From the moment you wake up to the minute you turn out the lights - and technology - there are simple and smart habits you can grab hold of every day in the quest for a healthier life, writes Emma Bangay.
Creating healthy habits can be a confusing prospect. What if I fail? What should I focus on? Where do I start? But as Dr. Cris Beer – author of 'Healthy Habits: 52 Ways To Better Health' – points out, the first step is simple; focus on the finer points rather than the big - intimidating - picture!
“The most important areas to work on when it comes to making healthy habits a part of our life are what I call 'The Five Rights',” she explains. “That is the Right Fluid, The Right Rest, The Right Food, The Right Activity and the Right Attitude."
Doing these five things will make a huge different to your health and well-being:
1. The Right Fluid
This refers to drinking enough water, “aiming for two-to-three litres per day," Dr. Beer suggests.
2. The Right Rest
The goal should be seven to nine hours of sleep each night, rather than just ‘some’ nights, she advises.
3. The Right Food
“Aim for 80 per cent of your diet to be made up of fresh foods that are not refined or processed and the rest of your diet made up of all the other stuff we like to eat/drink,” Dr. Beer says.
4. The Right Activity
Are you getting enough? “Aim for 30 minutes most days."
5. The Right Attitude
This refers to changing your perspective to be more positive and grateful. “This will help to reduce stress levels which causes a lot of ill health,” she explains. With the mind ready, the soul willing and the body, able, here are more healthy habit advice to adopt today!
6. Plot Your Exercise
“We generally overestimate how much exercise we do and underestimate how much we eat in a given day,” points out Dr. Beer, adding that planned exercise within the daily schedule ensures 24 hours doesn't disappear with exercising.
7. Plan Your Socialising
Planning the nights you 'eat out' or 'have a glass of wine' can also help map a healthier week. Although this is not always possible, keeping a note on what you eat and drink each week can help you to identify where you need to be more mindful and healthier with your intake.
8. Make A Move
Don’t rely on incidental or occupational activity as a way to keep fit. Make a focused move towards fitness and health with specific exercises and/or classes. Join a group training session, pop into a gym class or sign up for a yoga lesson. By being proactive - or committing to something - you have a greater motivation.
9. Don’t Graze
“Grazing throughout the day largely contributes to the overall energy intake in our food and can expand our waistlines insidiously,” warns Dr. Beer. So, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner and - if you do snack - ensure it is mindful.
10. Give Yourself Time
It generally takes 21 to 30 days to break a bad habit and form a new one, Dr. Beer points out. “Remember too that you can't just break a bad habit - you need to replace a bad habit with a healthier habit otherwise you will return to your bad habit.”
11. Do The Two Step
Realistically Dr. Beer recommends only trying to change two habits at a time. “Once you have mastered these you can move onto forming one or two additional new habits." More than this and you become quickly discouraged and overwhelmed, she cautions.
12. Start Early
When it comes to healthy habits, you can never start too early in the day. Kick off your fluid intake with a large glass of water when you wake up (a ritual of super-fit Cameron Diaz). Add some lemon to make it more palatable if you prefer a little zing of flavour, suggests Dr. Beer.
13. Turn Of Tech
“The last habit to practice at night is to switch off technology 30 minutes before bed. That way your sleep hormone melatonin does not become disrupted and allows you to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep.” It's also healthier to have a face-to-face conversation with a loved one rather than a Facebook exchange, or go and hug the kids and experience some human contact (the touch! the smell!) and boost those good health heart vibes before bed.
14. Lead By Example
Creating a healthier world could start with you, notes Dr. Beer. “We generally follow by example and so if we can be the positive influence in our world, hopefully, others will follow. As Gandhi once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."
Do you have any tips to share on becoming your healthiest self yet? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!