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.