The secrets to healthy living

Image from whologwhy on Flickr
Image from whologwhy on Flickr

A guide to get you there

By Savis Irandoost, Contributor

I know that everybody believes that diet and exercise are the only ways to lose weight and be healthy, but when I had a personal trainer, I was shocked to find that there are several other lifestyle changes that quicken the process and keep you in tip-top optimal health.

It is vital to stretch 15 minutes when you wake up and 15 minutes before you go to sleep, whether you exercise or not. Don’t sleep right after you eat something; wait for about three hours. Eat your fattiest meal in the morning, so your body has the whole day to work it off. Take a multivitamin as well as a vitamin for any deficiency you might have, such as iron—be in control of your health and as your doctor for the necessary tests. Get eight hours of sleep every night for optimal body functioning. Drink enough water throughout the day—a good amount is the recommended eight glasses. Always take the stairs when you have the option.

Do not, under any circumstances, eat in front of the TV or computer. Don’t eat standing up either. Sit down and really savour your meal, preferably with other people. Chew each bite about 30 times. Most importantly: take a moment to listen to your body. If you wait 20 minutes, you’ll probably realize you’re not truly hungry anymore. Share your portions if you can! This will teach you to not be attached to your food, plus it’s a nice gesture.

Whatever diet you’re on, save yourself the heartbreak and quit before you inevitably fail. Diets don’t work. You gain all the weight back, plus more. A diet is a negative way of thinking about nutrition. If you restrict yourself, you will surely crack from deprivation. Think of weight loss as a life change: it has to be attainable, so pick something you can commit to. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everybody should be allowed a few cheats, but when you eat something fatty, try and not let it start a chain reaction of eating horribly all day. And if that day comes, don’t throw in the towel and have a fatty week/month/year. You’re stronger than that. If you make healthy choices, they will pay off. I’ve seen it. I’ve lost almost 15 pounds since January. I found the Palaeolithic eating guide much more effective than my short period of counting calories. I maintain that animal fats and meat are not bad for you, but carbohydrates and grains are. Cut these or significantly reduce them. And stay away from junk food!

Stay as active as possible. The key to weight loss has always been to burn more calories than you take in. Decide whether you want to go the route of eating better or exercising more to achieve this. Do both if you can but don’t overwhelm yourself. Ease in to it and you’ll have a much higher success rate. Try to look at the scale as little as possible, if at all. If you must weigh yourself, aim for once a week or every other day, and do it first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten anything.

If you’re unhappy with your body image or health in general, either accept it or change it to reflect your values. Patience is a virtue and nothing is going to happen until you’re ready. There’s always tomorrow. Sleep early, drink lots of water, and stretch! Change can happen. I didn’t really believe it until I finally saw for myself. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the payoff in your own body. Your health is the best investment of all.

There are very crucial steps that your body needs to undergo to make this happen for you. Don’t underestimate these tips! They’ll give you that little edge you need to look and feel great, both inside and out. And lastly, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!