How to Start Living a Healthy Lifestyle

How to Start Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about eating healthy and exercising – it’s about creating a healthy mind and body. It’s not about restriction or a strict routine, it’s all about balance. There have been points in my life that where negligence has caused stress, poor health and the inability to cope with the demands of my daily life. It’s a terrible place to be and often so hard to crawl out of.

The hardest part about creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself is starting. It can be overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It all begins with small changes.

These changes are the building blocks of your lifestyle – starting your day with a healthy breakfast, going to sleep an hour earlier to wake up half an hour earlier to workout, choosing fruit over chocolate at lunch but enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day, or walking an extra mile after work. These are the things that make a difference, and that cultivate a healthy and happy life.

If you’re struggling with stress, weight gain, or a lack of motivation, I hope this post will help you in some way. There’s going to be a bigger focus on wellness here on Sunday Chapter, to help you guys start living the healthiest & happiest life possible. I’m so excited to share this post as one of the first in the series!

IMG_4150
IMG_4153

A nutritious start

I’m a firm believer that your morning sets the tone of your day. If it begins in a panic or rushed haze, then it’s hard to snap out of it and for me, it will only ever lead to negative thoughts throughout the day. I am by no means a morning person, but breakfast still happens to be my favourite meal of the day. The thought of coffee and food is literally what gets me out of bed. Your breakfast should be nourishing and filling, something that leaves you energized and ready to tackle the days challenges.

Sometimes I’ll opt for eggs with avocado or a smoothie bowl, but since it’s still Winter, I’ve been loving oatmeal. Oats are one thing I barely manage a day without, whether it be in the form of oatmeal or these muffins, they’re a staple in my diet. I’ve previously shared a recipe for my favourite banana bread overnight oats, but sometimes you just want a big bowl of steaming hot oatmeal, you know?

My favourite kind of oatmeal is banana and blueberry with a twist. When you’re cooking the oatmeal, chop and add in the bananas in the last five minutes of it still cooking. It gives it the most incredible taste and I promise you wont need any sweetener! I’ve left the recipe below if you guys want to give it a try.

Ingredients:

40g rolled or steel cut oats
handful of frozen blueberries
1 small banana
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup of water
cinnamon

Directions:

Add the oats with water in a small saucepan. Heat on medium for about 5 minutes and then start adding in the milk. I usually don’t measure how much milk I put in, I estimate by the consistency of the oats. Sometimes I’ll add in 1/2 cup if I’m feeling it creamier that day.

Cook for another 3-4 minutes, then slice the banana and add it in. By this point, I usually add a splash of more milk and cook for up to 5 more minutes.

Sprinkle some cinnamon, frozen blueberries, chia seeds and any other toppings you prefer (I also love chocolate or vanilla protein powder!) and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee!

IMG_4171-2

IMG_4853

Incorporate fitness into your everyday routine

My relationship with fitness hasn’t always been the best. Working out is still not something I particularly look forward to, but I know it’s something I HAVE to include in my routine. It’s almost like brushing my teeth – I feel guilty if I don’t do it. It’s a habit now. I aim to workout 5-6 days a week, even if it’s just for 20 minutes.

After putting it off for SO long, joining a gym was the best thing I ever did. I would encourage everyone to do the same and take advantage of what they have to offer too, including classes, swimming, PT sessions, nutritionists, etc. These things help your mental health as much as your physical health. The more active I am, the happier I feel.

I also understand the gym may not be for everyone. Choosing the right activity for you is important because if you keep pushing yourself to do something you hate, chances are you’ll burn out. Perhaps running outdoors is more suited to you, or something more chilled like Pilates, or body-weight training, boxing, etc. Explore your options! In the end, you only have something to gain.

Besides setting aside time each day to workout, there’s other small changes you can do to be fitter. Get off the bus a stop earlier to walk, take the stairs instead of the lift, park further away, or get up 5 minutes earlier to fit in a quick workout. Don’t underestimate the importance of these small things. These things all add up in the end!

IMG_2242
IMG_2241

Positive surroundings

You might’ve noticed me say many times in previous posts that “you are what you surround yourself with” because it’s something I truly believe in. If you’re surrounded by negativity and people with closed minds then that is what you’re going to reflect. Of course this doesn’t apply for only people, positive surroundings are found in the form of everything. Those small things that make up your day, like fresh flowers sitting at your desk, a perfect cup of coffee, finding jeans that fit seamlessly, or framing some positive affirmations, are all things that attribute to your positive mindset. The environment is powerful in shaping our behavior. What kind of positivity do you surround yourself with?

Healthier eating habits

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. I like to think of it as champagne in one hand, and a green juice in the other. It’s a balancing act. I follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating because a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about sticking to clean foods all the time, it’s also about allowing time to let yourself indulge. With the 80/20 rule, I eat clean 80% of the time, and let go a little for the other 20%. If you ate crap 100% of the time, you would feel like crap, and if you ate clean 100% of the time, what a bore that would be.

You can still live a healthy lifestyle and diet by eating chocolate and ice cream, as long as it’s all in moderation. Moderation is key.

If you’re just starting to get into healthy eating, I would suggest writing down everything you eat and trying to meal prep where possible. Meal prepping isn’t my favourite thing in the world, but it’s still something I try to do during the week. If you guys would like to see some of my meal plans or what I eat in a day, let me know in the comments!

A few tips that also might help healthy eating habits:

• Fill your kitchen with healthy food and don’t shop on an empty stomach
• Use an app to track your diet/progress (I LOVE MyFitnessPal)
• Use a scale to weigh your food (this has helped me tremendously – It helped me learn about correct portion sizes)
• Invest in some healthy cookbooks
• Never, ever skip breakfast
• Sit down to eat
• Try to include a side of vegetables with lunch and dinner
• Carry protein-rich snacks with you to avoid buying unhealthy/vending machine snacks
• Don’t forget to drink 2-3 litres of water a day
• Do healthy food swaps (eg whole wheat > white bread, brown pasta > white pasta, lemon & olive oil > store-bought dressing)
• Drink more tea! Peppermint and Green tea are great for your metabolism and appetite

Untitled-5

Sleep schedule

I am a complete different person when I’m running on less than 7 hours sleep. I just don’t function. I am to get around 8-9 hours a night as sleep plays the biggest role in both your physical and mental health. Did you know ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stress, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke?! Another fun fact: Even if you eat the exact same diet as your friend, if you’re not getting the sleep your body needs, you won’t drop as much fat as them.

Sleep is like the glue that holds your life together.

Sleep controls your diet, your mood, your productivity and pretty much your overall day. You should be working with your body clock by falling asleep and waking up at the same time everyday. If you have trouble sleeping, I would encourage you to do some research into why that is. I’ve had a lot of trouble with my sleeping pattern in the past and attributed it to a crap diet and not enough exercise. Lack of sleep makes you crave bad food (usually sugar or carbs) and sabotages your motivation to workout, which then causes a difficulty in falling asleep. It’s really just a downward spiral.

Shop the post

Do you try to live a healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear any feedback or questions you guys might have!

Save

Save

Save

  • S Jones

    Loved this post! I’ve been trying to transition to a more healthy lifestyle lately and these tips have definitely helped x

    Blushhx

    • Oh YAY that makes me SO happy – thank you!! xx

  • such a beautiful post. i just started completely changing my lifestyle as i have never been happy with my body and its time to change that. breakfast is actually my favourite meal of the day. i get so dizzy and tired if i skip it.

    loovelle.blogspot.com

    • Aw thank you Elena :) so kind of you. I’m so proud of you for making a change! The start is always the hardest. I have lots of wellness posts coming your way that I hope will help keep you motivated. And yesss I literally cannot function without breakfast! xx

  • Sheridan Grady

    Such a great post and really great tips! I need to try those oats definitely! x

    http://www.shayholly.co.uk

    • Thank you so so much! The oats are SO GOOD! Craving them now (but I’m always craving them haha) xx

  • I like how detailed this post is, I really enjoyed reading it. So helpful! Thank you x

    Lynn | http://www.nexttolondon.com

    • Thank you so much Lynn! Means so much to me!! :) xx

  • Definitely saving this, I’m gone way off track this year!

    Hannah | Oh January

    • Thank you!! So happy it could help. & don’t worry, so many of us have gone off track this year (found myself eating an entire ice cream tub to myself at one point.. ? LOL) Lots more wellness posts coming your way <3

  • I’m really looking forward to more health and wellness posts from you! I’ve had a rough time this year and the last few weeks, I’ve decided to make a change. This post is really helpful and I will be using some of your tips. :)
    Kiersten

    • Ooh I’m working on heaps – stay tuned :) I know the feeling. It’s so hard getting back into it after time off so I hope I can help motivate you a bit! The start is ALWAYS the hardest. Always appreciate your comments Kiersten! xx

  • These are great tips! I’m definitely going to try the overnight oats recipe.

    Carrie | http://carrieelise.com/

    • Thanks so much Carrie!! They’re insannnne – you have to try!! Let me know if you do :) xx

  • Emma Humphrey

    Such a helpful post, thank you! I’ve gone off track recently but want to get back on it! Can’t wait to see more health and wellness posts and would LOVE to see a ‘What I Eat in a Day’ type post! xx

    http://www.colourmecopper.com

    • Thanks so much Emma! So many people have gone off track lately (myself included – there were a lot of pizza & wine nights this year haha). Currently working on a what I eat in a day post & lots more wellness posts :) ! xx

  • This is such a helpful and inspiring post! I too don’t particularly look forward to exercising but I definitely notice an improvement in my mood when I get a workout in!

    xo, Liz
    http://lipstickandconfetti.com

    • Thank you Liz :) Yes! I’m exactly the same. You never regret a workout! The hardest part is just getting started! xx

  • I’ve been slowly getting back into the healthy lifestyle and this post was so helpful and motivating! I loved reading your post!

    xoxo, Truc
    http://livingblissfullybalance.weebly.com/

    • Oh yay thank you Truc! So so sweet of you to say. Many more wellness posts coming your way :) xx

  • This was such a wonderful post, thank you so much for it!
    I especially loved the “Sleep is like the glue that holds your life together”. It just gives me an additional excuse to really oversleep this weekend :)
    Allie | RainyAllie

    • Aw you’re welcome, thank you for reading! Haha yes!! It truly is. Everything works better when we’re getting enough sleep :) xx

  • Lys

    Very helpful tips! I just got to a point in my life where I’m determined to live healthier by changing my diet and being more active (currently looking for a sport I like!). Looking forward to more of your wellness posts!

    • Congrats on making the change, Lys!! Very proud of you :) many more wellness posts coming your way – hopefully they can help keep you motivated!! xx

  • Love this post! And exactly what I needed to read after coming off a two week vacation where I ate and drank without a care in the world haha back to healthy foods and loads of water for me!

    • Haha that was me when I returned from Europe just over a month ago – was literally eating & drinking my weight in food everyday! So happy I could motivate you a little :) xx

  • This post is full of so many useful tips! I’m going to keep it around for inspiration to start living healthier and happier :)

    Akino | akinokiki.blogspot.ca

    • Ohh thank you so much Kiki! So happy you’ve found it useful :) many more wellness posts coming soon! xx

  • I loved this post! I was really feeling the stress a few weeks ago due to my university work, and was also run down, ill and doing too much. It came to a point where I realised something had to give and I feel so much better now. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series :D xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

    • Thank you so much Jessie!! Uni is such a stressful time but it’ll be over before you know it :) congrats on making the change though! Always so important to keep a good balance through university! Xx

  • This is an excellent post! I love it so so so much, and agree with everything. Thank you, this was exactly what I needed to read today.

    – Dara || http://www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

    • Ohh thank you so much Dara! You have no idea how much that means to me xx

  • Esther Imbula

    Great advice, for me 7 hours or more of sleep is a necessity otherwise I’ll be a mess the next day. One thing I’m currently working on improving is my breakfast habits. I’m trying to eat healthier and making sure to never skip breakfast seeing as I’m now living alone. I’ve also come to realise that I’m more cautious about grocery shopping that I’ve ever been.

  • Lucy Lees

    I’m glad I found this post; I’ve been getting back into fitness this year but definitely struggle with being healthy, per se. I need to be better with breakfasts; I suffer from anxiety often, so it probably really helps with that!
    Life inside the Locket

  • So many great tips! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • BrittanyCecile Smith

    This was a really great read, it really confirmed the small changes I’ve recently been making! There’s definitely a couple things in here I could be doing a little better! xx Happy Holidays xx

  • Laurence Lavoie

    Great article! I will definitely apply some (maybe all) of your tips and advice. Even though this isn’t new infos, it was so clear and well said then it made it look like a revolution in the world of healthy lifestyle stuff. Good job! PS: Oatmeal Banana recipe is absolutely amazing!