14 realistic health tips
Let’s be real — there’s a ridiculous amount of information about health, fitness and wellbeing out there, and to be honest, it can be a little overwhelming and even confusing at times.
Now, I’ve spent a bit of time researching and I have to say sometimes it’s baffling and sometimes it’s so straightforward. I’m definitely not an expert, but I have come across a lot of common themes that are healthy, realistic, achievable, and not ridiculously restrictive… and if I’m honest… I’m going to ramble on about food for to largest part of this blog – because that’s what I love!
Drink more water.
How many times have you heard this? Honestly, your overall health depends on it! Hydrating your body does all the wonderful things you need like; It flushes the bad stuff out of your body, it makes your digestion easier, it helps maintain healthy blood pressure, it makes your skin look delightful and healthy, it can help boost your exercise performance, it can help with weight loss… honestly, water, it’s good for you.
Tip: Keep a drink bottle with you, not only is it better for the environment than using single-use plastics, but it also subconsciously encourages you to drink more!
Fibre is fantastic.
Eating a high fibre diet helps you feel full, and has been clearly shown to help with weight loss, and maintaining weight loss for the longer term. It also increases healthier gut bacteria, and helps detoxify your body of other yucky bacteria!
Fibre can be found in many healthy, unprocessed foods such as veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes etc. and it’s really easy to add these into your everyday diet!
Veggies x 1,000.
I eat a lot of vegetables – to me, they’re both versatile and delicious – full of flavour, texture and colour, they look good on a plate and they’re full of things your body needs to function well, like vitamins and minerals. Eat your veggies, enough said.
Fat is not a bad word.
It’s a bit of a taboo word, right? But chuck the word ‘healthy’ in front of it and it opens up a world of opportunities. Including healthy fats in your diet can even assist with your weight loss goals. 🤯 A few high-fat foods that are great for your health in moderation include olive oil, avocados, dark chocolate, whole eggs, oily fish, nuts and seeds – yum, right?
The other good thing about eating foods with healthy fats, as well as those that are high in protein, is that they can help you stay fuller for longer periods of time. This means you won’t desire that little unhealthy snack or other meals as often!
Eat the good stuff.
Understanding what you are putting into your body is an important step towards good health.
Your body prefers foods that nourish – where possible keep it natural and think about nutrient-dense foods. Whole foods, those that haven’t been processed or refined, are always the healthiest option!
On the other hand, processed foods are generally more energy-dense, meaning they have lots of hidden calories. If you’re looking at something pre-made in the supermarket, and it has loads of ingredients that you’re not too familiar with, it’s probably worth avoiding.
Avoid added sugars.
Now, this is trickier than you think – because not only do many processed foods contain added sugars, but so do many things on the shelves that are labelled “healthy”… so check the label!
Now, I’m really not one for dieting or checking every single label, but as a general rule of thumb, foods with lots of added sugars tend to carry low nutritional value too. So, doing simple things like avoiding (or just reducing) your intake of soft drinks, takeaways, processed foods, lollies, and sweets, is a great way to avoid gaining excess weight.
Know your carbs.
Now, carbs can be good – especially if you’re training regularly or working a high-intensity job like labouring. However, carbs are, like everything in life a little fickle, because carbs can either be refined or complex.
To put it simply, refined carbohydrates digest quickly because they are typically low in fibre, and only keep you full for a short period of time.
Complex carbohydrates keep you feeling full for a longer period of time because they typically contain more fibre and nutrients, making them way better for you!
Examples of refined carbs: white flour, pasta, soft drinks and everyone’s favourite…bread.
Examples of complex carbs: oats, ancient grains (quinoa and barley), or veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes.
Cook yourself healthy
I love going out (and boy am I missing it, thanks COVID), good food, good wine, and good company for me is the perfect combination! However, I know when I focus on cooking more at home (still occasionally with pals and a little wine for good measure) I eat far healthier.
When I cook at home I often prepare and think about my meal a little more (not to mention spend less 💸). I’ve also focused on fresh veggies, good fats, whole foods, complex carbohydrates and fibre.
Diets are drab.
So honestly, I’ve never dieted before… mostly because I just know I will crumble, but also because I don’t really believe in them!
Now, obviously, this is a personal opinion, and certain diets may well be beneficial in certain situations, but if you’re thinking of doing a diet, I’d always suggest consulting a dietician – because let’s face it, they know more than I do! Just be aware that fad diets can be very restrictive and ridiculously hard to maintain for the long term. For me, when people say they’re dieting I also think of yo-yo dieting… I’m not keen. But, like everything, it’s subjective, right?
Shopping lists are key.
Now, if you ask my mum she’ll say I’m a little crazy when it comes to lists… But let me tell you! By creating a shopping list (I use trello) and actually using it when you’re shopping means
- you’ll be in and out of the shops in a whiz
- you’ll be less likely to purchase those impulse buys (and overspend on your budget)
- and you’ll be organised and know what you’re doing for the rest of the week, and won’t have to think about it after a big day of work, training or studying – winning!
Another little trick I do when I go shopping… is avoiding the shops when I’m hungry. If I go when I’m hungry… let’s just say it’s a disaster…
Step it out.
Regular exercise is key if you’re wanting to maintain or lose weight. Many people may think that they walk a lot in their every day, but simply being more conscious of it can help! If an exercise regime sounds overwhelming, you could simply set a smaller target, like the 10,000-step goal. By moving frequently throughout the day you can boost your energy, clear your mind and refocus, improve your mood, help manage your weight, promote healthier blood pressure and cholesterol as well as reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Plus – you can literally step it out anywhere, indoors, outdoors, or on the spot, if you have to!
Moving is magic
Cardio or aerobic exercise (biking, rpm, gym classes, brisk walking, and running) is optimal for weight loss, but the problem is many people, especially me, forget to add strength training to their routines. By adding a little weight lifting routine into your regular exercise program you can help build muscle and tone your body – and that’s the dream, right?
Apparently, lifting weights can also give your metabolism a boost too, but that’s another big topic!
Now, I’ve mentioned this before and it’s like everything you do in life, yes – shoot for the stars… But if it’s not achievable, you’re going to be disheartened, and probably not hit that goal.
By understanding what you really want to achieve and setting small goals to get to your big goal you’ll be on a better track.
If keeping to your goals is a bit tricky, you can join the Strava Club, look into getting a personal trainer or a buddy to work out with (you’ll often find you’re not the only one that needs a little help keeping on track) OR maybe ask your family and friends to keep you accountable and encourage you with your goals!
The other part about keeping real with yourself is understanding that you, your sister, brother, mother, friend, colleague, and that person that you always admire at the gym are all different – and there’s no point comparing!
Instead of comparing, focus on how YOU feel and what YOU want – it’ll make your goals a lot easier to achieve and make you a lot happier!
Life would be pretty boring without a treat or two. Plus, who has really ever stuck to “I’m never drinking or eating x ever again”?
For me, saying something like this will only want me to crave whatever that forbidden food or drink is even more, encouraging an unhealthy relationship with food, so… Make time for the treats – just don’t overindulge and you’ll be fine. Right?
Remember, health and fitness goals are different for all… To be successful, it is important to do what works for you, to set achievable goals, and to enjoy how you get there!
Looking for extra motivation?
Check out the Wellness Hub it’s an online community full of motivation for all and a great place to connect with link minded people.