How often do we catch ourselves saying things like “oh I should eat healthier”, “I should live healthier”, “I should take better care of myself”. But sometimes we say these things, but then enacting change feels like one of the most difficult things in the world. Often this is because we set ourselves goals that are somewhat unrealistic. If you don’t really regularly exercise, expecting yourself to suddenly be in the gym five days a week and have the body of an Olympian in a month is not a helpful goal. Equally, if you enjoy certain sugary or rich foods, being extremely strict and saying you’re going to cut everything out that isn’t a vegetable is honestly more of a punishment than a realistic achievement. But don’t take this the wrong way! We are definitely not trying to deter anyone from trying to live better and be healthy. In fact, we want to actively encourage this kind of behaviour. However, sometimes it can feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle in the bid to live a healthy lifestyle. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 easy ways for you to be healthy in a sustainable and attainable manner.
10 easy ways for you to be healthy in a sustainable and attainable manner
1. Eat from a smaller dish
The phrase “eyes bigger than stomach” actually applies to a vast majority of us and we just don’t realise. When we have a plate of food in front of us, we don’t realise that we are in fact full before we have finished. There is a part of our brain which tells us to keep going until the plate is empty. This is why sometimes as soon as you’ve finished your final bite of food, you realise that you feel absolutely stuffed. A review of 72 studies, carried out over 40 years, found that people consistently ate more food when using larger plates and when offered larger portions (1). Additionally, a 2005 study found that people who used bigger plates and bowls consumed a considerably larger amount of calories than those using smaller plates (2). As shocking as this research might seem, the answer really is quite simple and is right in front of you. Next meal time, try using a smaller plate or bowl. Adopting this habit means that you don’t have starve yourself in anyway, if you’re still hungry after finishing what’s in front of you then by all means help yourself to more. But take a moment to think about whether you are eating because you are hungry or just because the food is in front of you.
2. Add some fruit to your days Fruit is incredible and it really doesn’t get enough attention. We’re always focussing on how we can fit vegetables into our five-a-day, but fruit is the secret! Fruits are full of vitamins and minerals, as well as water and fibre. This means that as a snack they can nourish and hydrate you, but they can also keep you full between meals when sometimes we resort to eating things like crisps and biscuits which can fill us with nothing but calories. If it isn’t fruit season wherever you may be living, try looking in the supermarket for frozen fruits. They’re reasonably priced, full of all the necessary nutrients, and they’re super easy to pop into a smoothie or fruit salad.
3. Drink green tea Hot beverages are something essential to get us through the working day. But do yourself drinking cup after cup of coffee unnecessarily? Having too much of this magic java can make us feel on edge and twitchy, not to mention it’s not great for our stomachs. Enter green tea. Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink, it’s filled with antioxidants and has been linked to a longer live and a lower risk of heart disease (3).
4. Avoid sugary drinks
Drinking sugary drinks, which are often fizzy drinks, is one of the easiest ways to consume a large amount of calories without even noticing; especially if you are drinking alongside a meal. Did you know that a can of Coca-Cola contains 39g of sugar, which is the equivalent of 10 teaspoons. In moments when you find yourself reaching for a can of a sweet fizzy drink try a low calorie alternative like sparkling water with a small amount of fruit cordial.
5. Make sure you’re drinking enough water
Staying hydrated is one of the first, simple steps you must take to stay healthy. Being well-hydrated helps maintain healthy brain function, concentration, and a positive mood (4). It also makes a noticeable difference to things like eye health and skin health.
6. Consider supplements Supplements are such an easy and effective way for you to ensure that you get all the necessary daily nutrients. You may find this particularly helpful if you live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight in winter and you take vitamin D, or if there’s less fresh produce available at certain points of the year multivitamins could give you the boost you’re looking for. But taking supplements doesn’t just have to be about hitting the necessary targets, its more than surviving, its thriving. Derived from the hemp plant, CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the most popular natural supplements available today. People take CBD for a wide variety of reasons and our Full Spectrum range includes oil, capsules and cream.
7. Look after your skin
Did you know your skin is your largest organ? So if you weren’t taking proper care of it before, now is the time! You don’t have to formulate a 79 step routine that takes three hours each morning and each night, just ensure that you’re using products which are kind to your skin and moisturising once a day. You’ll be shocked how big a difference having healthy skin can make to your appearance and confidence.
8. Plan your grocery shopping
Have you ever noticed that when you try and do your grocery shopping when you’re hungry and haven’t made a list you end up leaving the supermarket with a bag full of food you can eat instantaneously (more often than not, unhealthy snacks) but nothing that actually constitutes a healthy or substantial meal. And this isn’t just an urban myth, studies have found that people who shop on an empty stomach are more likely to walk away with more high calorie foods (5). One of the best ways to do an efficient and effective grocery shop is to make a list. By making a list before hand when you are at home and you have eaten, you can look around your kitchen to see what ingredients you already have and look if there is any fresh produce which is going out of date soon - but you can avoid wasting. This way you can easily plan healthy and cost effective meals, and avoid high calorie impulse buys.
9. Go for a walk
We wake up and as a result of the current climate many of us are sitting at a computer screen in our home office - we don’t even have a commute to work any more. By the time the working day is over sometimes it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to go out for an evening stroll, we just want to relax - and this is often sitting in front of yet another screen. Try and get out and stretch your legs to get some fresh air and get your circulation flowing. One study found that people who stepped away from their desk and walked for 30 minutes three times a week had improved enthusiasm for their work and reduced stress (6).
10. Reduce evening screen time
As a society, we are all aware how indispensable our screens and portable devices are to our lives. We seem to need them to work, to communicate and to entertain ourselves. We’re not saying get rid of all the technology in your life, obviously that would be unreasonable! However, setting the simple rule of no screens an hour before bed is something we highly recommend. Consuming too much bluelight when we’re lying in bed is detrimental to our sleep health. And on top of that, being constantly plugged in to an endless stream of content sends our brains whirring and worrying about things out of our control as we lay there trying to get to sleep. Quality sleep is essential to good health.