Now that the weather is finally turning it feels like a good season to recommit to our healthy lifestyle goals. Our winter was grim, so for a lot of us that could have meant more hibernation, Netflix and couch time, instead of fitness, gym and exercise.
I’m extremely fortunate that I have the chance to take off to Arizona when I need my rock-climbing fix. Jumping on a plane, though, isn’t exactly reasonable for the majority of us. So, I thought it might be fun to talk about a few healthy lifestyle habits we can incorporate into our daily, busy lives that can actually help us to keep fit.
This isn’t about flipping your entire routine and lifestyle (that only lasts for so long) but more about small, incremental changes you can make that will yield a big impact. Let me know what you think, and share in our comments section below your own healthy lifestyle habits! I always love to hear from you.
Wake up earlier
Yes, I know. This can be a toughie. If you’re not an early riser, even more so, but I encourage you to try it out. Why? Because devoting that hour in the morning is what truly sets the pace for your full day ahead.
You not only feel more energized to tackle your schedule, but your mind also has had that early morning rush of endorphins, which truly makes you feel more positive, optimistic and happy.
Research has actually shown that people who wake up in the morning tend to stick to their workout programs longer. Moreover, early morning exercise in a “fasted state” (i.e.: working out before you have breakfast) has also shown to be more effective overall than the same amount of exercise in the “fed state” as it’s called.
Find what you love to do
Here’s the thing: The gym isn’t for everyone, a bootcamp isn’t for everyone, running isn’t for everyone. This isn’t about focusing on what everyone else around you is doing and following their lead. No, this is about finding something you actually enjoy doing yourself.
Maybe it’s a long walk in the neighbourhood after dinner, a nature hike, yoga, a spin class. Whatever it is, if you like it, you’ll stick with it. It’s really that simple. The problem, happens when you start to feel like what you’re doing is a chore. That’s a major motivation killer.
Strength in numbers
John and I absolutely love climbing together, and it’s this companionship that keeps us going. Studies have found that working out with a partner can improve your performance (competition can be fun!), plus it’s good to be held accountable, too. That workout buddy will give you the motivation you need on those days you’re struggling to find it. Plus, what’s the harm in a post-workout bite or drink together, too? You’ve certainly earned it!
Set healthy lifestyle goals
Goals are great, but if they’re only focused on losing weight, then you need to reconsider. Sure, everyone loves to lose a few pounds, but that shouldn’t be your only goal you have. It’s not just about the number of the scale, but your performance, too. Can you run a couple kilometres more this month than you did last? How did you fair in this gym class compared to your first one? When it comes to goals, don’t restrict yourself to your weight. Focus on your achievements instead!
Weekend meal prep
We all know that our diets play a critical role in our overall health, but we also know that eating healthfully doesn’t always happen when we’ve had a crazy day and get home to a late dinner.
We don’t always make the best choices in these occasions, so what I do is spend some time on my weekends prepping food for my busy weeks ahead. That way I can make delicious, healthful meals that I know are ready to go the minute I walk through that door.
It’s really easy, actually: chop all your veggies and then store in the fridge; cook all of your proteins and grains, and make a large portion of dressing (for salads or marinates) ahead of time to dip into all week. In the wintertime, I’m a big fan of stews and soups. I always make big portions I can freeze.
In the spring and summer, I love a great salad with quick-grill fish or chicken. I also rely heavily on my barbeque, too! If I have the major elements of my meals already prepped and in my fridge, it becomes a matter of a few minutes of assembly.
I love this one because it’s so true, and it happens to ALL of us. When we’re stressed, or working late, we often end up scarfing our meals either in front of our computers or our TVs. Not only are we eating much too fast, we’re not paying attention to how our bodies are feeling and often over-eat as a result.
So, no matter how stressed you feel, slow it all down. Take bites slowly, chew slowly and breathe. Take heed of when your body is telling you your full because, odds are, you’ll eat much less and feel much better!