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8 Simple Tips for a Healthier Life
Many people think of a healthy lifestyle in some dangerously black and white terms. In these mindsets, people insist that daily gym attendance and rigorous diet rules are the only way to live healthfully. This point of view can actually be quite harmful, and can even come across as shaming toward health-oriented individuals who can’t keep up with those ideals.
The truth is, no two people have the same needs when it comes to lifestyle. After all, so many factors come into play. However, any action towards a healthier lifestyle makes a difference. Health is far from a black and white issue—different lifestyle choices work for different people, and it’s important to respect that. In fact, many gyms and health centers focus on individualized needs as their speciality; that’s why personal fitness coachesand team training sessionshave become so popular. They work with the individual client’s ideas and needs, not the other way around.
Small changes can be made in every aspect of one’s life to make it healthier. This means you don’t have to make drastic changes or follow strict guidelines, like going on an extreme or unusualdiet, or forcing trips to the gym when it doesn’t work with your availability. It means little things, like choosing the (often less crowded anyhow,) staircase over the escalator at the shopping mall. These small steps hardly feel noticeable to you—but they add up to make a big difference in your overall health.
If you’d like to incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle, we have everything you need to get started. Here are some of our most useful tips for a nutritious and fit daily life without any stress:
- Clean Out Your Pantry and Give it a Makeover
This is a great place to start. Having your staple ingredients be the healthiest and best quality versions of themselves will instantly improve your home cooking.
First of all, check the dates on the dried spices and herbs you have kicking around your cabinet. Some of these powders have probably been kept well beyond their use-by date. Though they likely won’t harm you, they likely taste pretty musty and sad. Having fresh, high quality dried herbs and spices will make a huge difference in the things you cook.
On that note, we think it might be time to ditch the prepackaged spice blends that are tucked between your chili powder and cumin seeds. Though they’re convenient for family taco night and the like, they often contain lots of sodium and sometimes even unpronounceable additives—yuck. Meanwhile, it is fun and easy to blend your own. Plenty of blogs and cookbooks have great recipes for various spice mixes, and anything leftover will keep for months in an airtight glass jar.
- Choose Healthier Options When Eating Out—Yes, it’s Possible.
Restaurants can be a minefield for someone trying to stick to a healthy nutrition plan. A cursory glance at most menus might leave you feeling anxious, but take a closer look. Likely, there are a few options that adhere to most, if not all, of the rules you’re trying to keep.
At many restaurants and cafes, it’s also possible to make a few small substitutions. So, if that veggie burger sounds absolutely perfect, but you don’t want the french fries, brioche bun, or garlic mayonnaise, just ask if it’s possible for the kitchen to make it without them. Chances are, they can serve it to you without those items—in some cases, they’ll even swap them out for another ingredient of your choice.
- Portion Control Makes a Massive Difference
Were you raised to clean your plate? Many eat every last drop of food in their bowl— and that’s great! Waste not, want not, as they say. However, this is a habit that generally comes from home cooking. When it comes to restaurant meals, the portion sizes are completely different…yet we eat in the same way as if we’d cooked it at home.
Sometimes, we don’t even realize how big our portion sizes are until after we’ve finished eating. Not only does this lead to discomfort—being overly full is the worst—but it causes us to unwittingly consume many more calories than we ever would have intended.
A few tips?
- Go Halfsies
Dining with another person? Why not split an enticing main course? Chances are, it’ll be enough to feed both of you. If it isn’t, you can always share something else afterwards.
- Skip the Appetizers
When your waiter asks if you would like some nachos or mozzarella sticks to start, it’s easy to take him up on that suggestion. However, not only will this cost more money, it’s an entire portion of not-so-healthy food before your real meal even comes. Skip the appetizers to better watch what you take into your body.
- Ask About Lunch Portions And Menus
Many restaurants, bars, and cafes have lunch menus. They tend to be smaller portions and have more budget-friendly options. Sometimes, you can even get away with ordering them for dinner.
Alternately, sometimes a kids menu is worth pursuing. They might give you a hard time for being an adult, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting a smaller meal. (Bonus: sometimes it even comes with a fun little toy or coloring book.)
- Don’t be Afraid of Leftovers
It’s hard to break out of the habit of feeling morally obliged to clean your plate. In a way this is good; food waste is a terrible problem that we should all avoid. However, if you take the leftovers and eat it the next day, you’re not wasting it. Don’t be afraid to ask for a “doggie bag,” and bring it into work the next day for lunch!
- Water is your Friend: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
It feels somewhat glib to say that consuming water and staying hydrated is important. It’s so much more than that. We need water—it’s crucial to our very existence. If we ignore that need, we face the harmful, even fatal danger of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration at its best is uncomfortable—symptoms even mild dehydration include lightheadedness, exhaustion, dizziness, headaches, and muscle weakness. When severe, it can result in unconsciousness, fevers, and delirium.As scary as that all sounds, it isn’t, really—in most cases, it’s easy to avoid:
- Be Careful about What Beverages You Consume
Sure, coffee is great. We love its rich flavor and energizing properties, as well as the social aspect of catching up over a steaming mug. Same goes for alcohol—a glass of wine with some friends after a long day is one of our top ways to relax. Even cola, which we tend to avoid due to its sugar content, is such a special treat, especially when it’s enjoyed ice cold out in the sunshine. However, as tasty as all of these drinks may be, we make sure to enjoy them all in moderation, as they can be dehydrating.
- Eat Hydrating Foods
Fun fact: glasses of H20 aren’t the only way to give your body the hydration it needs. Actually, many foods (particularly fruits and veg,) have such a high water content that they fit the bill. Some of our favorites include watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, spinach, and radishes.
- Always Carry a Water Bottle, Especially When Training
When it comes to fitness and health, consuming water (and the occasional other hydrating beverage like electrolyte-packed sports drinks,) is key. It will keep your body in a position to train to your highest potential.
- Keep Moving, Even on Gym-Free Days
Like we said before, the concept of making healthy fitness and nutrition choices isn’t black and white. That means to ditch the idea of anything being “all or nothing.” Just because you don’t have time for the gym every day certainly doesn’t mean that you need to be entirely sedentary on the days that you can’t make it. A few ideas?
- Make Social Events Active Ones
Making plans for a catch-up with your best friends? Instead of the typical group dinner or drinks meet-up, try for something more active. What you choose, of course, depends on your squad’s interests—for some, this might mean dancing the night away at a club 80’s night. For others, an adventure hiking through the woods might appeal more. Whatever you land on, it’ll get your blood flowing— and will be fun for everybody.
- Enjoy the Weather
Now that the winter has finally ended, it’s a great idea to try and fit some outdoor activities into your daily life. This can mean riding your bike instead of taking a car or bus, strolling to a nearby park during your lunch breaks, or taking a post-dinner walk every evening. The choice is yours.
- Get in the Habit
Once you get in the habit of something, it will become second nature. Things like choosing the staircase over an elevator, doing stretches while you read or watch TV at night, going for a daily walk around the block are all easy, doable habits that fit into any schedule.
- Always Take Time to De-stress and Engage in Self Care
It’s never productive to work yourself to the bone. You might think it will pay off later, but that’s assuming that the stress doesn’t cause additional problems. Please, treat yourself well and let yourself take breaks when you need them!
There are lots of healthy ways to de-stress and pamper yourself. A few of our favorites are:
- Work out from the Comfort of Home
For some, attending a busy gym or health center can be a stressful experience—even when they want to train and work on their fitness. These days, there’s actually a solution to this problem—some gyms actually offer online training sessions. Not only are these sessions a great option for travel, they also make workouts possible even when getting to the gym is not.
- Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
Cleanse your mind with a yogaor meditation session. You’ll be surprised by how great you feel afterwards.
- Freshen Up
It’s amazing how a nice soak in a hot bubble bath or a even cold, refreshing shower can completely change your mood. Though many rely on them only as a cleansing method, bathing and showering can also do wonders for your mood.
- Set Goals and Stick With Them
It’s important to be aware of your goals. Even on a more sedentary day, you can feel productive by checking in on your progress and planning ahead for what else you want to achieve.
Ask yourself today: what are your health goals? Do you want to feel better when you wake up in the morning? Lose weight? Feel physically stronger and able to lift more? Write these goals down and hold yourself accountable for them—monthly check-ins are especially helpful for this.
If you feel overwhelmed by your goals, we recommend breaking them down into smaller step-by-step goals. So, if your goal is to run a marathon in a year, break it down into a series of smaller and more manageable steps, like “run for at least thirty minutes daily.” It’s easier to check off smaller goals and make sure you’re keeping up, instead of just looking at the bigger picture and hoping it somehow works out.
- Be Productive in Your Daily Life
The busier you keep yourself, the easier it will be to stay healthy. Boredom is a killer for healthy lifestyles—how many lazy weekends have you spent watching TV and eating prepackaged snacks?
Keep your schedule as active as you can. When friends ask you to meet up, say yes and make it somewhere that you can walk or bike to. Plan your meals in advance—not only will it save money and time umming and ahhing over what to have, it will also give you the opportunity to have more nourishing meals or even follow a special nutrition plan without anyhiccups. Have you been making small but significant changes in your daily life for a healthier lifestyle? We want to be a part of it! By partnering up with Jack City Fitness, you’ll get exclusive support from our passionate team of fitness coaches,nutrition specialists, and yoga instructors. We offer a large selection of group classes,private training, andteam coaching sessions—whatever your health and nutrition needs may be, it’s available to you right here at Jack City Fitness. Give us a call today to learn how we can work