Everyone wants to live a healthy lifestyle, but it seems like there’s no definitive consensus on how to achieve a lasting healthy diet or exercise routine. There are a number of things you can and should do to improve your mood and physical health, but many health guides promote overexertion or unrealistic benchmarks that are unlikely to be met, resulting in your abandonment of the task altogether.
The key to improving your health is not a fancy new eating or workout regimen, it’s finding the tools that work for you and fit within your constraints, and then sticking to them. Fortunately, there are a number of easy solutions that you can begin implementing today to improve yourself now. Don’t wait until the perfect time to begin working on yourself. That perfect time will never come if you keep waiting for it.
Often times, lifestyle tips include recommendations for exercising every day in order to maintain your health. This is not necessarily true though. Exercise certainly contributes positively to both a healthy body and mind, but overextending yourself can actually hinder your progress. When starting a new workout routine, we usually find hints or exercises online or through friends who already do them. But when we jump right into an exercise program, we aren’t giving our bodies time to adapt to a new set of stressors. If you tackle a full load of new weight training movements straight away (even at a lightweight), you are setting yourself up for failure. This is true for novice lifters, as well as those who are more experienced and are shifting focus to a new program that taxes other portions of the body’s muscle mass.
To put it in other words, an experienced guitar player cannot expect to pick up a left-handed model and play with the same finesse and skill that they have developed with a traditionally oriented axe. Sure, a professional guitarist knows where the notes fall, but the coordination to move in contradiction to what they know is nearly impossible without years of committed practice — there is only one Jimi Hendrix, and even he needed to work at it.
Step up your diet considerations
No one is immune to a little weight around our stomachs. It develops in even the most health-conscious of us, but it shouldn’t be cause for alarm, because that’s a surefire way to hurt yourself in the long run. Just like taking it slow with a new exercise plan is critical to physical fitness success, easing your way into an improved diet is essential to maintaining it.
Practicing your new eating strategy smarter, not harder, is the best way to improve your diet and by extension your mood. For instance, doing your homework about how foods affect people helps you keep away from snacks that are detrimental to your progress. Certain foods can cause a hormone imbalance, even ones that you eat every day assuming that they benefit you. Knowing what you put in your body and adjusting where you can to improve your diet in steps is the best way to cement good eating habits that will last for years to come. Try substituting a salad one day a week for the sandwich or burger you usually eat at lunchtime. After that becomes natural, gradually phase out fatty or carbohydrate-rich foods more and more each week or month. And if you crave a bar of chocolate, you won’t need to feel guilty when you indulge, because you stuck to a more balanced diet and can afford to reward your good habits with a little comfort.
Slow progress is key to improving your health. You need to ease into it in order to prevent backsliding. It may feel like you are moving too slowly or that you will never begin to feel better about your diet or weight. But relief is coming, and it feels all the more satisfying when you know that your healthier version is here to stay.