20 Healthy Habits That Lead to Big Results
You don't have to exercise every morning before dawn or stick to nothing but salads — these simple tips will ensure you'll be your healthiest, happiest, and most energetic yet. Even better? Being consistent with these small habit changes can lead to big results if you're looking to lose weight. Get ready to feel your best ever with these 20 simple ways to be your healthiest self yet.
Move For 30 Minutes
Every day, try to walk, run, bike, or work out for at least 30 minutes. Your mind, body, and waistline will thank you.
Make Sleep a Priority
The more you neglect your nighttime rest, the more your health will be affected. Adequate sleep is important for lowering your risk of disease, helping you lose weight, and making sure you have enough energy to tackle your to-do list. Aim for seven to nine hours a night, and stick with your goal, for better health overall.
Drink More Water
According to dietitian Julie Upton, drinking about half your weight in fluid ounces of water is a great way to ensure you stay hydrated, have energy, and even burn more calories.
Slowing down will help you relax and enjoy what you're eating. Sit down when you eat, and think about your food so you make healthier eating choices while enjoying your meals more than you would on a rushed junk-food habit.
Track Your Steps
You don't even have to invest in a fancy fitness tracker — you can track your steps with an inexpensive pedometer or a smartphone app (like the free Runtastic Pedometer app, available for Android or iPhone). Try to hit 10,000 steps every day.
Add Greens to (Almost) Anything
The more whole foods you have in your life, the better you'll feel. Add a handful of arugula to your pizza, throw some baby spinach into your next chocolate-banana smoothie, or add kale to your pot of soup. You can even blend spinach into these chocolate brownies! You'll add fiber and vitamins to keep you feeling energized and full, with almost no calories at all.
It's easy to stress out about how we look or feel and sometimes harder still to ignore the negative voices in your head. Take a day, or even an hour, to consciously tell yourself you'll stop negative, self-defeating thoughts as much as possible — you may not realize how hard you are on yourself. Here are 20 ways to be happier in no time at all.
Learn to Plank
The plank exercise requires no equipment, can be done almost anywhere, and works your entire body, especially those abs. Try this two-week plank challenge, and watch how much stronger your core will get once you devote just 30 to 60 seconds a day to planking.
You'll be in a better mood, feel more energized, and relieve your achy body with just a few seconds of stretches at your desk or on your yoga mat in the morning.
Snack on Nuts
Make your snack work for you. Opting for a high-protein snack like nuts can help tide you over until your next meal, instead of constantly grazing on snacks with empty calories like potato chips or crackers. Plus, nuts are high in heart-healthy omega-3s, which also have been shown to help shrink your waistline.
Weight training won't make you bulk up, but it will help you build metabolism-boosting muscles fast. Make it your mission to use weights for a session or two (here's how to pick the right dumbbell size if you're a beginner) — you'll burn more calories, increase bone density, and strengthen important muscles.
Go Intense (For Just a Few Seconds!)
Studies have shown that 30-second bursts of exercise, done at high intensity, can help lower cholesterol and increase cardio health. This seven-minute workout, full of bodyweight exercises done in short, intense intervals, is just right for adding to any day — no matter how busy your schedule is.
Sitting for an extended period can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of dying early. Just shifting from sitting to standing instantly helps your body be healthier, so take breaks off the couch, stand instead of sit on the bus, or move around your office more during the day.
Clear Out Junk Food
What's in your house has a big influence on what's in your mouth. Clean up your diet simply by getting rid of processed foods in your kitchen. If you ever have a craving for something, you'll have to go to the store and buy it or wait it out until the craving passes.
A soda-a-day habit can hurt your health, even if it's diet. Try to cut out soda with this 28-day soda-quitting plan, or substitute your daily soda dose with carbonated water flavored with fresh fruit instead.
Take a few minutes every day to de-stress and reenergize. Take a break from your computer, read a book before bed, or listen to music while doing nothing at all — whatever it takes to shut your mind off and decompress for a few minutes.
This week, cut up some fruits and veggies on a Sunday, so you can snack on them (with a healthy dip or alone) throughout the week. When you've got readily available foods like carrots and apple slices in your fridge, you'll be less tempted to grab higher-calorie, less-nutritious options.
Try the 80/20 Rule
For a day, try eating meals and snacks that are healthy for 80 percent of the day — then indulge for the rest of the day if you feel the urge. Swapping most of your meals for healthier options is an easy way to "diet" without feeling deprived. Check out our guide on how to eat the 80/20 way.
Cook a Meal (or Two!)
Eating out too much? The amount of fat, sodium, and calories in takeout and restaurant meals can be eye-opening. Mastering just a few simple meals that you can whip up at home every week will save you calories and make sure you're eating whole foods instead of processed ones. Here are a few fast and healthy weeknight meals for you to try.
You don't have to limit everything you eat to what's in your kitchen. Make smart decisions the next time you eat out: share a huge entrée with a friend, order a side salad to help you fill up with nutrients, and savor your favorite treat if you opt for a dessert at the end. More on how to eat healthy at a restaurant here.