12 Steps Towards a Healthy Living Plan

Forget about diets. There are a million and one different diets out there telling you the ‘miracle’ way of loosing weight, keeping the weight off or staying healthy. The only consistency of diets today is that none of them work. Yes, you may loose a little weight by sticking to a diet but once you revert back to your old ways of eating the weight will just come back again. What most people need is not a diet, but a healthy eating plan. Diets do not encourage healthy eating; many will deprive you of essential nutrition and be counterproductive to long term health. You don’t need to starve yourself, you don’t have to eat calorie controlled meals, you don’t have to follow fad diets; you simply have to follow these 14 steps towards a healthy lifestyle

Step #1 – Make sure you eat some form of protein at every meal.

Protein is important in any guide to healthy eating. In the past, many diets have either told us to remove or limit protein, or ‘overdose’ on protein in our pursuit of weight loss and healthy living. Both of these are incorrect. Protein at every meal will ensure you will not overeat, which is typical of high carbohydrate diets. Protein is also essential in building and repairing muscle, which is essential to build a strong metabolism. Eating protein at every meal is important, but remember, this doesn’t mean it is the only thing you should be eating.

Step #2 – If you can’t eat protein at meal times have a protein shake.

Since it is important to have protein at every meal, it is also important to make up for the times when we can’t include protein in our diet. Protein shakes can be bought at health stores, bodybuilding suppliers, and in many supermarkets. Remember though, protein shakes are a ‘supplement’, and as such they are there to supplement an already healthy diet, not be the basis of one.

See also  The Six Best Ways to Increase Your Metabolism

Step #3 – Eat 3 meals a day.

Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Remember to have 3 substantial meals a day. Once you miss a meal your body lowers your metabolism to take into account the lack of energy in your body. Once your metabolism slows down it makes it a lot harder to loose weight and remain healthy. If you are not in the habit of having three meals a day start planning a menu for each day. It is also helpful to have designated ‘meal times’ to bring routine into your eating habits.

Step #4 – Eat more fresh fruit.

This is self explanatory. If you want a snack, have some fresh fruit. Fruit is very good for you and the fiber makes it a more substantial snack then many unhealthy alternatives. You should eat at least 2 pieces of fruit a day.

Step #5 – Eat more seasonal vegetables.

Like the last step, this one is also self explanatory. With each of your meals throughout the day, have some vegetables. There are many different ways you can eat vegetables, so be creative. Salads are easy, and cooked vegetables can be had with a lot of meals. You should eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day.

Step #6 – Eat lean cuts of meat.

Stop eating fatty meat. As well as being saturated animal fat (the worst kind), most people don’t realize how many calories and fat can be cut down by just eating leaner cuts of meat. Once you start being conscious of eating lean meat it becomes a very simple process; sometimes it may just be a matter of removing the skin off the chicken, or buying low fat mince instead of regular.

See also  Anorexia: Risks and Symptoms

Step #7 – Avoid carbohydrates after breakfast in the form of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, pumpkin and tin food.

Carbohydrates are fine, in fact, they are essential. But what we want to eat most of are complex carbohydrates, which are primarily found in fruit and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates as listed above are also fine to eat in moderation, however, they should be avoided after breakfast as they only provide short term energy which is converted into excess calories when not used.

Step #8 – Avoid Snacking… and if you need to snack, have fruit, a protein drink or untoasted walnuts or almonds.

Snacking should be avoided, as it is usually where we consume the excess calories and fat in our diet. Part of this problem is ‘snack foods’ which have become a staple in households, yet don’t have much nutritional value. If you are going to snack, stick with the above suggestions.

Step #9 – Drink lots of water.

Most people don’t drink enough water. The amount of water you should drink varies from person to person, and can be dependant on a range of different factors such as climate and physical activity. Try to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, it will help you flush toxins from your body, aid in digestion and keep your body operating efficiently.

Step #10 – Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Although it is difficult for many people to avoid caffeine and alcohol on a daily basis, I suggest you keep these to a limit of a drink a day. Preferably alcohol should be kept to less than 3 nights a week. Both of these substances can be counterproductive to good eating habits and keeping good health.

See also  Best Books for a Gluten Free Lifestyle

Step #11 – Exercise Regularly.

No healthy living guide could be complete without telling you to exercise regularly. Above all, do something that you enjoy. If you enjoy going to the gym 3 nights a week, do that. If you enjoy playing squash with your friends, do that. If you enjoy running around the block a few times in the afternoon, do that. One of the more important parts of exercising is doing something that you will continue to keep up. There is no point in buying a gym membership if you despise going to the gym. Keep in mind that the more you enjoy something, the more you will do it, so stick to exercise you enjoy.

Step #12 – Take a walk after your evening meal.

As well as getting into good habits, this one will also help you keep the weight down. It is common to over indulge during your evening meal. The problem with this is the overload of energy that will be in your body when you are doing nothing but sleeping. You don’t need all this energy whilst you are sleeping so it is beneficial to go on an evening walk after you nightly meal. If you get into the habit of doing it, it becomes a relaxing and extremely helpful tool for staying healthy.