Living a healthy lifestyle is often not as hard as we make it out to be. We all know what to do, but just can’t seem to bring ourselves to do it consistently. Instead of engaging in the activities that will ensure our health, which ensures our quality of life, we prefer to medicate or ignore. Bad habits and healthy habits have one thing in common…they are both habits, and habits can be changed, eliminated, or created. Here are the 4 Healthy Habits We Love to Hate.
Habit #1: Drink! Water That Is
Many of the sodas and juices we drink several times a day can give us more calories than the food we eat. As an experiment, a young man eliminated the 5 – 6 sodas he drank daily from his diet, and within a month, he lost 15 pounds with no additional changes to this diet. While sodas and juices do contain some water, it contains far more sugar, syrup and chemical sweetners than what can be considered healthy. In fact, sometimes after drinking soda or juice, you are left even thirstier than before!
Water is necessary for healthy living. Our bodies are mostly water. Without enough water, we can become dehydrated which causes all sorts of problems, including headaches, loss of energy, and lack of full body function. Water doesn’t have the sweet taste of our manufactured drinks. However, it does have the distinction of being necessary for life, and for healthy living. Sugary drinks always taste good in the short term. Water is always the best choice for your health in the long term. When short term and long term goals conflict, always choose the long term. Water is your friend. Get rid of the imposters.
Habit #2: Sleep Until You Are Done
We are perpetually tired. Between stress and lack of sleep, we are falling asleep at red lights or while actively driving, we walk into walls, spill our drinks, make simple mistakes that often have big consequences, and we have close to no mental clarity. Sleep is our body’s method of rejuvenation, and allowing our minds the time it needs to organize our thoughts and memories for clarity and recall. We often think that sleeping less means we’ll get more done, but the opposite is actually true.
If you find yourself waking up tired and remaining tired all day, go to bed earlier. Record your favorite late night shows and watch them during your waking hours. Cut out some of your social networking time, internet surfing and game playing time, and your late night channel hopping. Instead, get to bed. Slow down your thinking by realizing that while in bed, you can’t do anything about the work you left at the job, the people that wronged you, or the thing you forgot to do today. Rest your mind and body. That is the only way to be fully prepared for what tomorrow will bring, and to accomplish your to do list completely. Don’t just sleep enough to function. Sleep enough to function well.
Habit #3: Move Your Body
Our ancestors had to exercise in order to eat, whether they had to hunt or grow their food. With the advent of the take out menu, many jobs that leave us sitting all day long, and mind sucking television shows, we just can’t seem to find time to exercise. If we aren’t burning more calories than we eat, we gain weight, which can lead to one of many health issues later down the line.
If you are a “go to the gym” type of person, find a way to fit it into your schedule and then stick with it. Identify a work out buddy that can help keep you motivated and have fun. If you are more of a game person, pick a sport that you love and play it several times a week. If you are a studio person, aerobics, yoga, and martial arts are all great ways to get moving. Movement is the energy of living. Lack of motion is the energy of life ending.
Habit #4: Eat to Live, Don’t Live to Eat
We all know we need to eat fresh, vibrant, nutritious foods. Yet, we settle for fake foods, or foods with so much sugar or preservatives that it no longer resembles what it was intended to be. The problem is speed, a sweet tooth, and the need to pacify.
We have become so busy in our lives that we rush, even when we don’t need to. Rather than taking the time to prepare a healthy meal and share it with our families, we buy something on the way home. If we do prepare foods at home, we microwave it, pull it out of a can, or fry it up. Instead, let’s slow down when it comes to our food. Meals with family should be about health…healthy foods, healthy family time together, and healthy conversation.
In addition to rushing, we love our sweets. Some of us are so conditioned to eat sweets that even when we know we no longer like them, we still have to have them. When you have a sweet tooth, choose yogurt or a citrus fruit. When you need a pick-me-up, choose nuts, carrot sticks, or another fruit or vegetable you enjoy. Let’s put down the candy and cakes and pick up something we’ll be proud to eat!