Hi Curls!

As many of you and I am guilty of, we have the most unhealthy habits ever! We eat these fast foods that are full of calories. I am so guilty of drinking everything BUT water. I love my carbonated sodas and my juices, and I rarely drink water. Since I have always struggled with my weight going up and still continue to, I never exercise. At this point, I will just walk to and from class and that is enough exercise for me. If I go overboard, the little pounds that I do have will just disappear. Given my size (100 lbs and below) or maybe around that “model size” would need to exercise just 2-3 days a week. Regardless of your size, you need to get some type of movement going for your body, even if on those days you just work out for 10-30 mins.

Disclaimer: By all means, I am not a nutritionist or a physical trainer. I don’t have a degree in food nutrition, food science, or any other degree needed to become one. I simply do research so you guys don’t have to. If you aren’t sure about something, please consult your doctor first!

Here I will list some goals, I will start to try to get a start on a healthier lifestyle. I would love for you guys to try it or comment some things you think I would like to try that worked for you! Lets get started on this healthy journey together!

Step 1: How healthy are you now?
It is important that we evaluate where we stand with our health now, so we know where we need to start in our journey.

  • When was the last time, you walked into a doctor’s office?
    • Being in college, it is difficult to visit doctors in the area where I currently go to school. Especially if you are the type of person who doesn’t like trying different physicians; I particularly rather someone who knows my medical history to give me advice on my health. Although, it is important to do research and find a doctor that’s for you. Healthgrades.com is a great site to get research on doctors in your area. It gives reviews on doctors and gives them a “grade” based off those reviews. When you are satisfied with a doctor, make sure you get your routine blood tests. (A list of the blood tests can be found HERE.) These tests give you a good idea of your overall health and if any, issues you may have. You can start by doing this so you know how you can start your healthy journey. If issues are found in any of these tests, please consult your doctor on solutions to solve them NATURALLY before taking any prescribed medication. Prescribed medication often comes with harsh side effects, and we do not want any more problems on top of everything else. It is important for you to be aware and remain aware of your overall current health.
  • Evaluate how your body has been lately.
    • Have you noticed you don’t have as much energy as you use to? Did you stop being as physically active as you use to be? These are signs that you are out of shape. After you are aware of how healthy you are now, you can began to evaluate strategies to change your lifestyle. Start by recording all the foods that you eat throughout the day. This will make you aware of what foods you are putting into your body. By doing this, you can become guilty of those extra snacks you ate and cause you to eat less.

 

Step 2: Get rid of any BAD habits
Habits often are bad and unhealthy. Whether you are a smoker or just like to snack like I do, the habit needs to be broken in order to see a change in your health. Say BYE to the cigarettes, the snacks, and the sodas because those are no good for you!

Step 3: Move your body!
As I mentioned before, physical activity is very important. It has several benefits: better metabolism, stronger muscles, healthier bones, and more. Being active is just overall healthy and promotes a longer life span. It is tough sometimes to keep up with an exercise schedule, but make it fun for you! You can do this by thinking of things you would enjoy doing and invite some friends with you. After finding something you enjoy doing, keep track of your progress and give yourself a goal and treat yourself if you meet that goal. These things will keep you motivated and willingness to keep your exercise schedule going.

Step 4: Your Diet
Along with physical activity to promote a healthy lifestyle, you must have a healthy diet. Although sometimes healthier options may be more expensive, less convenient, and difficult to maintain, there are ways to make it easier for you. There are a few things you can do to change what you eat, how you eat, and when you eat.

  1. Instead of “I should” think of “I choose”
    • When you are beginning to start a healthier journey, you may tend to say “I should eat these fruits and vegetables.” Making it harder for you to actually eat what you need to eat. Instead of making it harder for yourself, think of “I choose to eat this or that.” You will more than likely act faster than if you say “I should”. It is a way of better thinking that goes into starting a healthier journey for yourself.
  2. Don’t make yourself feel guilty
    • After having a cheat snack or meal, you may feel guilty that you wasn’t suppose to eat that particular snack or meal. Making yourself feel guilty may cause you to make yourself feel bad and cause your old habits to resurface. Give yourself lead-way and room to make mess ups because everyone has a day when they cheat on their diet. When we exercise and meet a goal, we have a treat for ourselves for that. The same is for dieting. It is important to treat yourself and give some motivation to look forward to. This will allow room for cheat days and you can’t feel bad about that!
  3. Choosing a plan
    • Meal planning is a great way to remain consistent during a diet. If you cook on the weekend for the rest of the week, you cut down on days when you are indecisive on what to eat. This also allows little to no room for mess ups when you need something fast and quick. Start by grocery shopping for all possible healthy options to fill your pantry with.
  4. Slow down!
    • Sometimes when we are so hungry, we often eat our food so fast. This means our body takes in the food and digests it in a faster speed then it should causing you to get back hungry faster than normal. If you slow down and savor your food, your food digests slower and you stay full longer.

Step 5: Manage your stress
Stress is something that everyone deals with on a daily basis. It is sometimes even impossible to get rid of completely. There are some ways to reduce your stress levels as low as possible:

  • Routine Maintenance
    • Develop coping strategies to relieve that stress you’re having. Some methods are yoga, meditation, exercise, or even activities you enjoy to relax the mind.
  • Breakthrough Stress
    • Avoid stress situations is something that is obviously an option. If you are surrounded by stressful situations continuously, you will have health concerns. It is unhealthy to be constantly worrying, stressing, and in dramatic situations.

Step 6: How are you sleeping?
Getting a good nights rest is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As we get older and have busier lives, we often forget that sleep is just as important any other function like eating and drinking water. These are some things to avoid when trying to get a good nights rest:

  1. No electronics TWO hours before bedtime.
    • In today’s society, we often use our cell phones or even watch TV until we fall asleep. This can be a problem because the light from these devices can be disturbing to the stimulation of the chemicals in our brain that allows us to sleep, stay asleep, and get a good nights rest.
  2. No heavy exercising before bedtime
    • It is okay to do light stretching before bed, but breaking up a sweat will increase your body temperature making it harder to sleep.
  3. Take a hot bath
    • Although this will also increases your body temperature; when you get out the tub, your body temperature will fall which makes it easier to fall asleep. Taking baths also relaxes the mind and mental processes. If you are a shower person, try drinking a hot, decaffeinated drink, such as chamomile tea, may also help.
  4. Setup a sleep routine
    • If you’re like me, you may have those nights where you are up late and just can’t go to sleep because of that long nap you took earlier. I mostly take naps everyday, especially if it’s just a relaxing day. This is a problem if it occurs when those long naps run unto your actual nighttime sleep schedule. If you need your naps, make sure they don’t run longer than 30 minutes. Naps should be just for power ups not actual sleeping. To prevent this, schedule when you are going to nap and make sure it is enough time for when its time for you to be asleep that night. This will reduce the likelihood of you staying up late.
  5. Don’t use your weekends to catch up on sleep
    • One thing we often do is, try to use our weekend days for catching up on sleep. You want to make sure you don’t want to have to use those days to catch up. This throws off your sleeping schedule and you are back where you started. Try to adjust and go by a sleep schedule you can keep up with. If it’s too hard to follow by, you probably won’t keep by it.
  6. Chronic Sleep Issues
    • If you are aware or concerned of some sleeping issues you may have, it is VERY important that you get that issue looked at by a physician as soon as possible. Do not ignore the signs. Click Here for a list of chronic sleeping disorders and signs that are associated with them. Please take them seriously and consult your doctor if you see any of the signs.

Step 7: Improve your relationships
The people who you surround yourself around have a large effect on your life and health. If you have positive and motivating people around, you will more than likely be happier in life. Like mentioned before, you have to maintain low stress levels. Relationships can be a main source of high stress levels.

Step 8: Challenge your mind and yourself
Brain stimulation is important in keeping yourself on your toes. Get involved in your community and remain active in keeping your mind busy. There is no down-side to brain challenging activities, and who doesn’t like to be challenged!

While we start our healthy journey, I ask that you do research for yourself as well. It is important that you remain knowledgeable about everything that is going on around you.

Remember: I am not a physician, nutritionist, dietitian. I simply did research for my readers to help get started on a healthy journey!

If you try any of these methods, I would love to know about your experience down below.
And if you have any tips, don’t be afraid to comment below!
Thanks for reading Curls!

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/healthy-living-8-steps-to-take-today