As the New Year beings, we all have a vision of us being our best selves and want to know how to be healthy, but at times it can seem like an unattainable goal. Where do you even start? Do you need to overhaul your entire life in one shot? The answer, happily is no. When it comes to adopting new healthy habits and making them stick, there are lots of little things you can do that will make a big difference in the long run, without driving you insane. Instead of trying to upgrade your health with a huge makeover, start with these five small, practically painless tips for long-lasting results.
Put your food away when you’re done serving yourself
When preparing your meals, put your serving of food on a plate and put away the rest. It’s human nature to eat more if the food is sitting right there within reach. You can of course always make an additional portion if you are truly hungry, but you want to always make sure you are only putting more food on your plate because you are actually hungry and not because it’s just conveniently in front of you.
Drink a glass of water before each meal
Drinking the amount of water you need each day is necessary for all of your body’s systems to function smoothly, but it will also keep you from overeating due to hunger, making it easier to take a more mindful approach to your meals. As you are in the kitchen preparing your meal, start your meal out with an appetizer of a glass of water. You’ll find you not only eat less overall, but find your meal that much more satisfying.
Chew each bite thoroughly before swallowing
Powering through your plate and not chewing can lead to bloating because of the extra air you’re swallowing. The result is feeling way too full because you didn’t give your body a chance to process the food before you polish off your plate. You completely miss out on the taste of the food and how good it actually was. If you are unsatisfied with the meal you just ate, even if you feel full, you are likely to seek out more food to eat.
To combat this, chew slowly and completely. Enjoy the taste of each bit and swallow naturally and slowly, avoiding gulping down your meals.
For Every Hour You Sit, Walk for Five Minutes
Sitting all day isn’t good for you. It’s bad for your metabolism and it’s bad for your heart. Physical activity is extremely important for your longevity. Having a busy work and home life can sometimes make it feel impossible to fit it in, but peppering movement throughout your day is much more doable.
Many smartwatches and smartphones have apps built into them to remind you to get up every hour and get a little movement. Taking that break is not only important for your health, but also great to clear your mind and give you a “reset,” making you more effective when you sit back down to pick up where you left off with your work.
If You Hate a Particular Type of Exercise, Find Something Else
The key to being consistently healthy is picking an exercise activity you’ll actually enjoy enough to continue doing. The types of exercise that make your soul want to die but has the maximum immediate caloric payoff will not help you in the long run.
This kind of approach helps you get honest with yourself about where your motivation comes from. Getting to the bottom of this is key when trying to cement any sort of habit, especially physical ones like exercising. It’s much harder to stick with despised activities than pleasant ones.