Nothing looks as good.
As healthy feels.
More than ever, life in 2021 is teaching us that healthy living is where it's at. For me, having a healthy lifestyle means living in a way that raises my vibration and gives me more energy.
What Does Healthy Living Mean?
Most people would agree it's about feeling both physically and mentally well. It's about feeling comfortable and confident in and out of our clothes, feeling emotionally balanced and happy. Mentally relaxed. And physically having the energy we need to do all the things we want to do.
As we spend more time at home, finding a healthy family and work-life balance can feel tricky. But it doesn't have to. Deciding to allow it to feel easy is a key first step (winky face). In this article, I share 11 tips for living a healthier lifestyle in 2021 with small, realistic changes that make you feel good!
How to Eat Your Way to a Healthy Lifestyle
When and how much you eat depends on you, your needs, and your goals. One person might do fabulously well eating three meals plus three snacks a day. While someone else meets their goals by intermittent fasting and eating only two meals a day. But as a practicing health coach, I've discovered some tips that work well for everyone.
1. Eat Enough Protein
How to get enough protein? Aim to include a variety of protein sources in your diet: beef, lamb, chicken, lentils, salmon, eggs, raw dairy, nuts, and leafy greens are all great sources of protein.
Here are some high protein, low carbohydrate, breakfast, or brunch ideas to get you started:
- a 2-3 egg omelette with smoked salmon and/or veggies
- a bowl of Greek yoghurt with fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds
- a breakfast burrito with eggs, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese
- avocado toast with a poached egg and smoked salmon or turkey
- a smoothie made with Juice Plus+ Complete
2. Drink more water
One of the easiest ways to reach your health goals and make you feel more confident in your own skin, is to drink more water.
How to drink more water without it being boring?
- Size Matters - Put a large bottle or jug on your kitchen bench first thing in the morning and work out how many of those you need to drink to reach a goal of 2-3 litres a day. The bigger the container, the easier it can be to visualise and achieve your daily target.
- Flavour Your Water – Add slices of citrus fruits, fresh or frozen (unsugared) berries, sticks of cucumber, peeled ginger, and/or herbs such as mint, basil, and coriander.
- Drink Herbal Teas – by drinking them hot in winter and cold in summer, they can help add to and mix up the amount of water you drink.
3. Aim to eat more plants by doing things like:
- Serving up a salad before you start "cooking" dinner – you'll fill up on more of it than if you serve it alongside your meal. Over time serve more salad and less meat.
- Anytime you make veggie burgers, double or triple the amount. Freeze the leftovers for an instant snack or to crumble on top of a salad or into a pita.
- When the "Tasty, Healthy & Quick" Veggie Gods grace you with a fab new recipe, for the love of plants, write that baby down! Store it somewhere you'll quickly find it again and keep adding to this list.
4. Choose better sweets
This is a simple way to reach your health goals. While sugar might initially taste good and feel like it's boosting your mood and energy levels, it does the exact opposite.
If you want to reduce your sugar intake and keep to a healthy weight without going crazy, savour smart snack-swaps such as these:
- M&Ms -> strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
- Skittles -> bowl of berries
- Gummie Bears -> frozen diced mango
- Soda -> natural mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or berries.
- Store-bought cookies -> freshly-baked homemade ones (mix ½ cup of rolled oats, 1 overripe banana, pinch cinnamon, bake at 350 degrees for 18mins)
- Ben & Jerry's ice-cream -> luscious homemade sorbet: freeze 1 punnet of strawberries, blend together with 2 tbsp Greek Yoghurt and maple syrup to taste
- Popsicles -> small bowl of frozen grapes
5. Meal Prep
Sticking to a healthy diet, and cutting down your time in the kitchen, especially while in lockdown, is that much easier with a bit of meal prepping:
- Keep key ingredients on hand for no less than three dinners-in-a-pinch: By having ingredients like rice, cans of beans and tomatoes, some broccoli in the freezer, and dried herbs in the cupboard, you'll always be able to whip up a tasty meal with little effort.
- Chop and box your vegetables for the week all at once: Easy to do, but even easier not to do. So, do it!
- Make a bigger batch of whatever you're eating and box up half of it for another meal. Why cook every day when many meals taste even better a couple of days later.
Here are some more ideas:
- Cook larger batches of rice or grain once. Then use this as a base for your meals for the rest of the week
- Double or triple soups and casseroles and freeze what you don't eat into single or double portions for another time
- Double your stir-fries and enjoy a second helping for lunch or dinner the next day
- Before you start prepping, ask yourself can you make a bigger portion of this and freeze the rest for a later time
How to Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Lifestyle
Hands up if you've been thinking you have to work out 4-5 times a week for 60 minutes a pop to see and maintain results?
Cue the fireworks! That ain't true! Having a fit bod doesn't need to take any more than 15-20mins a day, 3 times a week. The trick is in the effectiveness of the physical activity you choose.
6. Jump-start your fitness with just 10 mins a day in the comfort of your own lounge room!
Have a look online for free online home workouts you can do that target key body areas, such as Butt and Thighs, Upper Body, or Abs. As well and yoga and pilates.
Of course, if you're up for more than 10 mins, you can challenge yourself to all types of duration and intensity.
No matter what you want to achieve, you'll always get there faster if you enjoy it. And nothing is truer than when it comes to fitness and creating a healthy body!
7. Start with what you enjoy
Instead of starting with what you think you "should do," start with what feels good. Workouts ain't your thing? They don't have to be. The idea is to simply start "moving" more, stick with it, and don't quit.
Grab the playlist that never fails to make you smile, a pair of comfy shoes, and simply start to move. Perhaps it's only around your lounge room, maybe you make it outside… just do it for 10mins and see where it takes you.
Here are my go-to tips for making the most of your workout time:
- Start with what you enjoy
- Build up your consistency, then your intensity
- When you're ready to take it up a notch, focus on HIIT workouts
High-Intensity Interval Training is a fast-paced workout that alternates between intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods.
And yes! You can have a look online for all kinds of 10 min HIIT workouts.
How to Sleep Your Way to a Healthier Lifestyle
Sleep is our magic tonic. A good night's sleep doesn't only help banish under-eye circles. It affects the way we feel on a cellular, physical, mental, and emotional level.
Life simply feels easier to handle after a good night's sleep. And when you turn that into a consistent habit, you set yourself up to smash your goals and live a life you love!
8. Get into bed no later than 10:30pm each night
Good consistent sleep for most of us means getting into bed by 10.30pm. Doing so gives us some deeply nourishing "before midnight" time and a minimum of 7.5hours before we have to get up.
If you have to get up earlier - get to bed earlier and start your wind-down time for an hour before that.
Make a commitment to get into bed by 10.30pm at the latest – place a reminder on your phone for wind-down time to start at 9.30pm each night.
Too many of us are trying to squeeze out every last drop of productivity from our days. Closing the laptop seconds before brushing our teeth or answering one last email or text from bed.
And then, we expect to fall asleep immediately and stay asleep for a designated number of hours. Guess what? Our bodies don't work like that. At least not long-term.
Think about it this way – your brain needs a little foreplay to fall asleep. And answering work emails or reviewing one last excel spreadsheet is NOT sexy. Especially when we're currently working and doing everything else at HOME.
Instead, gift yourself an hour. Half an hour. Or even just fifteen minutes of wind down time away from your devices before snuggling under.
9. Deep-sleep worthy wind-down suggestions that help to separate your work and home life include:
- taking an Epsom salt bath by candlelight
- removing clutter from your bedroom
- spraying a little lavender essential oil on your pillow
- reading a calming paper book in bed
- doing a gratitude practice
- or simply shutting down the electronics and sitting in your living room, listening to relaxing music
When you bring intention to winding down, it lets your brain know it's time to transition into a different mindset. One that's ready to transport us to the land of rejuvenating ZZZ's.
How a Healthy Lifestyle Affects Your Mental Health
For me, this where everything comes together. Having a healthy lifestyle not only has you loving the skin you're in. It will also have you feeling mentally well, emotionally balanced, happy, and relaxed.
But in 2021, when we're living and working from home and looking after kids, cooking and cleaning… what often comes last is taking the time out to look after ourselves.
Practising a little self-care and mindfulness goes a l-o-n-g way and takes a healthy lifestyle to the next level. Time is our greatest asset, and when we're intentional in how we use it, we have a better chance of living the life we want. How you start each day plays a big role in being intentional.
10. Start each day with 15 minutes of YOU time
Here's how to make one simple change to set yourself up for your entire day.
When you wake up, forget reaching for your phone, checking email, or your social media feeds for at least the first 15 minutes of your morning. Instead, focus just on you.
Spending time alone first thing in the morning helps you reboot your brain, improve your concentration and productivity.
Here's how: grab your notebook and spend some moments reflecting on:
1) Things you are grateful for in your life. Name at least one thing that went better than expected in the last 24 hours
2) Write out the 2-3 things you want to achieve today. Visualise yourself completing these tasks with ease and how good it feels to get them done!
Get into a rhythm of doing this each morning and feel your mood soar.
11. Keep a book of evidence
Use a new notebook (or a "notes" app on your phone) to declare each daily accomplishment that takes you one step closer to achieving your #HealthyGoals.
Your daily accomplishments might include things like:
- Ate healthier
- Used my essential oils vaporizer
- Made green juice
- Prepped meals and snacks for tomorrow
- Did a workout
- Got up early
- Caught the sunset
- Read a chapter of X book
- Sat and did nothing but breathe deeply for 5 mins
Refer back to your book of evidence often. Especially when being cooped up at home gets the better of you.
This is an excellent tool for building self-confidence around doing hard things – proving to yourself life is on the right track and that you are indeed bringing your dreams to life. Lockdown or not.
Keeping daily entries in a Book of Evidence keeps your dominant thoughts on a positive mindset path. You get more of what you look for in life, so why not shape it for the healthy mind, body, and lifestyle that you want!