There’s never a bad time to check in with your nutrition and exercise habits. In fact, it’s important to constantly check in and recommit to your goals as setbacks can sometimes be more motivating than constant success. Adopting a healthy lifestyle overall, and not hopping on the next fad diet or making drastic changes that aren’t sustainable, is the way to go.
Try implementing these four tips to make healthy eating and exercise fun and sustainable long-term:
DON’T GO TOO LONG WITHOUT EATING
When you go long periods of time without consuming any calories, your blood sugar drops. This can result in adverse symptoms, like dizziness and fatigue, and can also lead to cravings for sugar-rich foods. It’s also easy to go from one end of the spectrum (extreme hunger) to the other (extreme fullness) if you bypass hunger signals and wait too long to eat. Aim to eat meals and snacks at regular intervals, and include a balanced combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar stable for longer.
EAT COLORFUL FIBER-RICH FOODS
High-fiber diets can help protect against chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, despite the health benefits of fiber, many people don’t consume enough. Opt for more fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, which also contain other essential nutrients and phytochemicals that benefit overall health.
Including a colorful array of fruits and vegetables can spice up meals and snacks, while also keeping you full longer. To save money, consider buying frozen produce, which is flash frozen at its peak and often has a similar nutrition content to the fresh form.
EXERCISE IN A WAY THAT FEELS GOOD
Finding exercises you truly enjoy and look forward to doing is much more sustainable and will have a positive effect on both physical and mental health. Maybe that means trying a barre or a strength-training class, doing yoga at home, or going for a walk. With a variety of forms of movement to choose from, and many that can be done from the comfort of your living room, the opportunities are endless.
MAKE ROOM FOR SOCIAL TIME
While what you eat and how you move play significant roles in reaching health goals, the impact of social connection is often undervalued when thinking about longevity. But there’s plenty of research showing social connection improves physical health and psychological well-being. Spending quality time with others has also been linked to improved immunity, lower rates of anxiety and depression, improved self-esteem and a decreased risk for all-cause mortality. Instead of socializing at the bar during happy hour, try meeting a friend for an exercise class at the gym, a bike ride or a hike. Or if you prefer to cook, try making meal prep a family event.