I’m not a fitness fanatic or a lifestyle coach, but I do love looking after my health and keeping fit – both physical and mental. Even when I travel (when we could travel) I tried keeping active and healthy. I’ve studied so many articles, magazines, and nutrition books that I feel confident sharing My Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle will be beneficial for both of us. I’m putting together a few tips from my everyday life about food, exercising, nutrition and happiness.
You’re what you eat
Have you ever heard of the old age saying ‘You’re what you eat?’ If not, it basically means that eating is the key to wellbeing. You’re what you eat. If you eat McDonald’s for breakfast, Sushi for lunch, and Domino’s for dinner, then no wonder you have to drink five coffees a day and want to sit on your ass in front of Netflix. There is a clear lack of nutrition in your diet. And no, the peppers in your sushi and on your pizza don’t count towards your five-a-day!
Healthy Eating – 80-20
I personally eat everything. I cook vegan foods, I have steak for dinner, and McDonald’s cheeseburger and milkshake is my hangover cure. But I also love making smoothies, eating fresh fruit and vegetables, making homemade healthy protein balls or my own version of Nutella. It is all about balance. I love to snack, but I also know that if I want to enjoy everything and give my body the nutrition it deserves, I have to stick to the 80-20 rule.
Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle: What is 80% to 20%?
80% of the diet must be nutrient-dense food. The other 20% allowed is for snacking or that McDonald’s hangover breakfast. But no, it doesn’t mean that you eat salad all day every day at work Monday to Friday, then when the weekend comes, you happily order a kebab, pop to KFC and finish it with a giant portion of chocolate ice cream. This is not how it works. It is all about approach, swapping white flour for whole wheat, swapping chicken for more beans and veggies and cutting that enormous portion of cheese. Add fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs to your diet. Drink more green tea and less coffee. The food we eat has a huge impact on our health, on the quality of our lives, moods, sexual appetite and more.
80%-20% Food Examples
What to eat more:
- Vegetables: Vegetables have to play a fundamental role in most of your meals. The great thing about them is that they are low in calories but packed with needed nutrition.
- Fruits: Natural sweet treats full of antioxidants and other health benefits.
- Meat and fish: Meat and fish have been the main source of protein for thousands of years. The only thing with meat and fish is that you have to be pretty careful where you get it from. Nowadays meat is full of antibiotics, for example, to make chickens grow bigger and faster. Pop to the local market, farm or an organic store.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts are the best natural source of the healthy fats your body needs. Stack up with almonds, walnuts, pistachios or monkey nuts. (No, I’m not talking about those roasted and salted nuts!)
- Eggs: Did you know that eggs are considered as one of the healthiest foods on the planet?
- Dairy: Your body, especially your bones, need dairy products. Plenty of people do make mistakes when they swap full-fat options to low fat. Don’t do it. Stick to the full fat when it comes to dairy. It gives your body the right amount of nutrition, protein and calcium.
- Starches: Extremely high in carbs, but your body needs carbs to function correctly. Don’t try cutting carbs too much, carbs are like fuel, they give your body energy and your brain functionality. No one can think or focus when they are hungry, let alone starving. Sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, rice and pasta and quinoa are the perfect way to give your body the carbs it needs.
- Beans: Every single type of bean is a great source of fibre, protein and other micronutrients. Very popular amongst vegans and vegetarians.
- Beverages: Water. Your body needs at least 2 litres of water every day. You’re allowed to have coffee, but I prefer swapping my dose of caffeine for green tea.
An 8-ounce cup of green tea contains between 30 and 50 mg of caffeine. Powdered green tea like matcha contains more caffeine than a loose-leaf or green tea bags.(https://www.healthline.com/)
What to eat less or none:
- Sugars: all the fizzy drinks, chocolate bars and sweets.
- Trans fats: cakes, pies, frozen pizzas, fried food, etc. etc.
- Processed carbs: Whole wheat carbs are good for you, but then there are things such as white bread, white rice and pasta, white waffles and bagels. They are a no-no.
- Oils: Did you know that oils can disrupt your omega-3 and omega-6 intake? Swap that sunflower oil for coconut oil or olive oil.
- Processed low-fat food: Processed low-fat foods actually have more sugars in them than the full-fat version.
Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle: Keep moving
I sit for at least 12 hours a day, even more now that I work from home. My office is downstairs, so I don’t have an urge to walk up and down the stairs, although I try to stay active every few minutes and also place my laptop on a standing desk. Sitting for too long has a bad effect on our bodies, so keeping active before or after work is important.
Physical activity is important for people all ages and weight ranges. It doesn’t matter if you have asthma, cardio is always a good choice to improve your breathing. Week knees? Try squatting with some weights. Exercising is not only beneficial for your physical health, but it also helps maintain focus and improves brain functionality. When we’re exercising, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins. Endorphines make us happy and body-positive because we just did something to feel good about – to feel good and positive about ourselves.
Maybe you don’t have time to go to the gym? You can work out at home. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go walking during your lunch break. Run before or after work, even if you only jog. It counts. If you’re looking for some ideas on how to exercise at home, then check out my article on How to stay fit during the lockdown.
Happiness and Energy Tips
Get a good night’s sleep
Adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night for their brain to function correctly. Personally, if I sleep only five hours, I’m very moody, I get very stressed, and the only thing I can think of is being back in bed again. Lack of sleep puts us out of balance and also triggers overreaction and overeating.
Laugh a few times a day
Forget about wrinkles. Laugh every day, smile, be happy, be silly. Watch funny cats videos, stand up comedy, do something silly like telling jokes. Plus laugher may actually lead towards a longer life. But who knows??
Affirmations, Journal, Positive Attitude
It is all about YOU
Although I named this article My Guide to a Healthier Lifestyle, the truth is that it is all about you. I want to inspire you, motivate you to be that change, look after yourself and your health, stay positive and focused. We are all different, but our bodies are made of the same ‘material’, so take your time and take charge of your life and do the change that makes you happier and healthier.
Until next time,
- How to become a morning person
- How to maintain a balanced work lifestyle (after the lockdown)
- 70 Things to do when you are bored at home
- How to stay fit during the lockdown
Feeling motivated? Pin it for later!