1. Don’t keep “bad for you foods” at home.
People despise coming to visit me when they realize what I keep in my fridge and cabinet — which is not a whole lot of comfort food. In the first place, I don’t have a lot of food because I live alone but more than that, I don’t keep bad foods in my apartment because like a lot of people, I am prone to eating when happy, when sad, when busy, when bored, etc. So at 11p.m., when the munchies start, you know what I have to eat? Apples and carrots, maybe Wheat Thins, but not peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that I strategically avoid because I know the whole box/bag shall be eaten.
2. Know thyself.
This is key when it comes to taking care of your health. I mentioned I don’t buy whole boxes of cookies because I know I have no self-control around them. One of my brothers actually calls me “Cookie Monster” because Lord knows if they are available in numbers before me and my stomach, I shall eat them in numbers. Being a runner, I also know I have a tendency to carb load unnecessarily, so to curtail that mentality, I limit the amounts of carbs I buy. For example, I can’t tell you the last time I bought a whole loaf of bread. Living close to Trader Joe’s, if I know I need bread for a meal, I’ll buy a roll for that specific meal. It’s a pain in the rear sometimes but it’s effective.
3. Don’t deprive yourself.
Despite having strategies for limiting the bad foods you consume, I am strongly against diet mentalities. Now I wholeheartedly believe in giving things up for periods of time to challenge your mentality and free yourself from being addicted to cravings. But do not deny yourself entire foods and food groups unless of course you choose to adopt certain lifestyle such as vegetarianism or veganism. I know this is blasphemy on the internet but I genuinely do not care for meat, especially bacon, and given that it is pure fat, I just cannot justify consuming it habitually. But, maybe three or four times a year, I’ll have it. One of the times was last week when I went to an event that served AMAZING bacon-wrapped dates.
4. Cook more.
I struggle with this. I openly admit it. Cooking for one is just so hard! I have unashamedly eaten Trader Joe’s Gummy Bears for dinner once. I’m not proud of it but even the strongest of us are weak sometimes! Okay, I’m done justifying it. Anyway cooking more not only helps your budget, (unless of course you are pouring your entire earnings into Whole Foods) but the process of cooking, in my experience, makes one more conscious of what you’re putting inside of your body. Taking time to plan your meals for the week ahead of time also helps. And don’t tell me you can’t cook — if you can read, you can cook.
5. Carry a water bottle with you.
In the first place, people do not drink enough water. We lost a lot of water just from being alive daily and we need to replenish it, Beyond that water makes food digest better and often times when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just dehydrated so drink up. Okay, I’ll get off my 6th grade science soapbox. Carrying a water bottle is not only environmentally friendly; it is a constant reminder that you should be consuming the earth’s natural beverage. And well, you should be.
6. Workout how you like to workout.
I have become very compassionate that working out is really difficult for some people. I won’t lie — it used to seem like the silliest thing to me. I’ve always been active and I am one of those people who would rather run five extra miles and eat more, than eat less and not workout. The thing about working out is that unless you are a health nut and you just love it in and of itself, you have to find what’s right for you. There are literally a plethora of workout formats these days that you will probably like — you just have to find one. And if working out with people is just too intimidating, walking, sit ups, pushups, and squats are free wherever you go. As for your “why” for working out, you have to find that on your own. The only nugget of encouragement I have for you is this: If you’re relatively healthy now and your body functions without too much difficulty, if you lose your legs, your arms, your limbs, or get some rare disease one day that prevents you from being active, you would literally give almost anything to be able to do something physical. Appreciate what your body is capable of doing right now and use it.
7. Accentuate the positive.
In discussions about health, I often find that people forget to mention the importance of not only physical health but mental health. For me, it’s a lot of religious reading or inspiring blogs on the internet or simply texting my mum, who always ends each conversation with some form of “Have a blessed day.” Or “Remain blessed.” (I do love that woman.) The truth is there is so much negativity as we go about our daily lives — in the news, maybe at work, online, maybe even among our inner circles and closer to home. Learn to actively engage in reading, learning, and experiencing things that inspire you throughout the day because this thing we call “being healthy,” it’s not just about looking good or feeling good, it’s about living the best possible way, each day.