If you want to live a healthy, happy lifestyle, the most important thing you can do is find a balance that works for you. If you can’t balance health and fitness with everything else going on in your life, chances are, you’re not going to stick to it. For most people, health and fitness can’t be the thing that their whole life revolves around. Unless you’re a serious competitor or athlete, it should be something you enjoy that you can easily balance with everything else you love doing and the people you like to spend time with. You may make certain sacrifices to be healthier, e.g. watching an hour less TV to go to the gym, but you shouldn’t have to dedicate your whole life to it.
This is why most people end up making a mistake. They think that in order to be healthy and happy, they have to work out most days, and only eat ‘clean’ or in some other ‘fitspo’ way. Not true! You can still be healthy and happy without taking it to extremes. If you do something extreme, you might see results initially, but then most people end up reverting back to their old habits because it’s too hard. They fall out of love with fitness and they don’t want to eat vegetables anymore because they have deprived themselves for so long. Sound familiar?
Let’s talk more about balance, so you can enjoy a healthy, happy lifestyle while still doing everything else you enjoy!
- Only Commit To Working Out As Many Times As You Can Handle
When you’re starting out, it can be tempting to say you’re going to work out 5 or 6 times a week – some people even say every day! However, this is not a healthy, balanced approach. Things tend to work better if you start slow and then build yourself up, as you’re getting into good habits and not overwhelming yourself with too much at once. Just three workouts a week can be enough depending on your goals, so you really don’t have to spend all of your time in the gym. That being said, you can add a few more work outs in if you really want to – just remember that rest days are super important too.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Miss A Workout
If you miss a workout, do not beat yourself up. You don’t have to ‘make up for it’ by spending twice as long in the gym, starving yourself, or doing anything silly. This is a dangerous way of looking at things and can cause all kinds of physical and psychological trouble. Just let it go. Pick back up where you left off when you can. The gym will always be there. You should be working out because you want to, not because you have to!
- Try To Walk More
As well as a few workouts each week, walking more is a great way to stay healthy. Most people lead sedentary lifestyles these days, and it can be extremely unhealthy – even for those who go to the gym. If you’re spending the rest of your time sitting, it’s still not good for your health. You could invest in a step tracker or even an app, and aim for 8,000 steps per day to begin with. You can gradually add more steps until you’re at a minimum of 10,000 – the recommended amount of steps per day.
You can get more steps in all kinds of ways. Park further away from your destination, walk rather than taking the car on shorter journeys, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and more.
- Quick Workouts Count, Too!
You don’t have to spend an hour or more working out. If you’re short on time but you want to get at least a little activity in, a quick workout still counts. You could do a 15 minute HIIT session, or even a short circuit.
- Cook Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Foods At Home
You definitely don’t have to live off foods you hate, or only eat vegetables/salads when you want to be healthy. Incorporating vegetables is great for your health, but you need proteins, fats, and other types of carbs to live, too. Try cooking healthier versions of your favorite foods at home. For example, you could make your own pizza style dish with more natural ingredients, and even try using tortilla wraps as the base. That being said, you won’t always be able to avoid takeout if you’ve had a busy day. These are the types of health changes that don’t always work, as life happens. It’s much better to eat some take out food than to starve yourself!
- Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
Being healthy doesn’t mean feeling hungry. You should be eating enough to support your goals, even if your goal is to lose fat. The easiest way to do it is to listen to your body, eat when you’re hungry, eat slowly, and stop when you’re feeling full. Obviously it helps to eat foods that are filling while being good for us at the same time. You should also make sure you’re drinking 2 litres of water per day minimum.
- Don’t Follow ‘Trendy’ Or ‘Fad’ Diets
These diets never last. Avoid following diets promoted by a celebrity, or diets you find in magazines. They just aren’t sustainable in the long term. Don’t think you can be healthy by sing those ‘skinny shakes’ or ‘skinny teas’ either. There is no magic solution, and they certainly aren’t healthy (unless you think spending a lot of time on the toilet is healthy).
- Unfollow Anybody On Social Media That Makes You Feel Rubbish
There are some great health and fitness accounts out there that aim to destroy fitness industry BS, such as @drjoshuawolrich and @thefashionfitnessfoodie. Some can be great for motivational purposes too, but you should keep a close eye on those that are spreading health and fitness propaganda. Aim to follow more accounts that provide some kind of value to your life and help with your mindset, rather than those that make you feel rubbish and unworthy. You ‘consume’ things you see on social media, not just food, and you must be careful of what you’re taking in. We’re bombarded with messages every day from social media, and they can really affect us.
- Don’t Forget To Stretch
Don’t forget to look after your body in more gentle, relaxing ways. Stretching is important whether you’re working out or not. It helps the body to stay flexible, and can feel great! Try some yoga poses and see what works for you. Many people report feeling more relaxed and less stressed when they stretched more.
- Get Plenty Of Sleep
Sleep is another crucial factor in a healthy, happy lifestyle. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll feel rubbish, and you won’t be able to perform at your best, whether that’s in a work out or in your life in general. Sleep can make a difference to the results you’re getting too. Most people should aim for 8 hours a night, although this can vary from person to person. You probably shouldn’t be getting less than 6.5 hours a night. Pay attention to how you feel in the mornings before caffeine to gauge whether you should be getting more sleep.
- Get Into A Healthy Mindset
Finally, use all of this advice and get into a healthy mindset. It can take time to undo everything we have been taught over the years, but with practice, we can get into a happier, more balanced frame of mind.