We all want to live a healthier life. Whether we actively choose to live this healthy life is another matter. When we’re faced with temptation it can be easy to want to just throw it all out the window and just stay on your sofa stuffing your face with junk food.
However what most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t have to be a struggle to live a leaner, healthier life. By making simple changes and layering healthier choices into your routine you can get yourself on the right path.
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Talk of clean eating is thrown around a lot these days. You’ll see Instagram stars raving about their overnight oats and avocado smoothies – but what does eating clean actually mean?
The idea behind it is to cut out all processed foods from your diet, leaving behind only ‘clean’ fruit, vegetables and oils. Some people choose to keep in some minimally processed foods such as whole wheat bread, brown pasta and brown rice, while others choose to cut them out completely. The choice is up to you!
While processed foods aren’t inherently evil, choosing to avoid them will help you to make healthier choices. Where possible, avoid canned, packaged and pre-prepared food — instead opt for fresh food you can make from scratch.
Making your own food allows you to control what goes in it, meaning it won’t be over-salted or contain unnecessary sugar.
If you don’t want to completely overhaul your diet, a simple way to live a healthier life is by swapping out unhealthy things for healthier options.
Take a look at what you eat on a day-to-day basis and think about how you can make healthier choices. Snacks are an area where most of us let ourselves down by choosing unhealthy processed foods. If you usually have a cookie with your coffee, think about replacing this with fruit. Chips may taste good, but are high-calorie, high-fat and high-salt.
You can easily replace these with some homemade popcorn, flavored with spices for a healthier snack. Another problem area many of us face is breakfast – it can be hard to choose healthy options when you don’t have a lot of time before you need to be out the door.
Swap your sugary cereal for porridge which will keep you going for longer with its slow-release energy. Swap breakfast bars for bananas. If you like having pancakes at the weekends, you can easily make them healthier by making these simple 2 ingredient banana pancakes.
With so many drink options these days – fizzy pop, juices, coffees and teas – water often goes by underappreciated. Simple water is an easy way to a healthier life.
Image credit: Pixabay
If you want to be lean, exercise is essential. You can gain and lose weight as much as you like by altering your diet, but only exercise will help you gain muscle. Not only that, but it will strengthen your cardivascular system, meaning that you’re healthy inside and out.
To exercise well, you need to do a mixture of cardio and strength training. Cardio benefits your overall fitness and burns calories, while strength training protects your bones and joints, and maintains muscle mass. Not only that, but both will help to boost your metabolism.
If you go to the gym, try doing 20 minutes of cardio, such as on the bike or treadmill, then around 20-40 minutes on weights. Don’t overexert yourself – listen to your body and know when it’s time to stop. Use weights and weight machines at a level where you can do around 8-12 repetitions at a time for around 3-5 sets.
If you’ve ever started a major new exercise routine, only to give it up after a couple of weeks, you’ll know that it’s hard to go all in straight away. If weight lifting doesn’t sound like your thing, or you’re not a fan of the gym in general, there are other options.
You don’t have to follow the same routine as others just because it seems like the right thing to do. It’s about finding things that you can do that you’ll be able to keep up long term. It could be finding a fun sport such as tennis or cycling. You could try doing press ups during the ad breaks of your favourite tv show. Layer in exercise into your routine in a way that you enjoy and you will be able to live a healthy life. The Lean Belly Breakthrough is a great example of a quick and easy-to-follow exercise program that won’t take up all your time.
A great way to keep your body lean and healthy is to start doing yoga. Not only is it calming, but it will also test your body in a way hardly any other exercises will do. Yoga can improve your strength and flexibility, while also helping you to burn off fat.
Different routines can help in different ways – many people do yoga as a way to alleviate back pain or to warm up their body after a long day of sitting down. It’s easy to layer in yoga to your routine: you can learn a couple of moves on YouTube and do them during your free time, or you can join a weekly class to get a proper yoga blast!
The most important part of living a healthy, lean life is to keep up the good work.
EHI Primary Care is run by Cathy, a 20-something fitness guru and yoga enthusiast. This is my blog, where I cover all sorts of topics around my healthy lifestyle.