One of the hardest things to do in life is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is rich and has a ton of time on their hands. If you are like me (working two jobs, desperately trying to make ends meet while living with my parents because I can’t afford my own place, and only having enough time for the basics of life) then you know that buying fresh produce on the regular and healthy options in general are a bit over budget, and finding time or motivation to exercise after a long day of work is incredibly difficult. American society hasn’t made the healthy lifestyle easy at all, but it is still doable and it is worth it.
Now, I have not mastered the healthy lifestyle by any means, and I do still drop by Burger King and Tim Hortons every once in a while for a convenient and time saving meal option, but since I decided to do something about my weight and health I have lost 7 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound very exciting, definitely when you learn that it took me 6 months to even get that far, but it takes time – a lot of time – to get into healthy habits and change your lifestyle, especially when you are on a budget and can’t afford a full sudden overhaul.
The biggest things you need to keep in mind about a healthy lifestyle, is that it’s much more than just exercising and watching what you eat. It’s also about being in a healthy mental state (stress and exhaustion affect your weight and health much more than you know) and about movement as well. When I say movement, I don’t mean 15 to 45 minutes of vigorous exercise. What I mean is choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, standing at your desk, pacing the office inbetween work loads, etc. Not only does this increase your basal metabolic rate, but also lowers stress levels, and can even make you more productive.
Something else to remember is that the scale isn’t the most reliable source for determining weight loss. Muscle weighs more than fat, and if you are exercising and strength training (as you should be to go along with any cardio, since its the best way to tone the muscles) it is likely that you have gained muscle weight. If you step on the scale and see the number go up and you swear you are doing everything right, that could be why. In this case, invest in a sewing tape measure. If waist, hip, and thigh (and whatever other part of your body you want to trim) inches are decreasing, then you are going in the right direction.
One more thing before I end this post. Crash diets don’t work. They might drop the weight quickly at first, but they don’t last. It sends your body into shock, causing the weight to come right back and more as soon as you are finished with the diet. They can also cause serious health issues if you aren’t careful. The best way to nutritionally lose weight is through slowly changing your daily diet for the better. This helps cut out cravings and keeps your body from going into dietary shock. Start by cutting back on the processed sugars, and introduce more fruits and veggies into your diet. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and many fish are better for you than red meats (only if they aren’t deep fried though; KFC is not going to get you healthy).
I know there is a lot more information out there for healthy living, and I will be writing more posts. I’m considering a post about my favorite health apps next. In the meantime, I hope this helps you on the start of your healthy living journey. Please remember, that I am not a health professional, and some of the things I say won’t work for you just because they worked for me, and any medical questions and concerns about healthy living should be addressed towards your doctor or nurse.
Forever and always,