How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle:
The Definitive Guide
The first step towards healthy living is perhaps the most difficult one…
Realizing that you need to change your current habits.
But you know what?
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve already taken that first step.
You’re ready to take action and feel better than ever.
You may have a lot of questions on how to start a healthy lifestyle, but don’t stress out.
This comprehensive guide will show you my top secrets to help you enjoy the benefits of healthy living starting today.
Let’s dive right in…
The Surprising Truth Everybody Needs to Know
About a Balanced Diet
Good eating habits don’t happen overnight.
You cannot force them or make drastic changes to your current routine.
The progression has to be done step by step.
That in turn makes the whole process more stress-free, which is very important because we are all exposed to countless stressors on a daily basis.
Let’s break down that concept into smaller bits to make it easier to understand:
Ok, first thing first…
Your diet must include good fats.
The kind of fats that you find in avocado, whole eggs, dark chocolate < another reason to eat it >, nuts, chia seeds, and salmon.
There is a reason why I mentioned fats in the first place.
Well, let me tell you something loud and clear:
That’s not right!
Your body needs a certain number of each macronutrient to function properly.
In fact, fats help your body absorb several vitamins such as A and D, to sustain a normal core body temperature as well as to provide energy.
Trans fats, though, are way different.
They can be really detrimental to your body if you eat them on a regular basis.
You will find them mostly in deep fried food and some other baked goods.
That said, here’s a handy list showing the biggest food culprits of trans fats…
But let’s make something clear:
I’m not saying that you can’t eat this kind of food.
It’s worth noting that restrictions only make the change process harder.
My advice here is that you should be mindful when choosing your fat sources. Pay special attention to trans fats and include good fats in your meal plan.
THE WELL-KNOWN MYTH ABOUT CARBS
And the Best Way to Debunk it
Now, it’s time to talk about carbs.
I want to start highlighting something important:
Carbohydrates are required by your body (especially your brain) to function properly.
So, long story short… they’re not the enemy.
The key to controlling their intake is to know the exact number of carbs you should consume daily.
You might be wondering…
How can I know that number?
Well, the only way to know it is through a custom macros breakdown which is calculated by considering specific information about you.
The bottom line here and what I really want you to understand is that you don’t have to restrict your carbs to have that dream body you have always wanted.
You can look great and eat that piece of bread too!
Protein is what helps you repair body tissues and add lean muscle mass to your body.
Something very interesting about this macronutrient is that it contributes to a longer feeling of fullness.
That means it helps you reduce cravings!
BEST PROTEIN SOURCES:
Now that you have the knowledge to improve your eating habits for good…
It’s time to move on to other lesser-known tips later in this post, that will show you the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Why Drinking Water is One the Fastest Ways
to Improve your Performance
Recent evidence has shown that a fluid loss of 2% of body weight can affect your circulatory functions and decrease your performance levels.
I know you might be thinking…
How can water affect my performance?
Here’s the deal:
Water has numerous roles in the human body.
It serves as a carrier for nutrients and waste products, it acts as the main thermoregulatory agent to control your body temperature, it takes part in the biochemical breakdown of what you eat (protein, fats, carbs) and the list goes on and on.
So when you’re dehydrated, your energy levels start decreasing, and your body starts shutting down.
Take a look at this chart:
Did you also know that the amount of water you should drink every day varies between 3 and 4 liters?
That depends on your sex, age, weight, and activity level.
burn more calories
Drinking the right amount of water will boost your metabolism and make you burn about 60 Kcal more a day
What’s the bottom line?
Make sure you drink plenty of water every day, and even more when you’re extra active.
That way, you’re keeping your performance on point.
4 Shortcuts to Avoid Unhealthy Habits
and Experience an Energy Boost
How to start a healthy lifestyle if you have unhealthy habits?
When talking about unhealthy habits, I’m not only referring to eating habits that can hurt your progress.
There are many different patterns in your life that may be holding you back—especially the 3rd one on this list—but first…
Let’s talk a little bit about them…
THE SIMPLE PRINCIPLES
Behind a Good Night’s Sleep
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a good night’s rest. Yes, at “night.”
Now, you may be probably thinking:
Why does it have to be at night?
When you’re sleeping–not napping–your body’s cells produce and store many proteins that help renew all your systems.
While sleeping, many of your brain’s chemicals that affect your mood and performance are restored.
Talking about chemicals…
Norepinephrine is another important brain chemical released during your sleep. This one is directly linked to your heart rate, blood pressure, stress response, and metabolism.
Recent studies by the University of Chicago shown that people who are well rested lose 56% more fat than those who are sleep deprived.
So next time you’re thinking about going to bed late, I suggest that you remember the many benefits that a good night’s sleep can bring you.
BENEFITS OF A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP:
THE ZEN OF STRESS MANAGEMENT
This point can be controversial because it’s kind of difficult to control the different situations that occur around you.
What you can and should do is to control the way you react to those situations.
I know it’s easier said than done, but with practice, you will be able to master stress management skills and successfully reduce your stress levels.
Here are some tips to get you started:
TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE STRESS MANAGEMENT:
Ok, we just talked about the different ways to manage your stress, so let’s now move on to the detrimental effects that this bad boy can have in your life.
First, stress can negatively impact your cardiovascular health and your weight loss process.
Not very nice, huh?
When you feel stressed, your brain releases a flood of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
If those hormones become your best friends and they’re part of your daily routine, they can lead to serious health problems such as memory loss, higher risk of heart attack, and development of depression.
You don’t want that, do you?
So, if you want even more reasons to keep stress under control, remember that the list of negative effects on your body caused by high levels of stress goes on and on.
Those include anxiety, high blood pressure, appetite increase, weight problems, skin conditions… should I continue?
ARE YOU SAFE FROM
I’m not saying that you can’t snack! Of course you can do it, but in a controlled manner.
One of the biggest problems I see all the time when people come to me for macros consultations is that they snack too many times per day.
To avoid that, plan your meals in advance and pack your snacks for the day.
That way you’ll avoid eating unhealthy options that will add only empty calories to your diet.
At this point, you might be wondering:
What are the best snack options?
There are plenty of good options out there; you just need to pick them wisely.
HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES:
I’m not going to overcomplicate things here, just pick something you and your taste buds like. Just make sure to first check the nutrition facts. Quality over quantity!
HOW SKIPPING YOUR BREAKFAST
Will Mess Up Your Progress
Skipping breakfast is a common mistake that many people do without realizing that this meal is key to reducing cravings.
Skipping this meal affects your mood, energy levels, and can even make you gain weight.
When you’re nurturing your body first thing in the morning, you are waking up your dormant metabolism to start burning calories once again.
So, if you’re one of those people that can’t eat a complete meal in the morning, then keep things simple… Have a bowl of oats or a sandwich.
Something as easy as that can make a huge difference in the outcome of your day and your overall progress.
Do you want to know the secret to starting your day full of energy?
Well, having breakfast is the answer!
It will help you kick start your day-to-day journey the right way.
Learn to Improve Your Quality of Life
by Adding Physical Activity to Your Days
Can you imagine completely improving your quality of life just by adding an effective workout plan to your days?
It has been proven that doing 30 minutes of exercise a day improves your self-esteem, reduces your stress, sharpens your memory, and lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease.
I think those are pretty good reasons to start exercising today, don’t you think?
I can’t stress enough the importance of staying active and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, having a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of high rates of obesity in kids and teenagers.
So, if you’re really serious about the idea of healthy living, regular exercising should be at the top of your to-do list.
There are a lot of reasons that can be attributed to this problem.
But the most relevant and the one with the highest incidence is the lack of physical activity.
A recent study by researchers from Stanford University’s School of Medicine showed that the number of women reporting no physical activity rose from 19% to 52% between 1988 and 2010.
For men, the same issue was observed, but in this case the rate jumped from 11% to 43%.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TRENDS IN AMERICA
INACTIVE OR SEDENTARY:
Women = 19%
Men = 11%
Women = 52%
Men = 43%
But obesity is not the only health issue that can benefit from regular exercise.
There are many other health problems that can be addressed and/or controlled when people start practicing a more active lifestyle.
Amazing, don’t you think?
Now that you have seen some of the problems of not having regular physical activity, let’s talk about the incredible benefits of daily exercise.
As you may have thought, the exercise benefits are endless, and they range from increased relaxation and better sleep to healthier skin and stronger bones.
There are literally hundreds of benefits from regular exercise, but to make things simpler, here are some of my faves:
All right, you now know the pros and cons, but there’s one missing part of the puzzle.
How can I become more active?
Here’s the deal:
Including some kind of physical activity in your day-to-day routine is not a difficult task.
You can include anything from walking, jogging or hiking to yoga, pilates, cycling, and weightlifting.
There’s only one thing you will need to consider…
Otherwise, you can put yourself at risk if you are not used to getting much physical activity and then suddenly, you start doing 500 squats.
How to Take Charge
of Your Rest Days
This is a very important part of having a healthy lifestyle.
But let me explain something to you real quick.
When I talk about rest, I’m not only referring to a good night’s sleep.
Rest in my opinion entails so much more.
My recommendation is that you choose an activity that you really enjoy doing and include that activity in your rest days no matter what.
What’s the point you may ask?
Doing an activity that you love will help you release the stress of the week and will give you a new perspective of the things that are bothering you.
So, it’s like a fresh start for the next day.
Your brain and creativity will be able to work at maximum capacity, and your mood will improve greatly.
But wait, what happens if I already practice a healthy lifestyle?
What’s the importance of rest days for those people that do regular physical activity?
Well, if you’re into the fitness life already, your body–especially your muscles–will be craving for a rest day.
In that case, a proper recovery session should last 48 hours.
This period is crucial because it will give your muscles the time necessary for recovering, strengthening, and growing.
Yep, you read that right!
Rest periods are also important because they reduce muscle soreness and prevent injuries.
That said, there’s one key lesson I want you to remember…
When you skip your rest days, the probabilities of having an injury increase considerably.
Because you wouldn’t be giving your muscles enough time to recover, or in more simple terms, this means you would be overtraining.
That brings us to another mini-chapter…
In simple words, overtraining occurs when the intensity and volume of the exercise exceed your recovery capacity which results in a performance decline.
Another way to see it is that you’re giving your body more work than it can handle.
Now let’s go even one step further…
Luckily, there are signals that can lead you to determine if you are suffering from overtraining syndrome.
Here are some of them:
SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING:
If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, you may be overdoing your training program.
That means you should reassess your priorities and rebuild your exercise routines or follow a structured and well-balanced workout program.
OK, we have covered almost everything with regards to rest days, yet one question remains unanswered…
SHOULD MY REST DAYS INCLUDE
Some Kind of Physical Activity?
Long story short, it’s entirely up to you.
You can opt in for either passive or active recovery.
Passive Recovery refers to not doing any kind of physical activity on your rest days.
While Active Recovery is about adding low-intensity activities to your rest days such as swimming, self-myofascial release (foam rolling), or hiking, just to name a few.
Whether you’re a newbie, a fitness enthusiast, or a seasoned athlete, remember to take some time off to let your body and your mind recover from the stress of the week.
It’s a crucial part of the journey that is sometimes overlooked, so make sure not to make that mistake.
Much has been said about how to start a healthy lifestyle, yet the most important lesson here is to start the process right away.
Don’t wait another day…
If you’re overwhelmed with the different things you need to do, then start small, but start right now!
Once you’re on board, everything is going to fit together and your path towards healthy living will become easier.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN…
First, pat yourself on the back because you just read a 3300-word article!
Second, are you ready to use the actionable info from this post to start or continue your journey towards a healthy lifestyle?
If so, then I recommend grabbing the free guide I put together just for you.
Also, don’t forget to comment below. I’d love to hear what you think of this post.