14 Healthy Living Tips to Stay Balanced All Year Long
I think when people are looking for quick fixes, they’re really looking for an easy way to manage healthy living. While you may think you want to lose 10lbs in 10 days, wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just live your life, not stress about your body all the time and still get results? You shouldn’t have to obsess about what you eat, your workout, your pant size or your weight. There is a way to find balance and to enjoy the process. I know it may not seem possible, but it is. Healthy living should make you feel energized, strong and empowered not stressed out and troubled.
These are some healthy living tips I have found very useful and motivating in my life and I want to share them with you. These tips, while rather basic, when practiced over time continuously, make a world of difference.
1. Don’t expect to be in control 100% of the time. More often than not, something unexpected will come up: A scheduling conflict will occur, you’ll snooze your alarm too long and your workout and meal plan might need to change a little bit. Embrace it. The more you practice going with the flow, but making it work for you instead of finding excuses, the better you’ll get at it. My dad used to always tell me “Lunden, find a way!” This is something I replay in my mind quite often. You have to find your own way.
2. Cook at home more than you eat out. Notice how I didn’t say, “Cook at home every single day.” That’s not possible. But, unlike at restaurants, when you cook at home, you know exactly what you are putting into your food. Easy recipes like my healthy cookie recipe and overnight protein oatmeal are perfect examples of things you can make in advance. I also like to prepare quinoa, brown rice and chopped veggies ahead of time as well. They go with nearly every meal. If you have kids, get the kids involved. I used to love cooking with my mom when I was younger.
3. Every step counts! Take the stairs, walk to work, walk to the store, go for an evening walk…catch my drift? Do everything you can to move more. Work in an office? Me too! Even though I am making videos and working out a lot, I still have to make time to go for a walk multiple times a day to stay focused, energized and healthy.
4. Drink up. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and make sure you are actually drinking it. Stay away from sugar-filled juices and soft drinks. WATER, WATER, WATER – always. If you want to add a bit more flavor to your water, add lemon, berries, mint or oranges.
5. Something is always better than nothing. Just because you can’t fit in an hour workout doesn’t mean you should forget about it. Even 5 or 10 minutes is better than doing nothing at all. Try holding a plank for 3-5 minutes or this 7-minute leg workout. You will see that you can really get a great workout in a short amount of time.
6. Look at your progress, not the progress of others. See the progress of others as motivation, not reason for comparison. Everyone is unique and built differently. If you start comparing, you won’t focus on the most important part – how awesome YOU are doing.
7. Surround yourself with fitness-minded people. You’re not going to get to the gym and get a good night’s sleep if the people you surround yourself with would rather pig out and party. Or, what about those friends that always have something negative to say when you’re going for a workout or choosing a salad instead of a cheeseburger? My advice is to ditch them. I know it’s hard, I’ve done it. But it’s really important to have uplifting people in your inner circle. In fact, it’s crucial! I would rather have 2 exceptionally supportive friends than 5 not-so-motivating friends around me any day.
8. No matter how far you come, keep setting goals. Everyone from beginners to advanced athletes have to keep setting goals. There’s no finish line to fitness, so you have to keep challenging yourself. Can you run faster? Farther? Lift heavier? Stretch a bit further? Drink a bit more water? You decide which goal is realistic for you and go for it!
9. Have a vision board. I love vision boards because they bring your goals and aspirations to life. But just because you cut out a picture of your dream body and put it on your vision board doesn’t mean it will automatically appear – you have to put in the work. But it’s so great to be able to see representations of your goals & dreams in front of you. I look at mine every single morning and every single night. Add to it, make new ones and set goals that will help you achieve what’s on your vision board.
10. Expect to fail, more than once. I have attempted 3 times to run a half marathon in under 2 hours and failed. In fact, the last time, I hurt my knee so bad I had to walk the last 7km. Whatever. It isn’t my best memory, but I know one day I will tackle this goal.
11. Make sleep a top priority. You absolutely have to get good sleep, no exceptions. A good night’s sleep makes you more productive, more focused and keeps your immune system and metabolism boosted. This is my #1 priority!
12. I don’t do a cheat day. There’s so much going on in our lives that it’s impossible to be perfect every day except your cheat day. Let life dictate when you indulge a bit: birthdays, holidays, weddings, etc. This is the best way I have found balance. What if I had a cheat day on Saturday, but then my best friend got a promotion on Monday and I want to go out and celebrate with her? That doesn’t sound like something I want to try and figure out. I try to stay as focused and regimented as I can 85-90% of the time and that’s what has worked best for me.
13. Recovery & rest days are a must. You can’t do an intense workout every single day. You have to listen to your body. If you’re feeling excessively hungry, thirsty and exhausted, it might be your body letting you know that you need a rest day. The real changes happen to your body during its recovery phases – never forget that.
14. Never stop learning and improving yourself
Even if you feel you are at the top of your game, there’s always something to learn. Reading is one of my favorite learning tools and it really helps me clear my mind and reduce stress. The only problem is I rarely have time to sit down and read a book. That’s why I love Audible for audiobooks. I listen before bed to relax, or while I am going for a walk or a run to zone out. For me, there really isn’t an easier way to soak up good quality information. It’s one of my goals to read or listen to one book per month.
Do you have a healthy living tip you want to share? I would love to read about it in the comments below.
Original was published on December 31, 2015, and updated on April 23, 2016.