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Today, I’m going to talk about lifestyle changes. I have been thinking a lot lately about my life and the “new” world we all live in. I have also been thinking about our wellbeing and what it means to be healthy.
What is lifestyle change? I’m so glad you asked. I found many definitions, but like the one from nature.com, which states:
“Lifestyle modification involves altering long-term habits, typically of eating or physical activity, and maintaining the new behavior for months or years.”
Keeping the definition in mind, I immediately went to eating better. I have never liked the word “diet” or anything relating to it. To me, that means that it is a fad or something short-lived. The interesting thing about this area is that over the last year, I have taken a new approach to my own eating.
I want my healthy habits to be something I can sustain for a long period of time. Such as eating better, working out more, meditation, and so on. The whole premise behind lifestyle changes is, Lao Tzu said it best, “Every journey begins with the first step.”
When you start doing something daily, like eating cleaner, there are many benefits that I have found. One thing I have been told numerous times is that I am looking healthier and leaner. It never really makes sense, but then again, I have to look at myself every day. But, I will say it does help with motivation and knowing you are on the right path!
Do you have any ideas about changes you want to make in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
To me, this means things I do that will help improve my life for the better. It might sound selfish, but let’s be real, you only get one body. May as well make the best of it.
I have been a long time reader of Nerd Fitness, and they center a lot of their stuff with science and even cover this topic. You can read some of their posts on lifestyle changes and improvements here if you are interested. I really like how the posts go into detail and even offer suggestions. Not only that, but they have many awesome workout routines that you can follow too!
Going back to diets, I think it’s important not to go with the next fad. Or, at least at a minimum, do your own research and decide for yourself. Remember, diets are something that is short-lived, and not what we are trying to accomplish here.
Everything on the market will allow you to lose weight. After all, if you deprive your body of something, like carbs, you are bound to lose weight.
What is essential is being able to sustain a healthy lifestyle long term.
There are many ways to approach eating better. Some will say that you just eat less. Well, thanks for that, no help what so ever. I love food and have found that it doesn’t work for me.
In the past, I’ve tried to eat better and even keep a food journal. That didn’t last long, and I gave up. Who wants to write everything down all the time? And who remembers what they ate at the end of the day? Let’s be real here.
Over the last year, I have been using the free version of the application called My Fitness Pal (MFP). It’s a great app that allows you to track your meals quickly. It even has a barcode reader and has read most of everything I have consumed over the last year. I have been able to set numbers and goals, which has been super helpful.
Since using the MFP app, it’s been a fantastic way for me to keep track of what I consume. Even better, it has become a daily routine. It’s also a good way to track how much water you are drinking.
An added benefit of MFP, it’s incredible to see what you consume every day. When I feel sluggish, I look at what I consumed the previous few days and find that I didn’t eat the best or didn’t drink enough water. Oddly enough, I’ve noticed it’s when I have a few days of tasty beverages too, who would have thought.
We all eat junk food. I have done really well, for the most part, of eating goodies a few times a
day week. MFP has helped me realize what I’m putting in my body and make adjustments on the go. Putting in that extra candy bar is tough when you know it will be staring at you in writing.
I find that when I’m busy, this is also a quick way to plan out my week ahead of time. This week, for example, I have the next three days already planned out. It’s nice to not have to think about your next meal or snack when you are busy.
To make the lifestyle changes, I have also done simple changes with how I approach situations, what things I think about, and of course, fitness. Let’s change to the mind and soul. It’s going to be okay, trust me.
Mind & Soul
A simple and interesting question for you is, when was the last time you focused on your breathing?
Are you currently holding your breath?
You might be surprised once you start focusing on your breathing how many times every day you hold your breath or don’t take deep breathes. I know I did.
I drive a lot (most days that are driving to work), and people suck, many are on their phones, don’t use signals, and tend to cut you off. Not only that, but last week I almost got hit by a runaway ladder from someone’s truck. A reminder to keep your attention on the road.
Since I have a long drive to work, there is one thing I try and remember to do. This is besides leaving a little early, which helps with not getting stressed out. I set my watch alarm for thirty minutes. The goal is that when the timer goes off, no matter where I am, I take three deep breaths.
Breathing helps me to remember to be present. It also helps when someone on the road does something stupid.
Yet, another side note, if you have never meditated, I think you should consider trying it. Over the last 60 days, I decided to take ten minutes to meditate. Most of the time, it’s guided from YouTube, but other days it’s just sitting quietly. Recently, I used a few mini-sessions throughout the day. Even just a few minutes at a time has made a world of difference.
It is also a constant reminder to be present and not be lost in my thoughts.
More lifestyle changes I’ve been doing.
After all, life has a way of getting in the way. Trying to find some time here, and it is important. For me, I try and use these little pockets of time to learn something new. One of those things is reading more. This has always been a life goal of mine but has never worked out.
I have never enjoyed reading. It was later in life when I realized there are good books and blogs out there.
I think the biggest issue with reading was that I was reading books that I didn’t have an interest in. Once I downloaded Kindle, it changed everything for me.
Fun fact, I had a goal this year to read ten books. So far this year, I’ve read 12! It is exhilarating to me, and I feel that reading more has also helped me mentally.
I think it’s essential to continue to be learning. I also started reading about SEO. If you don’t know what that is, it is short of Search Engine Optimization and is a way to try and get your website ranked higher in search engines. This is important for every business out there, and I think if I can learn enough, maybe it will allow me to work for other companies improving their search rankings.
Side note: If you have a business or website and are interested in getting it ranked higher, send me an email!
I’ve been interested in many aspects of this amazing life we live, even though everything seems to be falling apart. Another fun area I enjoy learning about is health and fitness.
Health & Fitness
Something as simple as stretching in the morning, going for a five-minute walk, doing some bodyweight squats and pushups. All this adds up and will make you feel better overall. If you don’t believe me, give one or two of them a try. Then let me know if it does or does not make you feel better.
My easy lifestyle goal, if you will, has been to do something every day.
Yes, there are days I ‘don’t have time’ or am very tired. When that happens, I spend a few minutes stretching and using a foam roller. For me, this has helped a TON, and at the end of the day, I feel better and happy I accomplished something.
To up the game a little, I try to do something physical every other day. To put it in Nerd Fitness words, not two in a row. Simply put, it’s okay that you missed a workout, just don’t miss two of them. Did you splurge and eat a whole pizza, that’s okay, just eat a salad for your next meal.
I found this video that quickly explains this concept too:
What I Have Been Doing
I pretty much summed it up above, but for me, it includes combining all these things daily. These, some small changes have made me not only feel better but have made a world of difference in my life.
Again, the focus for me is to do something every day, both mentally and physically.
I mentioned not two in a row. A recent example of this is not to drink alcohol for two days in a row. It might seem simple, but there are days this is a rough practice. As a test, I decided to try this over the last three months. I’m proud to report that I have achieved this goal. I honestly am feeling better and think I’m sleeping better too.
There are days that I know I will fall off, like my quick camping trip in a few weeks. But that is okay, and I just won’t do it two weeks in a row. Ha, see what I did there?
Working out has been something that I was missing for many years. I recently rekindled my joy of going to the gym. But I hate it when it’s busy. So, I tend to go late at night or super early in the morning.
The sad thing is that many gyms are still closed (mine is open but limited). To fix this, I started doing bodyweight workouts. To include everything from my bodyweight, kettlebells, to using rings. Recently, I made a goal of setting up my rings. I have a lot of work to do, but I am excited about being able to do a muscle-up one of these days. It’s going to be a long journey, but it all starts with your first step!
This has been an interesting year, and overall I am happy with the lifestyle changes I have put into my life. I am certain I will be able to keep these in play for many years. They have helped me to be much happier and more energetic, both physically and mentally.
Remembering to breathe, do something every day, and learn something new every day might help you too.
As you are finishing reading this, check in with your own body. Are you hunched over a computer? Are you reading this on your phone and looking down? Are your neck or back not in a good posture?
Checking in with your own body is one simple fix that you can correct right now!
We all have a life to deal with and obligations to complete. You only have 24 hours in a day and may as well make the best of it. You only have one body, and doing most of the things I’ve mentioned takes fifteen minutes or less. I think you will feel better overall too, and I know I have.
Lifestyle changes are about things you can do today that will make your life better. If there is something you want to do or achieve, it’s better to start small and then scale it up as you go.
The example I love is to stop drinking soda. It’s difficult to quit cold turkey unless that works for you. If you find that difficult, start small, drink one less can a day. After a week, pour the soda into a glass, but this time don’t pour it all and immediately discard the can. Continue doing this until you aren’t drinking soda anymore. It might take a while, but we are going after lifestyle changes and not a quick fix.
You can apply this principle to anything and everything you do in life. I, for one, wanted to write more, instead of sitting down and writing thousands of words, which is crazy. I simply write a few hundred a day. It’s much easier to accomplish, even on busy days.
Making sure you are staying healthy and happy is what my goal for you is. Everyone has different approaches to this, but I’m interested in what you are doing to make your life better.
What are you going to do today to make your life better tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below.