4 Tips for Healthy Living


Over the past year, I've seen more and more articles on cleaner eating and diet fads; and while those can be effective, I think it can get overwhelming if you focus on it too much.

I sincerely admire the discipline of those who diet and count calories, and I don't think diets are a bad thing. But I also think the idea of dieting implies that it's something you're doing for a season. I'm no nutritionist, but it seems like for there to be long-term changes, you need to adapt your lifestyle until it's no longer a diet but simply the way you eat, the way you exercise, the way you live.

What I would like to do in this post is share a few tips for healthy living. These are all things I practice, and each one keeps me feeling healthy. My point here is that you don't have to go crazy thinking about every single calorie you're putting in your mouth. All it takes are a few simple changes that, over time, lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

[ Stop Eating Fast Food ]

Jordan and I rarely eat out, especially fast food like Arby's or McDonald's or Carl's Jr or any other place like that. When we do eat out, it's to a place like Qdoba or Panera or Jimmy John's--fast food but not greasy processed crap.

When you're eating fast food all the time, you don't notice how disgusting it really is, but when you don't eat it a lot, your body can tell. We stopped at a Whataburger a few months ago for a quick burger on our way to Texas, and within 20 minutes both of us felt nauseous. This is not because Whataburger gave us food poisoning; it's because it was greasy and nasty, and our body said why did you do this to meeeeeee?

Cooking your own food takes a bit more work, but it's so much healthier and tastes better too! Plus, there are a lot of recipes you can make quickly at home that are good for you and cost effective. Try cauliflower pasta or one of our favorites: the chicken & rice bowl. I can put both of these together in about 20 minutes, and they are delicious and healthy and cheap!
[ Stop Drinking Pop ]

I like the occasional Sprite or Cherry Coke, but usually I go for a tall glass of water. I think if you're going to waste calories, at least waste them on cupcakes and chocolate. Not a can of liquid that has been proven to strip rust off a nail. THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT IS DOING TO YOUR INSIDES!

Pop is not only an expensive addiction (have you ever tried adding up how much you spend on pop? Water is free, people!), but it's not doing your healthy lifestyle any good. Just say no.
[ Drink Water ]

This seems like a repeat of #2, but it isn't. There are many liquids that are better than pop. I myself love me some skim milk. But water is absolutely necessary to a healthy lifestyle. After a night of sleep, you are dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water immediately upon waking will give you a good boost to start the day off right. You can have your coffee too, but do you drink water first thing in the morning?

Something else to try is lemon water. I read on Life of the Lane blog about the healthy benefits of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning. Quoting from her post, she says drinking lemon water:
  • aids digestion
  • cleanses your system
  • clears your skin
  • speeds up your metabolism 
  • balances your pH levels
  • gets you energized
  • boots your immune system 
I've been trying to drink hot lemon water, and while I don't know if I've noticed a difference, it's also not doing me any harm, and it actually tastes really good!

Keep a water bottle or large glass at your desk at work. Make yourself take sips throughout the day, and if you have to, set an alarm or reminder on your phone. If you think water by itself is boring, try adding lemon (as previously mentioned), cucumber, lime, or even the occasional Crystle Light packet. They have individual packets you can carry in your purse or keep in your car that taste delicious!

[ Stay Active ]

It's been almost 3 years of marriage, and Jordan is just now getting used to my tendency to start doing lunges or stretches or crunches while we're watching TV. Listen: there are ways to stay active even when you're being lazy! 

-Do jumping jacks during each commercial break. 
-Sit on the floor instead of the couch and do crunches or stretch while you're watching a movie.
-Park farther away from the store so you walk a little bit more.
-Take the stairs

These things by themselves don't seem like much, but together they equal a lifestyle change you can be proud of. Here's the healthier living in 2014!

Additional Reads on Healthy Eating

How to Start Eating Healthy from Kelsea

*This post is not intended to give medical advice. 
These are my personal opinions from my own experience.
* * *

What are your thoughts on dieting?
Do you have any other healthy living tips to share?
Claudz said...

Great tips. We avoid junk food and drink very little soda. I make sure I get enough water every day (have a bottle at my desk so no excuses) but exercise.....need to do more of that...

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife said...

I so agree with your idea that it is all about lifestyle choices not fad choices. We try and only have soda when we are doing an at home movie date night sorta of thing and it makes it feel special but the bottle usually goes flat before we finish it!

Robyn B said...

you're so right, it is all about lifestyle! not going on a "diet" (with no exercise) but actually changing a lifestyle you can maintain! love these tips cause they are so true! i'm trying to get my husband off the soda and onto water!

17 Perth said...

You are so dead on here! I spent years battling body image and unhealthy eating habits. Diets for me, don't work! It is all about a lifestyle change...and as soon as I began to think about (aka mature! lol) what certain foods did and didn't do for my body, as a runner, it was "ding, ding, ding....light bulb moment!". I literally can barely eat fast food. It freaks me out! Bahaha. Funny--but oh so true. For me, packing ahead of time is key!

Tracy said...

I like the Snapple peach tea singles for my water bottles. I think it tastes just like a snapple but my husband disagrees. I wish I could get him to stop drinking soda but that's a lost cause I'm afraid.

Kelsea said...

I totally agree! Fad diets or strict regulating is just a recipe for burnout and relapse. It's got to be an entire lifestyle thing, and when it becomes that, it's so much more relaxing and enjoyable to eat what you know is good without freaking out about numbers. Thanks for including my link! :)

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

I couldn't agree more. Small changes make them feel like lifestyle changes versus a complete overhaul too. I think eat more veggies is a good tip. They are so much lower in calories and eating them at every meal helps me feel fuller longer.

Allie @ Everyday Adventures said...

What's funny is that I only started doing a lot of these things because money got a little tight — I stopped drinking my beloved Dr.Pepper in college because water was free, and I started cooking at home more in the past year or so because we were spending wayyyy too much on fast food every month! On the other hand, I don't believe in dieting, because saying I can't have a certain food just makes me want it constantly, and it seems to me it's more about intentional deprivation than health.

Anonymous said...

Love lemon water. These are all great tips!

Kate said...

Ha. You say "pop". Definitely not a southern. :P

Regardless, I completely, completely, completely agree with all of these. I gained more weight in my 2 years of graduate school than I did my 4 years of undergrad because I had to eat so much dang fast food while on the go. I try not to let fast food be a part of my diet more than one or two times a month.
And for #2. Every time I think about picking up any kind of soda/pop/Coke/soft drink, I think, "I don't even like these THAT much. I'd much rather have cake." I mean.. SO MANY EMPTY CALORIES that I don't even love. But cake? I love cake.

Sarah said...

Yes yes yes to all of this!! We also grabbed fries the other in a fit of hurriedness and immediately felt sick.

I am also a fan of lemon water!

Per @ Perky Thoughts said...

Great tips! Imma try the lemon water for sure! I'll make my husband do jumping jacks with me too while watching The Vampire Diaries on Netflix :p

Susannah said...

These are some fabulous tips! I definitely do some of them but others - like drinking water and staying active - I need to work on!

Anonymous said...

So so true! Small lifestyle changes are much more effective than drastic, unsustainable diets. The little stuff adds up and they are so much more fun than torturous fads.


Jena Roach said...

But... but... I love soda.

Holly said...

These are SUCH great tips!!! I'm happy to say that I have done all of these, but more so within the last year. It makes a huge difference on your lifestyle. And that's just it--I have never liked the word 'diet' because it's just stupid. I agree with you 100%--it should be about changing your lifestyle, not just trying to lose weight or do something different for a small amount of time. And it really is amazing what your body decides to reject when you haven't had it for a long time!!

Beka @ Sunshine to the Square Inch said...

I like all your advice. I think the key is lifestyle verses fads. Right now everyone in my 'fitness' world is screaming Paleo's praises. Me? nah! Balance is key =) Also, I just recently read about drinking water the minute you get up and it does make a big difference. I personally like a pretty fun water jug. It's more fun to drink water that way.

Z said...

My big health goal in 2014 is drinking more water and less...everything else. True, I do drink a lot of chocolate milk (healthy if low fat) and juice (healthy if 100% juice)...but do they usually hit either of those "healthy" benchmarks. Anyway, you can't go wrong with water and especially during the summer that's an easy switch.

Niken said...

i rarely eat things like McD or KFC. i had a period of time when addicted to coca-cola, but i finally gave that up years ago. ha. 2 things that i'm lacking are cooking by my self and work out. oops.

Casey Aslan said...

Can you come "boot camp" me back into gear? I'm so guilty on the coke thing…I love that you call it "pop" but I'm sooooo addicted…bad news bears, I know.

Amber Marie said...

I completely agree with all the tips in this post! I think it was about a year or so ago that I had the epiphany that eating right with occasional indulgences is 1000x's more effective than any diet plan. The tip I would add is make a your eating habits more plant-based. I love red meat and chicken is awesome, too, but I noticed when I limited my meat dominate meals to only a few times a week instead of the majority of the week, I slimmed way down and just generally felt better. The protein and iron in meat is definitely important, especially for us runners, but it's all about portion intake. Plus it saves a lot more money to only have to make one or two meat purchases each week!

Unknown said...

I've got the first 3 down. I just need to work on the last one Ugh! Thanks for visiting The Weir house, my love!

Rachel said...

I don't eat fast food (primarily because I don't like any of it, even as a kid I would cry if my parents took us to McD's) , I drink a lot of water and pop maybe once every couple weeks...but the staying regularly active part is what I really could use work on!