How to Lead a Healthy Life
To lead means to take charge and guide. By deciding to lead a healthy life, you’re deciding to assume command over your own habits and actions. Take care of the basics by eating, exercising, and sleeping. Build a system you can sustain by integrating healthy habits into every part of your routine. Enlist your friends and your doctor to help you stay on track.
Taking Care of the Basics
Eat food. Everyone’s ideal diet is different, yet we all need to cover the same bases. Eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy, protein, and healthy fats. Talk to your physician about your needs: if you have a medical condition, you may need to be more careful about what you eat.
- Eat at least three meals a day with healthy snacks in between. Pay attention to your portion size and serving sizes of different foods to make sure that you’re not overeating. It is unhealthy to overeat, even if it is with healthy foods.
- Avoid processed food and fast food. Eat foods made from fresh and simple ingredients whenever you can.
- Eat a variety of whole foods. Eat beans, nuts, salads, and fermented foods like yogurt.
- Forget vitamins and supplements unless a doctor recommends them. If you eat a variety of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, you’ll get the nutrients you need.
- Get in the habit of eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Pay attention to your food while you eat so that you notice your level of hunger decreasing.
- If you think about food all the time, if you eat when you’re not hungry, or if you avoid eating at all, you might have an eating disorder. Consult your physician.
- Eating juicy vegetables and fruits will also hydrate you.
- Try to avoid soda and other artificially sweetened drinks. Sugar is bad for your metabolism, your teeth, and your immune system.
- Teenagers may need closer to 10 hours of sleep a night.
- Older adults still need 7-8 hours of sleep, but may also need to nap more and spend more time in bed.
Getting Into Healthy Habits
Cook at home. Cooking at home is cheaper and healthier than eating out, so teach yourself to cook the things you love, and keep a well-stocked fridge. Shop healthily. Plan out your meals for the week, and go to the grocery store with a list. Start in the produce aisles, and skip the chips and snack aisles.
Cultivate active habits. If you have trouble getting to the gym on a regular basis, build more activity into your daily routine. Take up gardening or another active hobby. Get a dog so that you remember to go on walks. Cut your commute and walk part of the way to work, or get in the habit of patronizing nearby businesses so you can walk there and back.
Brush and floss. Dental hygiene affects your heart health as well as your gums and teeth. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Consider adding in a mouthwash containing fluoride. Schedule regular dental cleanings and exams, and don’t hesitate to make an appointment if you have gum bleeding, misaligned teeth, or sensitivity. If you’re having trouble swallowing, you should see a doctor immediately.
Wear sunscreen. Sunscreen protects you from cancer and helps your skin age more slowly. Wear sunscreen when you go outside, but also when you sit by a window. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours.
Build happiness and self-acceptance. Get in the habit of treating yourself lovingly. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to a dear friend. When you start having negative spirals of thought, pause and identify the thought that is making you feel bad. Accept the bad feeling and don’t try to control it. Instead, calm yourself until you can analyze the logic behind your bad feeling.