Super simple steps to change your lifestyle
Healthy living should be a way of life, rather than a short-term fad.
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a bit different for everyone. A healthy body and mind, balanced diet and regular exercise can all be part of ensuring a happy and healthy lifestyle. If you hope to improve your health or lifestyle, take it slowly so that your body and mind can adjust with time. The following tips can help you get started with healthier habits.
Tips for a healthier lifestyle
Reduce processed food
Look into which food groups are taking up the majority of your diet. Limit eating overly processed, fried, or packaged foods, takeaways, chocolate, crisps, sweets, and fizzy drinks whenever possible. Having a small packet of crisps or a couple of squares of chocolate every once in a while can be part of a balanced diet, but if it’s a significant portion of your diet you might want to make a change in order to feel your best.
Try to pick good quality food
Avoid buying ‘low fat’ ready meals or pre-packaged food when you can. Cooking and preparing your own food is a great habit for your body and mind. When you can, make a healthy meal yourself, made with ingredients such as fresh vegetables and whole grains. Real, whole foods are better for your body and your mind overall.
Forget about magazine and celebrity diets, they don’t work and they’re bad for your health in the short and long. Many people who follow these trend diets put on even more weight after they go back to their normal eating habits. Putting on or losing weight quickly rather than gradually is bad for your health as well. And if your body image and self esteem is suffering, talk to someone about what is going on for you. There are services like Jigsaw and BodyWhys that can help as well.
Start exercising regularly and maybe persuade a friend or family member to start exercising and eating healthily with you. It’s a lot easier to stick to a new routine when you’ve got support. Try lots of different types of exercise until you find one you actually enjoy – exercise shouldn’t be punishment. Bear in mind that exercise releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are our natural painkillers and they make us feel happy and relaxed. So if you find the right exercise, it really will make you happy.
Try to work in getting outside and being active into your daily routine. It’s recommended that everyone needs at least an hour of activity every day. That could be a walk to school or work, some yoga, a swim, a jog, or cleaning the house.
Drink plenty of water every day. Sometimes we eat when our body is really looking for water. So, don’t confuse thirst with hunger. Plus, being dehydrated can wreak havoc on your energy levels and mood. To stay hydrated, consider cutting back on alcohol as well, as it dehydrates you, and has a negative impact on your health in general.
Think about it
Make sure you enjoy your food instead of eating because you’re bored or feeling down or angry. If you feel like eating when you’re not actually hungry, do something else you need or want to do. Clean your room, go for a walk or call a friend.
On the flip side, if you’re very busy and skipping meals, be sure to make the time and plan your meals ahead of time to make sure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients to stay healthy.
Make time for sleep. Sleep is extremely important to your health. Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with everything from depression to diabetes, so be sure to make time for 8 hours of quality sleep.
Prioritise your happiness
Spend time with the people who make you feel good. Hanging out with people you’re close to and who support you will help to boost your overall health and wellbeing.
And if you’re worried about your health and lifestyle, talk to your doctor about a healthy approach to changing your habits.