resistant starch – one of the major reasons we recommend ‘boosting’ some of your Eimele meals.
- I surround myself with people that also enjoy nourishing food, daily training and generally leading an active lifestyle.