Hi, Healthy Lifestyle readers! My name is Evan and I blog at Food Makes Fun Fuel, documenting my running and - better yet - eating. I love to cook, and as I started to develop my talents I realized there were plenty of ways to build a healthier lifestyle, one ingredient at a time. Since then I've been eating better, running farther, and dishing up plenty of healthy and fun recipes for my readers to try. Most importantly, I'd stress that living healthy doesn't have to be hard. It also doesn't have to be boring. I see these as the seven simple steps it takes to reach a healthy and fun lifestyle.
Pledge to Change
The first step is the easiest, but it's also the most important; nobody changes overnight, especially not without making a conscious effort. The way towards a healthy lifestyle is by making it known that's your goal. Tell your friends; tell your family. Convince yourself that a healthy lifestyle is the path you're taking because only then will you be ready to take the next steps with confidence.
Know Your Groceries Reflect You
You're only going to eat what you bring into the house, and you're not going to eat well if you're buying the wrong foods. Instead, make sure to buy the right, whole foods to stock your kitchen. Shopping from the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh foods are kept is a good way to limit the amount of processed things you might be buying.
Keep Whole Foods at Hand
Naturally, you're only going to eat what's available to you. Instead of packing a candy bar, or relying on vending machines for snacks, carry with you fresh fruit or a whole grain granola bar when possible. Keep your kitchen full of fresh fruits and vegetables to snack on. If there are fruits on the counter and potato chips in the pantry, you're much more likely to eat the fruit just because it's there.
Make Meals from Ingredients
So often these days, a meal comes from a box or a restaurant. The best way to take health into your own hands is to start with fresh ingredients and cook for yourself. Don't have time? It doesn't have to take time. By keeping things like whole wheat sandwich bread, cooked meats, and raw vegetables handy, you can throw together a simple healthy meal with just a microwave! And - of course - if you ever feel like venturing beyond simplicity, the Internet is a great resource for healthy recipes.
Between education, work, family time, and personal time, it's easy for working out to get lost in the shuffle. But the fact is that it's just as important as a day job. The only difference is that - instead of paycheck - you're rewarded with health and years added to your life. Try scheduling in workouts before or after work a few times a week and giving them the time and energy they deserve. A good workout today has long-lasting benefits.
Build a Community
Whether it be in person or online, a supportive community can be the most encouraging force in your life. Gather friends and family to share the passion for a new, healthy lifestyle and help each other out when you reach bumps in the road. And if you feel alone at home, know that there's a great healthy living community online available via blogs, Twitter, and fitness websites with people just like you. Two of my favorites are sparkpeople.com for weight loss and dailymile.com for fitness.
Have a Goal
It's always easier to work when you're working for something, whether it be for a specific weight, body fat percentage, fitness level, or any other goal you can come up with. Last spring I aimed to complete a sub-1:40 half marathon and reached my goal on May 2nd after my second attempt. Over the summer, I've worked to increase my upper body strength with a push-up program. And for 2011, I'm setting my sights on my very first full marathon. Always having something to look forward to has kept me dedicated while enjoying healthy living.
I hope I've inspired you to grab some extra vegetables next time you're at the store. What's your favorite vegetable? I love snacking on baby carrots! And if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me at Evan@Foodmakesfunfuel.com.