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10 Tips For a Healthy Lifestyle- Beginners Guide

So you’ve come to the realization that you need to work on your health and you don’t quite know where to start. Maybe you’re like me and your doctor told you to change your diet and exercise habits or you would be at a higher risk for a lot of scary medical conditions.

Or maybe you just had a baby and want to get back to feeling like your normal self. Or someone close to you had a serious health scare like a heart attack or stroke and you want to reduce the chances of that happening to you. Or maybe you got dragged into making a health pact with your spouse or a friend.

However you got to the point of wanting to get healthier, good for you! It is never too late, or too early, to start creating a healthier lifestyle to improve your quality of life. Here are 10 tips to starting a healthy lifestyle – the beginners guide!

We all begin somewhere

I grew up in a family with three brothers. While us kids were encouraged to be physically active and involved in sports and clubs and things, I didn’t frequently see my parents “working out” or putting their health first, necessarily.

We had a rowing machine, a treadmill, and some exercise mats and small handheld weights but they didn’t really get used. I only knew workout videos existed because we used them at school. And I had no idea gym memberships existed until after I was married.

So for me, once I reached adulthood, it never really entered my mind to have a regular exercise routine or worry about what I ate. As a college student I ate in the cafeteria and walked EVERYWHERE. During my broke single and early parenting days we ate a lot of top ramen and noodles and sat around a lot.

Sometimes my husband would drag me to the gym for a few months here and there but then it would get too expensive and we’d quit. Overall, the older I’ve gotten, the less active I had become and the less concerned I seemed to get with my diet. I just got lazy and lax.

Then around my 38th birthday, me doctor proclaimed I need to lose weight by changing my diet & exercise or he could prescribe me diet pills on my next visit. That started my journey to a healthy lifestyle.

You may have something similar, or completely different, that is motivating you now. The point is, YOU have to start where YOU are, wherever that may be.

Self-Assess, Where Am I Now?

Before getting started with making changes to put yourself on a path to a healthier lifestyle, you first have to know where you are now. It’s like asking the GPS for directions to Cleveland, OH but you don’t let it access your current location. You’re never going to get there!

The quote to the right is perfect to remember when creating a healthy lifestyle. You need knowledge, motivation and persistence!
motivation-quote

Let’s start with knowledge. Take a few minutes and self-assess. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is my current level of activity? Am I primarily sedentary? Active in short spurts? Constantly moving?
  • Is there anything I CAN’T do that I probably should? Like touch my toes or walk around the block without getting winded?
  • What is my current diet like? Not what I would tell people I typically eat, but what do I ACTUALLY eat?
  • How is my energy level? Am I typically tired? Can I make it through the day without caffeine?
  • how do I feel? Am I mostly happy? depressed? anxious?

We all start somewhere, so now you should have a better idea of what that starting point is for you.

Where are you going?

We’ll talk more about goals in another article. But for today, think about why you want to start a healthy lifestyle and what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do I want to make changes?
  • Am I doing this alone or with someone?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What’s the endgame? To get ready for a special event or develop a long term healthy lifestyle?
  • How am I going to meet my goals? Diet? Exercise? Prescription or medical procedure? All the above?
  • What are my limitations or restrictions? Physical limits, health conditions, mental struggles, environmental factors, allergies to foods?
5k-walk-healthy-lifestyle

One of my goals- 5K Walk with my husband

What are some of your actual goals that you want to start with? Are you trying to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds? DO you want to feel stronger? Have more endurance? Are you trying to add more servings of fruits and veggies to your diet or eat fewer carbs? Are you trying to be more confident about who you are and your body image? Do you just want to be able to keep up with your kids or spouse? Or not feel so tired?

Any goals you have towards becoming healthier physically, mentally and emotionally are good! Just make sure that the goals are YOUR goals, that you know why you have them, and that you can keep yourself motivated to work towards completing them.

I’ve had many a goal that I have set that I wasn’t really attached to. I just set them to set them. Then when something came up or I felt unmotivated or lazy I quickly abandoned those goals because they didn’t really matter to me. Don’t set yourself up for failure like that! You need proper motivation!

One of my first goals, when I started my current healthy lifestyle journey, was to walk for 30 minutes a day for 30 days in a row. A simple, obtainable goal that my dogs were more than happy to help me work on. A year later I completed a 5K run (mostly walk for me) with my husband in 45 minutes.

10 Tips to Get You Started!

  1. Start TODAY, not tomorrow, not next week, TODAY!
  2. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve! Achieving a goal boosts confidence and helps keep you motivated. Set a 7 day challenge or a 30 day challenge for yourself. When you meet one goal, set a harder goal to keep you progressing.
  3. Walk daily. Get up and walk for a set amount of time. Start small, maybe 5 minutes, then build up.
  4. Park further away and take the stairs. Get in extra steps by parking at the other side of the parking lot instead of the closest spot. Or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  5. Try yoga (see my Yoga benefits post here). Yoga is a low impact workout with amazing benefits, doesn’t require expensive equipment and can be done at home.
  6. Think HEALTHIER when you are planning meals. Some people can jump in and complete overhaul their nutrition and stick with it but a drastic nutrition changeTips-for-success-meal-prep can be difficult for most people. Focus on making healthier options. As you adjust to those, move to the next level of healthier choices. For example, don’t throw out pasta altogether. Switch from regular pasta to the veggie pasta noodles at the grocery store, then move to making your own noodles from fresh veggies like zucchini and carrots.
  7. Prepare your snacks and lunch beforehand. In other words, meal prep! If you wait until you’re hungry to figure out what you’re going to eat then you will grab what is convenient and fast. I’ve eaten too many hot dogs and chips that way! Wash and separate veggies and fruits into snack bags at the beginning of the week. Put hummus and salsa into small Tupperware containers. Make a few fresh salads with chopped, cooked chicken and veggies for lunch.
  8. Find an accountability buddy or group. Combined efforts and someone to report to can help keep you motivated. It can help when someone is asking you “Hey! Did you get that 3 mile jog done yesterday?” or “How was the food at the dinner party? Did you stick to your plan of skipping dessert?” Plus when you want to give up you will have someone to turn to who can encourage you and remind you why you are doing this in the first place!
  9. If you fall, get back up! Nobody is perfect all the time. Just start each day and worry about that day. Don’t stress if the day before didn’t go as planned.
  10. Share your successes! When you feel good about making progress, share it! It feels good to have other people cheer you on.

Consistency repeated! Persistance!

The secret to creating and living a healthy lifestyle comes down to knowing that there is NOT a magic pill. There’s not a way to do something good for your body a couple of times and then relax the rest of your life. Living a healthy lifestyle takes consistent effort and work for the rest of your life.

Give yourself some grace and allow some wiggle room. What fun would life be if you NEVER ate a cupcake or brownie again. Or if you ALWAYS skipped watching a movie to walk the dogs or go to the gym? Give yourself a little grace and let yourself enjoy life.

I live by an 80/20 rule. I’m 80% strict on nutrition and fitness so I can be 20% free to enjoy whatever pops up. When going by this rule I do try to keep in mind that you don’t want to destroy ALL your hard work while enjoying the 20%.

Or as my doctor told me, don’t work hard all week to have an entire cheat day when you gain it all back and have to start from square one again on Monday. You want to be heading in a forward direction- toward being healthier, one step at a time!

Did you find the above tips helpful? What goals have you thought of that you can start TODAY to help get you on track with creating your healthy lifestyle? Leave your comments below! I would love to hear from you!

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10 Comments

  1. I like the tips you give on setting your goals. I know many times, I fail to reach mine. I have always been the active type person and have set fitness goals. As you mentioned though, I many times haven’t been strict enough on myself to reach them.

    • Thank you for your comment. Setting goals is one thing, sticky to them (as you mentioned) is another! Now when I set goals I try to make sure that I have a clear reason why I have set that particular goal. When I feel like giving up or being lazy, I remind myself WHY it was important to me in the first place. If it was a good enough reason why, that keeps me committed. If it isn’t… I think we’re all human and will default to being lazy if we let ourselves!
      Good luck on your goals! Remember your why and you should do just fine!

  2. Hello Amber,
    Thanks for sharing tips. I would like to start a new healthy life. I mean wake up dynamically every morning. but I am so much lazy. When I was at university, I remember keeping up my work out daily with my friends. Unfortunately, there is no one to push me. I see nowadays that my motivation was people to exercise properly. One of the 10 tips was about it, so I have to try remaining 9 tips which works on me to find consistency.

    As you said , I am waiting your further article and learning deeply the logic of behind healthy life. I will ask above questions first, then they can make me motivation in right not to start today!

    • Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      Motivation was one of the hardest things for my when I started trying to live healthier. It is so much easier to stay in bed than to sit up and enthusiastically start your day. Try finding something that you are passionate about that will get you moving more. If you like playing sports with friends, join a sports league. If you like to go on walks, maybe look into adopting a dog to be a walking buddy. If music helps you want to get up and move, create a workout playlist and blast that yo get you going!
      Thanks again for reading!

  3. You first part of the article about motivation to change, is absolutely stunning. I run a quit smoking support site http://www.smokingisachoice.com and would like to borrow some of your thoughts if you do not mind.

    I also noticed, that half of your tips are totally usable for people who are on their way of quitting smoking. I am so happy I came across your site. Our areas of interest are different but also has lots of in common, as we are both in life quality increase business.

    I admire your writing style, I bookmarked your site waiting for new stuff to come.

    • Absolutely! You are welcome to borrow any of my thoughts and tips that you think would be useful. Thank you for the feedback!

  4. Amber, this is an awesome post! The steps you outline are easy, yet crucial.

    The top 4 that standouts for me are:
    1) starting today – I can’t agree enough with this. There are no excuses when you start right away it gets you going and that momentum will keep you focused
    2) setting goals – I personally think setting goals are key to anything you start it gives you the destination you are trying to reach. I think without goals you are just flying blindly with no destination in sight.
    3) Accountability – for me this is so critical. Keeping myself accountable keeps me on track, the guilt of not living up to my word keeps me focused
    4) If you fall getting back up – I think this above all is fundamental. If you fail just get back up and go at it again. If you learn something from your “failure” you can never really fail. If one thing doesn’t work try something else. If that doesn’t try something else. The key is to keep at it and learn along the way.

    These are one of the best tips I have come across. Awesome job!

    • Thank you so much for your feedback! I am glad that you found my tips useful and crucial. They have certainly helped me out, not just in improving my health but in life in general!

  5. I enjoyed this article! I love the steps you list to start living healthier. I agree that it truly is a lifestyle change. Small steps can easily add up to big changes. One of my favorite tips is to “think healthier” at the grocery store! Getting our mind right is always half of the battle. I will check back on your blog again soon! Thank you!

    • Thank you for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Small steps definitely do have a snowball effect. They may seem small and insignificant, but keep them up and you will see a big difference in the long run!

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