At Purity of Earth, we believe in incremental progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
When it comes to healthy living, this is very true. We have seen diets, fitness plans, healthy living and other self-improvement strategies start and fall flat quickly, mainly because they were too ambitious.
There is really no need to run out on 1 January and buy a full range of fitness equipment. Just focus on small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, and change gradually. Focus on making a few small changes to your lifestyle, and these changes may last you a lifetime. Which is better - a few moderate lifestyle changes which will last for the remainder of your life, or 3 weeks chugging along on a cross trainer?
And when these changes are bedded into your daily routine, then consider making a few more. Maybe in March or April!
Here are 7 easy steps that you can immediately integrate into your daily routine:
- Drink lots of water
Yes, you have heard it many times, but it is so true. Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Start by increasing your water intake.
The first and most important step is to drink water first thing in the morning. Try getting a “pint” glass (approx. 500ml) and drinking a pint and a half each morning with your daily vitamins, if you take them. Drink that before breakfast and before you eat anything. Otherwise it will not taste nice and you will be too full to drink it.
And drink it slowly, as some days that much water can hurt an empty stomach.
And also drink water before each meal. That will ensure you eat slightly less and always remain hydrated.
- Change your toast
Let’s face it, toast is a staple diet for many people. It tastes good and it fills a void. If toast is an essential part of your daily breakfast routine, then change the type of bread you use.
So instead of cutting it out completely and feeling empty for the morning, why not try a different type of bread!
Be wary of healthy looking bread or gluten free bread. Gluten free breads contain more ingredients such as vegetable gums to replicate the spongy softness of bread.
Most supermarkets now stock a range of healthy breads, including spelt bread or low GI breads. Try those and find one that you like. And then use it instead of the white or wholegrain bread you currently use.
- Set moderate exercise goals
This is one of the most common failures in a healthy living, diet or exercise programme. The goals are too ambitious and it is difficult to keep up. Avoid this and try setting a moderate exercise goal.
If you don’t do any exercise, then try walking or swimming. These are easy exercises and are great for general wellbeing. With walking, you get to inhale all that fresh air and get the wind on your face. And with swimming you have an unrivalled feeling of freedom and mobility.
So avoid signing up to a gym because the guy or gal looks good and convinces you. And then spending 30 minutes labouring on a treadmill or cross trainer. If that is your first exercise, then it has a good chance of failing.
If you already exercise, then step it up a bit. If you already walk a lot, then try running. If you already swim, then swim faster and try building some other exercises into your routine before you go swimming. Such as ab exercises or press-ups.
Consider also getting a basic fitness tracker to track your daily steps and calorie burn. This will show you how active your daily routine really is and will encourage you to become more active.
- Use coconut oil to cook
Why not change from unhealthy and greasy cooking oils and use natural coconut oil?
Coconut oil contains 50 percent "lauric acid", which can control high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The saturated fat in coconut oil, unlike other vegetable oils, is not harmful and won't increase your cholesterol levels. Cooking with coconut oil can benefit your digestive system as it contains saturated fats with anti-microbial properties, which can help eliminate bacteria and other causes of indigestion.
Again, most supermarkets now sell coconut oil and even organic or extra virgin coconut oil. While the tubs are a little expensive, they last for weeks if not months.
Whilst you will taste the coconut or a week or two, after that it taste will be non-existent and will allow you to fry again, without feeling so guilty!
- Read the labels
Get into the habit of reading labels before you buy an item of food. You will be amazed at what you see!
Pay attention to the calories per serving and how many servings you’re really consuming if you eat the whole package. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients.
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less.
And remember, the labels can often trick you. The labels often refer to a serving, which can be very low. Or half or even one third. So while the %s might be good, they really are not.
- Avoid negativity
Positive mental health is an essential part of a healthy life. Your frame of mind will dictate a lot of decisions you make throughout the day. If you are annoyed, you are more likely to reach for a biscuit or comfort food. You are more likely to ignore the labels on the food you are buying, as you want to just get it done. Your sleep may be affected. Negative feelings impact on all aspects of healthy living.
The first step is that you don’t need negative people in your life! Think about the people you interact with on a regular basis. Consider you actually need to interact with these people. If they are not essential contacts, then consider avoiding them. If people give rise to negative feelings within you, then consider how you can avoid these people or situations that lead to negative feelings.
- Go to bed earlier
The expression “early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise” is immortal. Or at least it should be.
Try to get some more sleep, as it can do wonders for your general health and outlook. It gives you energy and vitality which can help you achieve your general professional goals. Try reading a book, which can do wonders for helping you sleep after a hard day. And then get up early feeling refreshed and ready to start with a lot of water.
And when you wake up after that great night’s sleep, go back to 1 above and start again. And again!