Everyone has a unique and complicated health journey. Between the phases of intense determination to be fit and the unmotivated slumps, ‘healthy’ can seem unattainable. Yet, healthy is different for everyone. Each individual has different health goals, body types and interests.
I believe the key to a healthy lifestyle is balance. Indeed, the definition of health according to the World Health Organisation, “is a state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. To me, these key areas all need to be in sync and intertwined in order to feel a sense of complete well-being.
Below are my top tips for losing weight and maintaining a balanced lifestyle:
- Eating small meals throughout the day: Eating smaller meals more frequently allows your metabolism to stay active.Your metabolism is the mass sum of chemical reactions within your body. By elevating this with regular nutritious meals, a steady stream of glucose is released to balance blood sugar levels, ensuring that you feel fuller for longer. For this reason, it’s crucial a nutritious high protein breakfast is included in your daily eating habits. After being in caloric deficit for 7-10 hours, your body needs fuel to get itself through the day. By denying our body essential nutrients, blood sugar levels remain lower, leaving you more likely to be angry, frustrated and anxious as well as over eat at the next meal.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking water not only leaves you feeling refreshed, studies have shown that it can increase your resting energy expenditure by 24-30% (1). Having a glass of water with every meal will also replace sugary drinks such as juice or soft drink. These beverages are high in extra unwanted calories that can quickly add up.
- Schedule exercise: Just like any other appointment, you should commit yourself to a certain time frame to exercise. By doing so, you are more likely to feel ready to exercise and commit to that time to strengthen and tone your body. Additionally, scheduling time to exercise with a friend or at a group class can help maintain enthusiasm for exercising as it can be a more enjoyable, social activity as well as motivate you to attend, as someone else is relying on you.
- Do what you enjoy: The key to physical activity is finding something you love. There are hundreds of different exercises to try. I would recommend giving as many as possible a go before you find one that you love. If you enjoy the activity, exercise becomes less of a chore and more engaging. Moreover, by finding something you enjoy you’re more likely to persist with it and set small challenges, helping you to feel accomplished on your health journey.
- Regulate your mindset: So often we get caught in labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, which is detrimental to a balanced lifestyle. Our well-being can suffer from this labelling, as often it can lead to feelings of guilt, shame and regret. Instead, become educated on the benefits of eating a wholesome diet whilst realising it is okay to have a treat every once in a while.
- Find inspiration: An instagram search of the term, ‘fitspo’, can conjure up mass motivation to be healthy. By utilising these images it provides a visual incentive to engage in healthy practises, futhering your weight loss goal. However, take this tip with a grain of salt. The old saying goes, “comparison is the thief of joy”, and these photos should only be used as healthy motivation, not as a source of self degregation or unrealistic expectations.
- Have a regular sleep pattern: Hitting the sack can be just as important as your diet and exercise in maintaing a healthy weight. For one, it stops late night snacking which is often a source of unwanted extra calories. Additionally, it also reduces the level of cortisol within the body. When you lack quality sleep, stress levels increase drastically which in turn, increases fat storage and the likelihood of unhealthy snacking.
I hope you found these tips helpful!
I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.