There is a deluge of advice out there on how to live a healthier lifestyle. You can eat Paleo, do Crossfit, go vegan, and get a TRX.
But for all the theories and programs, a healthy lifestyle isn’t actually that complicated. And some of these programs do more harm than good.
A Crazy Diet
When I was a high school wrestler, I had to cut weight for matches. So, I tried all sorts of crazy dieting theories.
For several months, I was on a liquid diet of protein shakes. Another time, I ate baked potatoes for almost every meal. I also tried eating meals the size of a soft balls.
Each of these wild plans worked but I’d end up feeling like crap. For example, when I came off the liquid diet it felt like someone dropped a bomb on my body. Other diets left me so tired the feeling of my clothes irritated me.
You Did What?
When I tell people these stories they think I was nuts. Yet, you see this kind of stuff all the time in the diet and fitness world. People will do anything to try to conquer their weight.
Too often, this means making yourself miserable just to lose a few pounds. The problem is being miserable isn’t sustainable. The pursuit of health needs to be part of the pursuit of happiness. Otherwise, you’re not on the right track.
Listen to Your Body
When I came back to athletics as an adult I realized that when I lived healthier I felt healthier. I could have ice cream for breakfast but I felt bloated and sleepy. I could eat a salad for every meal, but I’d feel weak and be prone to sickness.
If I paid attention, my body would tell me if I was on the right track. I still worked out hard and sometimes I felt sore. But when I pursued a balanced path, I looked and felt much better.
Being healthy and happy doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact it shouldn’t be. The idea at the core of Mindful Fitness is that healthy, happy living is about simplicity and balance.
So here are 5 Unbelievably Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Health
1. Move Bad Food Further Away
The closer you are to food the more likely you are to eat it. So, move food out of your office and into a break room. Don’t bring food into your bedroom unless it’s for a meal. Only take half of what you normally would for dinner and leave the extra in the kitchen.
Best of all don’t buy food you don’t want to eat. If you have to move to get it, you have to think about it. This one step will increase you awareness of everything you eat.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Between every meal, eat a piece of fruit. Make half of each dinner plate some type of non-starchy vegetable. I tell all of my clients to eat more veggies. I tell myself the same thing.
Like Snacking? Eat fruit. You will get more vitamins, eat fewer calories, and feel better.
3. Never Go More Than 2 Days without Exercise
This doesn’t mean you have to lift weights or run a mile everyday. It just means you should do some intentional activity every other day. Even if it’s a 5 min walk around the office.
The habit of exercise is the first step to being active. Make it small. Make it doable. Make it happen.
4. Spend 10 Minutes a Day in Intentional Silence
Turn the radio off when doing the dishes. Turn the radio off when you pick your kids up from school. Take a 10 min walk in silence.
Listen to the sounds around you. Focus on your breath. Silence is the most nourishing practice for our minds. This habit is a key to mindful living.
Whether you are training for an Iron man or mostly sedentary, flexibility is essential. It prevents injury and helps your body be happy. Stretch every other day. Even if it’s just getting out of bed and spending five minutes bending this way and that.
Even better take a yoga class. Look around and you’ll discover many options to choose from. Take something simple and take it easy. Your body and mind will thank you.
The most amazing wisdom is usually the simplest. Being healthy isn’t complicated. Just start small and stick to it. Remember that radical change is gradual change.
5 thoughts on “Minimalist Health: 5 Unbelievably Easy Ways To Live Healthier”
WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for children eating healthy
Eating more fruit and vegetable is something that really works and give a feeling of happiness everytime. However, I never succeeded in exercising regularly. Everytime I end up stopping after a few days. Although I do walk a lot since I don’t take the subway and bus.
Making exercise part of your routine is a great way to get regular exercise. The trick is to do more of what you love. One way to do this would be to take a longer way home everyday. That way you’d be exercising more without having to add anything artificial.
Thanks for you comment and for reading my humble blog.
My only quibble with this is the use of the term ‘bad food’. There is no universally bad food.
There are some foods some people shouldn’t eat very often (diabetics should avoid high-carb snacks, for example), and there are some foods that are dangerous for some people (if you have a nut allergy, you probably don’t want any of my Caramel Turtle ice cream), but food has no moral value.
Some foods, like fruits and vegetables and lean meats, nourish the body. This varies from person to person based on their nutritional needs. Some foods, like birthday cake, nourish the spirit. This also varies from person to person based on their emotional needs.
The ideal is to eat only food that nourishes your body *and* your spirit, but as long as most of what you eat nourishes the body, and everything you eat serves one or the other in a conscious balance, you’ll be healthy physically and emotionally.
If a food doesn’t serve you, don’t demonize it; don’t call it ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘naughty’ as if it used fingerpaints on the hallway walls or pooped in your shoe. Just choose not to eat it, and recognise that someone who does choose to eat it may be feeding a condition you don’t have. For example, if you see me with a giant frosted cookie, it means I have been battling depression and slipped consistently below 400 calories a day again, and have committed to hitting 1200 calories a day without judging, shaming, or second-guessing any food choice I make, but the number of people who feel compelled to tell me how I should be eating a big salad instead because “you’ll be more depressed if you’re fat” is stunning (the number of those people who had to wash frosting out of their eyebrows is unsurprising).
Man that’s an awesome point! You nailed it! You are totally right there isn’t anything such as good or bad food. I realize that I should have said tempting food or food we don’t want to over do. I encourage my clients to enjoy the foods they love from time to time whether or not it’s high or low calorie “good” or “bad” in there minds. Saying I can’t have x will only make you want it more.
I also love your point about how we are so willing to offer advice without knowing what’s really going on. I say that it’s ok to eat a cookie to make you feel better so long as you know you are doing it and you have other ways to make yourself feel better as well.
I feel so grateful that I have awesome readers like you to keep me on track. Thank you for your comment
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