HOW TO START A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Ever since I started living healthier, the quality of my life improved so I thought I’d share some things that worked for me to help you experience the same!
Health is more than just food and fitness. Being healthy also means you are in a good environment, mindset, and surround yourself with good people.
I personally don’t like to keep a food diary because it feels like a lot of work and creates stress, but it works for some people. Living healthy doesn’t mean you have to keep track of everything, it means enjoying your life.
Changes don’t happen overnight. Patience, motivation, consistency, and happiness are the keys to success/health.
1. Movement is fun!
Don’t call it “exercise”, since exercise may seem like a chore. I used to dread exercise because I had bad experiences in elementary school. I hated PE because I was slow and all we did was play sports with a ball involved, and I was terrified of flying objects. I hated exercise because I wasn’t good at it. I feel like many people grew up like I did, with negative childhood experiences, which is why exercise is not in the favor of the general population.
Movement is so important and I could go on and on about the list of benefits, including feeling fresh, being stronger, being happier, living longer, etc. Working out only improves your life. You will never regret a workout.
Find something you enjoy doing. Do something with a friend! Movement doesn’t always have to be a sport. It can be a class like yoga or pilates, dance, cardio, and strength training. There are so many forms of movement out there, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that’s enjoyable. My favorite forms of movement including running, cycling, swimming, pilates (I love planks!) for strength training, zumba, walking, hiking, and the only ones I dislike are the ones that use a ball.
It’s also important to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your life to strengthen your cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. As a runner, I typically include cardio (running) 6 days a week and a little bit of strength every day. I know that most college athletes lift (I only use body weight for now) 3 days a week. This all depends on what your fitness level is.
If you are very busy, incorporate activity into your everyday life. For example, you can do a quick 10 min HIIT workout right before work, 10 min walk on your lunch break, and 10 mins of core right before bed. That’s 30 mins of movement a day!
You can also wear a pedometer, most health professionals suggest at least 10,000 steps each day. A lot of fitness trackers, like fitbit, gives you virtual rewards for reaching that number.
It is important to give your wonderful hardworking muscles a chance to recover and rebuild! I typically sleep for 7-8 hours a day, and it’s something I’m working on since most people recommend at least 9 for athletes.
3. Eat healthy!
Growing up, my friends and I would always brag about what kind of unhealthy foods we got to eat because we thought they taste good. We thought anything healthy was boring therefore not cool. Growing up, my mother has never let get the “cool” foods that all the other kids got to eat. I remember in third grade, my father commented about how I looked relatively thin compared to my other classmates, and I was also insecure about my hands being bony. 4th-5th grade was when I was going through my rebellious stage (does everyone go through this?) and my junk food intake skyrocketed once I hit middle school because we now had brunch served in the cafeteria, and I would buy at least 1-2 bags of chips or cookies every single day.
In 8th grade, I had an epiphany and I also started running, and I knew that if I wanted to be a good runner, I must eat well. Running became my priority and I now see food as fuel.
My parents remember me going cold turkey of all junk foods. This worked well for me because junk foods are chemically engineered to be addictive, and eliminating them completely is what worked for me.
Eat the rainbow of beautiful plants and keep temptations out of your house. If you have a family member that enjoys gorging on junk foods, don’t insult their diet.
Never insult anyone’s diet. The most effective way to inspire someone to be healthy is to be a good example. Show them the benefits you feel when you eat healthy foods, and how that healthy foods can look beautiful. Hopefully it will motivate them to do the same!
Eat slowly. Your stomach takes about 20 mins to send the signal to your brain that you are full.
4. Your social network.
Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Keep in mind that those who don’t like you are simply blind because they can’t see how awesome you are. They could be also insecure themselves because they want to bring you down because it makes them feel superior. Those people need help. Radiate positive vibes and hope that it will spread to their souls.
5. Physical health
Make regular visits to your doctor/dentist, and keep up with your immunizations.
6. Keep track of your progress
It can be any form of progress, because it motivated you to keep moving forward! It can be physical goals (such as running a personal record, lifting weight, swimming, endurance, etc), or it can be weight related, or not binge watching netflix every night.
Set mini goals and treat yourself to keep moving forward. For example, if you just broke 6:00 in the mile, plan a fun trip to the mall!
7. Don’t be stressed
If you’re feeling stressed, find an outlet. I like to go for a run and write down my thoughts. The unknown stressed me out, when I go for a run and think, the unknown becomes a known and makes me more confident.
Think about the big picture. I was pretty stressed when I couldn’t run at all this track season since I had big goals in mind. But then I realized that running is a lifestyle and I have the rest of my life to accomplish my goals. Success in college running is a bigger deal than high school. If I rest now, I can avoid burning out and this will fuel my motivation to run fast in college.
8. Help others
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or pick up litter. Being kind to others and to the community feels good!
Writing this blog makes me feel good because I know that I have the power to inspire others to improve their life. Receiving kind messages from people makes my day.
9. Believe in yourself
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Life your life how you want.
For me, I love my parents because they don’t force me to do anything. They let me quit piano, golf, and other things. I used to be not motivated in school, and instead of punishing me, they would reward me if I got good grades. School was never forced upon me. My parents showed me that knowledge=power. Now I am self motivated because I have learned that good grades=smart Grace=helpful Grace=happy Grace.
They support my running. They let me do anything I want. I wasn’t forced to run. As a result, I became a successful runner and student because that is what truly makes me happy.
If you show that something makes you happy, your parents and friends will most likely support you, too!
Other life tips: http://irungracepace.tumblr.com/tagged/advice
How to be happy:
How to be productive and achieve your goals:
Healthy brain food:
Healthy foods for athletes or if you work out!: