It’s easy to change to a healthy lifestyle, right?
Yes of course, but as with so many things in life, having the necessary information and know-how to get started is key to your success at not only sticking to the healthy life but enjoying it and reaping the many benefits that come along with it also.
The problem? Where do you go to get this crucial information? Often sensationalist media and food advertisers are our main source of information when it comes to our eating and lifestyle choices. But the issue here is that these sources are conflicting, ever changing and never clear cut – in short they are businesses who will say what they need to to get money out of you. They are not looking to make you feel better but are simply looking to get rich and often at the expense of your health.
Generally people wanting to make positive lifestyle changes will visit their GP with their questions, but whilst this is not a bad idea, a GP can’t necessarily assist you – after all they are specialists in diseases, not healthy lifestyles!
In fact if you want genuine, independent and personalised advise on where to start, you need to speak to a specialist and if that is where you are in your life right now then you have come to the right place.
So how does one change towards leading a healthier lifestyle?
See It As A Learning Curve
Rome wasn’t built in a day, we were not born walking and talking and it can take a lifetime of searching to find contentment. In other words: the important things take time.
We live our lives by learned behaviour – the old nature versus nurture question comes into play here, but since our eating and lifestyle habits are developed first at home with family, and then school with friends and teachers, how we are nurtured as a child certainly plays a big part in how we view health in our day to day lives as an adult.
If then, you have grown up being active and eating well then you will have the knowledge of what is right and wrong already in place and may have just fallen off the health bandwagon briefly. This is not surprising, nor is it rare in this day-and-age of pre-package convenience foods, sedentary jobs and endless TV.
If though you are coming at this from a previous lifestyle where dinner was take aways, exercise was a walk to the fridge and ‘down time’ was all the time, then attempting to go from zero to 100% health all at once is a surefire way to set yourself up for a fall.
We all have a choice to be healthy. Yes the preparation of healthy fresh food takes a little longer, and yes old daily lifestyle habits ‘diehard’, but these new habits, formed not through ingrained childhood nurturing but through your choice to be healthy can be formed more easily than you may think and will soon replace the old ones – and better yet they can change your entire life for good.
Why Change Now?
• To increase well-being and the chance of a happier, healthier and longer life
• To stop the feelings of ill health, stress, bloating and exhaustion to name just a few
• To help prevent diseases later on in life. (Note: many adults over 50 have chronic health problems which could have been avoided or lessened with a healthy lifestyle earlier in life).
• The sooner you start the sooner you can feel better and get your long term health back on track.
But remember, if you do too much too soon you risk falling back into old habits as your mind and body struggle to keep up with the new lifestyle changes. To start with, simply add new health habits to your life and allow the positive and negative to live alongside one another. So for example:
• If your guilty pleasure is a fry up, balance it out with some more greens for dinner and fruit for lunch.
• If you have a drink in the evening balance it out with a green smoothie in the morning.
• If you drink a lot of coffee then try adding herbal tea to your diet and start increasing the amount of it you drink in place of coffee each day.
• If you have to take the car to work then try going for a twenty minute walk at lunch time.
• If you hate the gym then try a fun dance or exercise class there instead, or else go for a run in the beautiful open air – it’s free! Even a quick jog or fast walk is better than nothing and will get you started on the right track.
Remember: the more new, fun and beneficial health habits you introduce, the less time and space you will have in your life for any old and outdated ones that no longer serve you (and probably never did!)
I’m Still Not Sure!
First of all, ditch the limiting belief that ‘Healthy’ means boring and ‘Unhealthy’ means delicious. Taste buds can soon be retrained and you’ll be surprised at the extra depth of flavours you can achieve with freshly made foods as opposed to our regular diet of salt and fat laden processed options.
Question: why do people on every continent like different foods or live different lifestyles?
Answer: Because that is how they have grown up to eat and live. You can now choose to make your life look how you want it – don’t follow the unhealthy, lazy, media-led lifestyles of the western world just because everyone else does. Still not sure? The rewards are quick and plentiful to help keep you on the straight and narrow. For example:
• You will notice a surge in energy
• You will look healthier and fresher
• You will feel better on the inside
• You will feel more positive
• You will be preventing or slowing down illness later in life straight away
Of course the speed and level of results depends on how many new, good habits you are adding to your life, (and how many bad ones you are throwing away), but anywhere between one and two weeks is usual to start seeing great results.