How To Become Healthier Today
If you read my blog post last Thursday, it covered 25 of the 51 Tips you can use to become healthier today! If you didn’t read it, click right here to read Part 1, first! Like I said in the last post, this isn’t something that can be done overnight. This blog is just to inform you about little changes you can make to your daily routine that, if done consistently over time, can have a positive effect on your health.
You can also use this blog as a way to gauge where you’re at right now. How many of these are you doing and how many of them could you be doing? A simple plan of action for being healthier would be to focus on one of these tips as habits every single week for a year. After that year, I promise you’ll be much healthier than before you started.
Picking up from were I left off last time…
26. Don’t Buy Junk Food
The simplest way to avoid eating processed, junk food is by keeping it out of the house. When you go to the grocery store I know it’s tempting. The Oreos and Twinkies are staring you right in the face but you’re only buying what’s on your list. Plus, think about in terms of what makes up processed food. Is it really even food? Or is it some type of science experiment? Plain and simple, just keep it out of your house, out of your pantry and you won’t have to worry about it tempting you.
27.Eat Lean Protein
Every meal you eat should be based around protein. Whenever you plan your meals for the week, the first thing you should do is pick what type of protein source you’re having for that meal. Chicken, lean ground beef and turkey, lean cuts of steak, lean cuts of pork, fish, eggs, and greek yogurt are all great sources of protein.
So why is protein so important? Protein builds things. It builds our muscles, hair, nails, connective tissue etc. Whenever you breakdown the muscle when we’re working out you need to rebuild it and you do that with protein. Protein also helps to keep us full. If you were to eat a meal made up of mainly carbohydrates versus a meal made up of mainly protein, you’re going to stay much fuller for longer from the protein meal compared to the carbohydrate meal.
28. Shop on the Outer Edge of the Grocery Store
You may not have noticed but next time you go into a grocery store, look at what foods are in the middle aisles of the store and what foods are on the outer edge of the store. 9 times out of 10 all of the fruits, vegetables, and meats are going to be on the outside edge of the store while all of the processed foods are going to be in the middle of the store. By staying on the outer edge you’re able to avoid any temptation from the processed foods by not going down those aisles.
29. Pack Your Own Lunches
This goes along with preparing your meals for the week but don’t rely on work or a restaurant to provide you a healthy meal. Most lunches provided by a company are going to be pizza, donuts, and cupcakes. Something that we’re absolutely trying to avoid. When you go out to eat, it’s so easy to fall into the temptation of ordering the hamburger instead of the salad so that’s why I recommend you skip it all together.
I realize you’re probably worried what people will think about you that you’re eating your packed lunch by yourself. You’re going to hear all kinds of objections like “you don’t need to lose weight” but that’s not the point and they don’t realize that. The point is to be healthy. This is where having your “why” written down with you helps solve that issue. Do this for yourself, not for others.
30. Have Set Guidelines for When You’re Out to Eat
You can eat at a restaurant and still have something healthy. I know the menu is tempting as you look over the burgers, pizza, and pasta but skip those sections altogether. Go in there with a plan and execute that plan. Have guidelines set for what you’re going to eat. “I want to eat protein, vegetables, and a healthy fat.” Look over the menu for something that will cover the three guidelines listed above. An easier way to do this is by looking at the menu ahead of time online, this way you’re already prepared and sometimes don’t even have to pick up the menu.
31. Sleep 6-8 Hours Per Night
Everyone is going to be different. Some people need 8 hours to feel great. Some people only need 5 hours to feel great. But 6-8 hours is a good guideline to follow as most people fall into this category. However, at the core of it, it’s not quantity as much as it is quality. If you got 6 hours of quality sleep every night I guarantee you would feel better than getting 8 hours of tossing and turning all night.
A few things you can do to improve sleep quality is to make your room as dark as possible, turn the temperature down a bit in your room, turn off all screens about an hour before you go to bed, and only use your bedroom for two things (one of them is sleep and the other isn’t to watch TV).
32. Find Your “Why”
This is similar to tip #25 but rather than reminding yourself of what your “why” is, find out first what your “why” is. This isn’t something that is going to come to you immediately. This is something where you have to sit down and really some digging into your own psyche and emotions. Your “why” shouldn’t be because you want to look better at the beach. That’s surface level. You want deeper. And if you want to make this a lifestyle, you need to dig deeper than that. Do you want to be healthy enough to be able to play with your grandchildren? Do you want to be able to walk down the aisle with your daughter or son at their wedding?
These are all very deep and emotional reasons as to why you want to be healthy but if you want to make this a lifestyle choice then you have to find your “why”.
33. Fix Your Posture
Standing up nice and tall, like there is a string attached to the top of our head pulling it up gently is uncomfortable, isn’t it? But do you know why that is? Because we’re so used to slouching our shoulders and head forward that our bodies aren’t used to this position and it’s a foreign position for us.
Next time you sit in a chair, sit up nice and tall. Check yourself in about 5 minutes because I’m willing to bet that you’re already slouched down. We all do it. But try and work on improving it to negate the negative effects it can have on our bodies later in life.
34. Make Your Food Taste Good
The standard “healthy” or “diet” meal for some reason has come to be plain, boiled chicken, rice, and broccoli. Now don’t get me wrong, if done right this can be a very good tasting meal but most people believe that you can’t season the chicken or use any condiments on the meal itself. False.
Take advantage of the fact that there are a ton of seasonings out there to pick from so you never really run out of options. My favorite right now is MOAB Provisions Maple Bacon seasoning (look them up on google). I use this on literally everything. Chicken, salmon, turkey, even beef. Also, don’t forget that you can take advantage of the natural flavors that foods like garlic, onions, peppers, and different herbs have and use them while cooking as well to flavor your food.
Oh yeah, don’t forget about condiments. There are plenty of 0 calorie or 5 calories per serving condiments such as sriracha sauce, mustard, or soy sauce that can also be added on top of your food for some added flavor.
35. Realize There are No Secrets or Shortcuts
This probably should’ve been number one because realizing this is number one, most important thing you need to realize. The market is built on becoming who you want to be in 30 days but that’s impossible. You didn’t get to where you are now in 30 days so what makes them think that they can change you back in 30 days? Also, how come you only see before and after pictures but never more pictures after the after picture? Hmmm makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
If you take nothing else away from this book please remember this point. This shit takes time. Lots of time. I’ve been at this for 6 plus years and I still struggle. I struggle some days to have the motivation to workout. I struggle some days to not eat calorie dense foods. It’s hard. But you just have to keep showing up. You have to keep putting in the time because one of these you’re going to have a breakthrough and think, “now I see why I put so much time and effort into this” because you will see the benefits.
36. Keep a Gratitude Journal
How many of you do this? I recently started doing this every single morning when I wake up. While I’m drinking my lemon water, I’ll think about the things I’m thankful for. I try and think of something new every day. It can be something little or big. But a gratitude journal allows you to slow down the pace of our crazy lives and be able to reflect on what really matters. Not what’s happening on Facebook or Instagram. But what matters most to us in our lives. Starting out on a positive note every day by doing this has made a tremendous difference in my outlook on each day.
37. Get Your Kids Involved
I can imagine how busy having kids can make our lives. I don’t mean that in a bad way but they add a whole other dynamic to the way you live our lives. You know kids are full of energy and in this “give a kid an ipad and let him sit inside all day” world that you live in today, let’s try and get our kids involved in activity. Find something they enjoy and make it so they can have fun AND enjoy the benefits of activity. I know that you don’t want any of your children to experience any health related issues early or later in life so why not ingrain in them the active lifestyle mentality now instead of making them acquire the habit later in life if they do at all.
38. Chew Slowly
We live in a crazy busy world where we rarely have time to sit down and actually enjoy a meal. 99% of the time we’re eating while trying to get ready and run out the door on the way to work at the same time. I challenge you to start creating a block of 15 minutes in your day when you eat. This way you can eat slowly, chew slowly and actually enjoy your food.
Your body doesn’t sense that it’s full until about 15 minutes after you start eating so if you chew out food slowly and take our time, you will finish our meal feeling satisfied rather than craving something sweet.
Another reason you should chew your food slowly is that it allows our body time to be able to secrete or release digestive enzymes that help breakdown our food for proper digestion and absorption. If you eat a meal in 1 minute rather than 15 minutes, you run the risk of causing bloating or not actually absorbing a lot of the nutrients that you ate because the proper enzymes weren’t given enough time to be secreted to actually digest the food.
39. Focus on What You Can Eat
This is one of the biggest things I see with people that are about to start eating healthy. The first thing they think of are the foods that they’re no longer allowed to eat. Cake, cupcakes, ice cream. You get the picture. Instead, if you shift your focus, if you shift your perspective, you can focus on what you CAN eat and this will make for a much more successful time for you. There are a ton of options that are available to you to eat, you just have to be creative and adventurous with your food choices. Don’t get stuck eating the same foods day in and day out because it will get old fast.
40. Do Yoga Once a Week
When I first got into fitness and lifting weights, I thought anyone who did yoga was a hippie or an idiot. You can’t get big muscles doing yoga. Little did I know how beneficial it can truly be for you whether you are trying to build muscle or just be a healthier person.
Not only is it great exercise for the body, but also for the mind. It allows you to escape from the issues or stressors that you might be experiencing at the time and just focus on being present with yourself, something that you rarely, if ever do. Yoga also has great benefits in terms of flexibility, balance, and even helping to reduce lower back pain. I highly recommend that everyone does this.
41. Remove Your Focus From Supplements
You might not even consider supplements and that’s great, that’s what I want. But if you are someone who uses supplements or wants to know what the best supplement is to lose weight, ask yourself what the definition of a supplement is. It’s exactly what it says. Something to be used to supplement proper exercise and nutrition habits.
Once again, due to the market (it’s not your fault), you are taught to believe that just taking a supplement will help us achieve the body we’ve always been looking for. The problem is that people start with supplements first. They start with the 1% rather than starting with your foundation, the 99%. Believe me, I’ve spent over thousands and I mean thousands of dollars on supplements and after wasting my money time and time again, I no longer us them aside from protein powder.
Even with protein powder, it’s not necessary at all. It’s basically processed protein. You can get the same benefits of drinking a protein shake that you can if you eat a chicken breast. Literally the same thing except one’s food and the other is a powder. I use it because it’s convenient and for people who don’t have time for some meals to sit down and eat, it’s great for that use. But other than that it’s not necessary whatsoever.
42. Move 2 Minutes for Every 30 Minutes That Are Spent Sitting
As I talked about earlier, trying to sit as little as possible throughout the day will provide you with a very big health benefit. However, I know some of you don’t have a choice because of your work environment and that’s ok. Instead, try and get up every 30 minutes and walk around, whether it’s to the bathroom or to get a drink, so that you’re not sedentary, staring at a screen for 2-3 hours straight.
43. Eat Salads. Lots of Them
Salads are going to be one of your easiest options for healthy meals. There are literally endless options you have with them. You can choose chicken, salmon, or steak as your protein. Then you have too many choices of vegetables that you can add on top. You can even add fruit. I love putting strawberries and blueberries on my salads. Lastly, don’t forget the dressing. Be careful here because you can really add a ton of calories here but either go for some type of greek yogurt based dressing as they’re always lower in calories as well as getting the dressing on the side.
44. Know That Not Everyone Will Support You
If you’ve been doing this for any length of time you’ve probably experienced this already. Whether it was a family member, someone at work, or maybe even your spouse. While change might be easy for you, it can be very hard for others. We’re creatures of habit and even though you know the benefits of exercise, it’s still hard to change our ways. Just know that they’re usually coming from a place of jealously because they would like to do what you’re doing but lack the discipline to do so. That’s truly what they’re expressing when they give you all sorts of objections for not eating the donuts or pizza at work.
All you can do is remember that life is short and that you need to do what is best for you and not what anyone else thinks is best. You’re doing the right thing, always remember that.
45. Keep Stress to a Minimum
Good one Ben, much easier said than done. I know you’re not going to be able to completely remove stress from life. That will never ever happen even if you were a millionaire, laying on a beach all day. Stress is a normal part of life but how you deal with it is what dictates the outcome. It’s easy to get worked up over little things but you need to think to yourself, “is this something that can wait?” or “is this something that will have an effect on me tomorrow?” and chances are that most of the time you will find that the answer to those questions is yes and no, respectively.
Also, finding an outlet or way to help relieve stress is the key to trying to keep it to a minimum. My outlet is by lifting weights but someone else’s might be with golf or yoga. The point is that most of our outlets are going to be activity based so when you’re feeling stressed, get outside and get active and I’d be willing to bet that you feel much better afterward.
46. Have Fun
This is a pretty simple one but most importantly, have fun. Don’t make this healthy lifestyle thing more of a burden than it has to be. This lifestyle should enhance your life, not overtake it. Have fun with the food you’re able to eat, have fun with the activities you take part in, have fun with the freedoms you now have due to the changes that have happened from being healthy. At the end of the day, have fun with it.
47. Understand There Will Be Ups and Downs
Things aren’t going to be perfect 24/7. Anyone can go to the gym and eat healthy when it’s easy and you feel motivated but what really matters is if you can do that when you’re feeling down or having a bad day. What you do then will truly determine whether or not you’re able to maintain these habits.
You’re also going to hit plateaus or times where you just need a break. These situations are hard because if you’re new to this you need to push through and keep moving on but if you’ve been doing this for a while it’s probably time to pull back for a few days to a week to take a “vacation” if you will, and then come back feeling refreshed in a few days.
48. Figure Out What True Hunger Is
I’m guilty of this too but we’re always hungry right? Or we’re always craving a certain food. Rather than giving in, think of why you’re craving that food or if you’re actually hungry.
In terms of hunger, most people aren’t actually hungry, they’re just bored and want to eat because the fridge is full of good food. Like I said, I’m guilty of this too and when I feel oddly hungry like if I just ate and am hungry an hour later, I’ll think of why I feel hungry and most of the time it’s because I’m not doing anything and when that happens, my mind wanders to food. The same probably is true for you so when you feel hungry at an odd time, try doing something that will take your mind off of it and I bet that the hunger will subside.
49. Get Routine Bloodwork Done
This is one thing that I’ve never considered until I started writing this book but I’m glad that I came up with it because it’s truly so important. As you age, our hormones are always changing. And usually as you age, they’re changing in a negative direction. What can happen is that, whether you’re a guy or girl, it becomes easier for us to store fat and harder for us to build muscle. This isn’t what you want.
Not only is it important to get our hormones checked but it is also important to get other health measures checked such as our fasting blood glucose, cholesterol values, and blood pressure. While these three tests aren’t an end-all-be-all for health measurements, chances are that if they’re in range then you’re a pretty healthy person. If they aren’t in range then chances are that you need to start exercising more (or at all) and eating a healthier diet.
50. Find What Works For You
Everyone is different. We all live different lives and have different dynamics that we have to account for within each of our lives. Giving a cookie cutter answer to anything fitness related is just idiotic and something you should run as far away from as you can if you come across someone giving you this information.
I love lifting weights. Other people hate it. I feel best when I get 7 hours of sleep. Others feel best on 5 hours of sleep. Everyone is different. If you don’t like lifting weights then guess what, don’t lift weights. Find what you enjoy and start doing that!
51. Focus on one habit at a time
Last, but certainly not least, the last tip is to focus on one habit at a time. “Are you crazy Ben?! You literally just listed 50 tips before this and now tell us to focus on only one at a time?!”
Yes, you heard it correctly focus on one habit at a time. As I said earlier, a lot of these tips are just the icing on the cake for your health. If you don’t have the habit of exercising routinely then you probably shouldn’t be worried about trying to use pink Himalayan salt compared to regular salt.
Start with the basics. Healthy eating and activity. Do them religiously until they become habits. When they become habits then you can move onto something else but realize that you HAVE to have these two things down pat first before anything else will work.
There you guys have it, that is all of the 51 Tips You Can Do Today To Be Healthier. Like I said, download the Checklist and make each one of them a habit for one week. After you perfect each habit, move onto the next.
Thank you for reading that as I hope you found it helpful! If you did, I would really appreciate if you shared it with one friend. One friend is all I ask for. You want to share it with two? That’s even better but one is still great!
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