5 Healthy Habits to Start Today
Weight loss may be the sexiest health benefit promoted in the media, but it is overall health that will give you quality and potentially more years to your life. There are many factors which are linked to overall health. Below are 5 which can help in keeping you healthy for life.
- Exercise for More Than Weight Loss
Alongside nutrition, exercise is often heavily pushed by the media as simply a tool for weight loss. Unfortunately, you cannot outrun a poor diet and research suggests that exercise is best used as a strategy to maintain a healthy weight.
There are many other reasons to exercise such as improvements in blood sugars, organ health, mental health, better sleep quality, reduced risk of some cancers and release of protective chemicals in your brain which help your brain work better and stay healthy. Find your reasons beyond weight loss which make you want to move; this will help you keep moving for life.
- Eat Mostly Wholefoods
Rather than thinking of foods as 'bad' or 'good' foods, think of them as 'sometimes foods', or 'foods which make up most of your diet'. The foods which make up most of your diet over a week should be whole foods. This includes lean meats or alternatives like nuts, seeds, eggs and tofu, fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains. To give you an example whole grains include quinoa, brown, black or red rice, whole grain pasta and couscous and Corn Thins™ Original or RICE THINS™ Wholegrain cakes.
If you have a special treat food or enjoy a glass of wine (sometimes foods), you enjoy you should still enjoy this, but stick to a smaller portion or standard alcohol drink size and limit to once or twice a week. Savour the experience rather than eating mindlessly or drinking and take the time to appreciate each bite or sip.
- Plan your meals
Food prep is not just for bodybuilders and allows you to take control of your health and decide what you want to eat. This means setting a time once or twice a week to prepare meals and snacks in advance. For food safety 3 days can be stored in the fridge and the rest should be put into the freezer. When you go shopping make a list before you go of the types of foods you need to make up a balanced meal. Remember it does not need to be hard so an example could be:
- 3 Corn Thins™ Original or RICE THINS™ Wholegrain cakes with 2 tablespoons of 100% peanut butter and a banana sliced on top. The banana can be sliced just before eating and the peanut butter can be spooned into a small container for transport. The Corn Thins™ Original or RICE THINS™ Wholegrain cakes are already in an easy to carry bag or you can separate 3 into a small zip lock bag for freshness.
- ½ cup of whole grain rice (you can buy ½ cup already cooked and simply microwave before eating from the long-life section of your supermarket) with 1 cup of pre cut frozen vegetables and a tin of tuna or salmon in Springwater. Option to add your favourite herbs and spices for additional flavour.
- A rice cracker pizza using 2 Corn Thins™ Original or RICE THINS™ Wholegrain cakes, a small tomato pasta, 40g of shredded cheese with ½ cup of your favourite vegetables to top.
- Make a salad and side with some RICE THINS™ Wholegrain cakes. Remember for a meal to be complete it cannot just be lettuce and tomato but needs a lean protein and whole grain. So, in your salad try adding some cheese, turkey or chicken breast or some legumes.
- Priorities Sleep
Research shows that getting less than 6 hours a night is almost the same as giving your body no sleep at all! Having inadequate sleep is linked to poor health outcomes like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and poorer immunity. Aim for at least 8 hours a night. Some good strategies to try including:
- Switch off from technology at least 2 hours before bed. The blue light from screen can disrupt your sleep hormone melatonin and make it hard to fall asleep.
- Try not to eat your last meal around the same time as when you switch off from technology. It can be difficult to fall asleep on a full stomach to make sure you give yourself enough time to digest your food properly before heading to bed.
- Mind the alcohol. Alcohol can make you feel dozy, but it does not help your body’s quality of sleep. Stick to drinking 1-2 glasses 1-2 times a week at most.
- Stick to a routine. Routine helps sleep, aim to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day to assist your body clock.
- Create an environment which makes you want to sleep. Whatever this is to you, create your best sleep space.
- Remember your friends
Social health and community are vital for mental health. Make time to include social activities each day. Research shows that you need roughly 2 hours of human contact a day to support your health. Eating is a great time to connect and the kitchen table has been replaced by many for the tv couch. Try to make the time to connect with your family or partner at dinner or breakfast or both!
Take home message: Health may not be as sexy as weight loss but without quality of life through health what is the point in being skinny?