Beginner's Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
When I first started trying to get healthy it wasn’t because I cared about dying early or feeling bad it was because I hated the way I looked in pictures. I was like, when did all this weight jump on me? As if it happened overnight. As if eating grilled stuffed burritos at 4 in the morning didn’t have some effect on my weight gain. I had to come to grips with the fact that I had let my weight get out of control. I remember one day going to the bathroom, looking down, and noticing these tiger stripes on my inner thighs. I screamed out to my girlfriend that something was afoot. “Babe, what is all this?!!” “Girl, that’s just stretch marks,” she said casually as if my life hadn’t just flashed before my eyes. I quickly got a tub of cocoa butter and got to work. Ever since then I’ve been on a roller coaster when it comes to my weight.
It wasn’t until I went to the doctor back in 2017 that things changed for me. I got my blood work done, and the doctor told me my cholesterol was way too high. It had been consistently high for four visits. That time it was extremely high. She said if it wasn’t better by the next visit I may need to get on statins. I looked at her as if she had two heads. “I’m not about to be on meds for the rest of my life doc.” And I meant that. I decided I’d better get my stuff together or I was gonna be on a slippery slope to pillville. As soon as they give you one med, they need to give you another for the side effects. I’m cool on that. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out.
If your diet is mostly packaged foods and soda it could be a lil’ rough out the gate, but you can’t be healthy eating a trash diet. The first step to changing that is to get rid of all the tempting snacks and drinks you probably have lingering in your kitchen. Make sure you keep healthy snacks just in case you do get hungry between meals. Some good options are nuts, seeds, avocado with lemon and salt, and celery sticks. Yes, you can dip them in ranch, but don’t overdo it.
Being prepared is the key when you’re trying to get healthy. If you know you’re gonna be out all day keep some healthy snacks with you. Prep your meals 2-3 days at a time. When the office has doughnut day, bring your own healthy goodies, and stay out of the lunchroom. As soon as you announce your new goals people will start offering you all sorts of trash, don’t let them get you. Take a salad for lunch instead of grabbing a burger and fries. This is an oldie, but goodie, always eat before you go food shopping. You don’t want to go off the rails before you even get started. Remember, it’s normal for your body to feel a little sluggish for the first 4-7 days of the food changes. It’s just purging all those unhealthy toxins and prepping for a new beginning.
Take baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are on the right path. When you give up all the foods you love at once it can make you feel a bit deprived, and you don’t want that. That’s a setup for failure. After a few days you will start to notice a change in your body. You will feel hungry less often. You will also notice the effects of certain foods once you know what it is like to go without them. Once you stop eating processed foods for about two weeks, I can tell you from experience that the first time you eat them again will be noticeable to your body. It may happen immediately, like a stomach or headache, or it may show up in pimple form two days later. It just depends, but you will feel something. When you begin to learn and understand how different foods affect your body, you will want to continue eating the foods that don’t have a negative response.
Drinking water is also important when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Water keeps your cells hydrated and flowing throughout your body. It doesn’t take long to reap the benefits of drinking enough of it. Just a week of being hydrated and your skin will have a new glow. I think it’s one of the reasons my black hasn’t cracked. I drink water all day long. Some people can’t stand water, but once you get used to it, it’s pretty delicious. And who doesn’t want a glow? Just sayin’. Water can also help you lose weight. Sometimes, people misinterpret thirst for hunger. Before you grab a snack, grab a cup of water and see if that takes away the urge to eat something. There are numerous guidelines for how much water to drink. 8 glasses of water each day is the most popular guideline, but many experts are saying drinking half your body weight in ounces is the way to go. So, if you weigh 180 lbs., you should be drinking 90 ounces of water per day. Try setting a reminder if you have a hard time remembering to get your ounces in.
Another thing you need to do to get healthier is to move throughout the day. We’ve been led to believe that eating healthy foods and exercising for half an hour a day will offset all the sitting down that we do, but evidence now shows that we need to move our bodies more often. Take the stairs when possible, take a walk at lunch time, and do squats throughout the day. I know I know squats, yuck, but they work. You may also notice a little lift to your booty after a while. Win win.
A healthy lifestyle seems like a confusing topic, especially when there is a new diet or exercise video going around every summer. I hope it is a little less complicated for you now. Basically, just eat whole foods, stay hydrated, and move your body throughout the day. These three things are a great first step to healthy living.