Having a Healthy DietHaving a Healthy Exercise PlanBeing Emotionally HealthyHaving a Healthy Routine
Edited by Sondra C, Teresa, Catie, Jupiter and 77 others
Many people with serious illnesses would give anything for a single day of perfect health. After all, it's only when you lose your health that you realize what you once had. To be healthy and make the most of what you’ve got, follow these recommendations.
EditPart 1 of 4: Having a Healthy Diet
1Drink more water. Let's start off easy. Adult humans should be drinking a litre or more water per day -- that's six eight ounce cups of water. That is in addition to diuretics like tea and coffee! Water keeps bodies at the correct temperature and removes toxins that are the inevitable result of metabolism and industrial life. You'll be and feel healthier pretty automatically.
- Water also clears your skin, helps your kidneys, helps control your eating, and keeps you energized. If being skinnier, more wakeful, and having better skin isn't motivation, what is?!
- It also keeps you from drinking other things -- like calorie-riffic sodas and juices. The body barely registers the intake and you still feel hungry hundreds of calories later. If you need the taste, splash some lemon or lime or some 100% juice into your water.
2Eat breakfast. A light, healthy breakfast is sufficient to reap the benefits of eating early. If it's comprised of lean protein and whole grains, it will keep you from chowing down at lunch. Research shows that breakfast-skippers actually eat more! So to curb your appetite, don't skip that first meal. Turns out it is the most important!
- Instead of two chocolate doughnuts and a coffee that's more cream
than anything else, opt for eggs, fruit, and skim milk, fresh orange
juice, or tea. The healthier your breakfast, the more energized you'll
feel throughout the day and the more you won't need to eat later.
- Instead of two chocolate doughnuts and a coffee that's more cream than anything else, opt for eggs, fruit, and skim milk, fresh orange juice, or tea. The healthier your breakfast, the more energized you'll feel throughout the day and the more you won't need to eat later.
3Eat well throughout the day. If half your plate is vegetables and fruit, you're on the right track. Add in lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Once a steady eating pattern has been established, your body will feel more comfortable. There may be a period of time when your body is wondering where the heck the Oreos went, but once you're over the hump, you'll feel better than ever.
- Remember that not all fats are bad for you. Good fats can be found in oily fish like salmon and tuna, avocados, nuts and olive oil. These are essential to a well-balanced diet. Read How to Eat Healthy for more facts.
4Eat at the right times. A good time for a healthy, easy-to-digest evening meal is between 5pm and 8pm; it is best to avoid late night snacks because they fill you with unnecessary calories and can disrupt your sleep. If you do need that midnight snack, stick to unsalted nuts, seeds, and fruits and veggies.
- Snacking isn't bad for you if you do it right. In fact, eating
"constantly" can keep you from feeling deprived and going for that third
piece of cheesecake when the cart rolls around. Just make sure it's all
- Snacking isn't bad for you if you do it right. In fact, eating "constantly" can keep you from feeling deprived and going for that third piece of cheesecake when the cart rolls around. Just make sure it's all in moderation.
5Go a little meatless. In case you haven't noticed, meat hasn't played much of a role in what we've talked about so far. Being vegetarian is a good way to reduce your calorie intake and get loads of vitamins and minerals, but that being said, it can be done wrong. While it's a good idea to cut red meat out of your diet, make sure you are getting a wide variety of other foods from fruits to veggies to legumes to dairy and that your diet is still balanced.
- A high-fiber diet is easily had without meat. Fiber has been shown
to lower your cholesterol, control your blood-sugar levels, improve your
bowel health, and make you less likely to overeat. The recommended
fiber intake is 30 grams a day for men and 21 for women; after the age
of 50, this jumps up to 38 for men and 25 for women. Some good sources
of fiber include fruits and vegetables (with the skin), whole grains,
- A high-fiber diet is easily had without meat. Fiber has been shown to lower your cholesterol, control your blood-sugar levels, improve your bowel health, and make you less likely to overeat. The recommended fiber intake is 30 grams a day for men and 21 for women; after the age of 50, this jumps up to 38 for men and 25 for women. Some good sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables (with the skin), whole grains, and legumes.
6Cut the crap and read the labels. Processed foods get a bad rap, and often for good reason. However, you've gotta choose your battles. That frozen bag of broccoli isn't nearly as bad as that boxed mac and cheese (if you can really call it that). In short, avoid processed foods when you can -- but if you can't, read the labels and watch for added bad stuff: salt, sugar, and fat.
- Food that stays on the shelves often has added sodium, words that
end in -ose, and trans and saturated fats in the ingredient list. If you
see these on the label (especially if they're in high amounts), avoid
them. You can find a healthier alternative elsewhere. It's not worth it.
- Just because it says it has no trans fat doesn't actually mean it
has no trans fat. Funny how that works, eh? Neglible amounts can be
legally ignored -- so if you see hydrogenated vegetable oil on the list,
you've found one of the masked culprits.
- Just because it says it has no trans fat doesn't actually mean it has no trans fat. Funny how that works, eh? Neglible amounts can be legally ignored -- so if you see hydrogenated vegetable oil on the list, you've found one of the masked culprits.
- Food that stays on the shelves often has added sodium, words that end in -ose, and trans and saturated fats in the ingredient list. If you see these on the label (especially if they're in high amounts), avoid them. You can find a healthier alternative elsewhere. It's not worth it.
EditPart 2 of 4: Having a Healthy Exercise Plan
1Get in shape. In addition to helping you lose weight and gain confidence, exercising has a host of other benefits for your body and mind. Having good cardiovascular health has been linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, just to name one. So hit the pool, the pavement, or the park as often as you can.
- Exercising boosts your immune system too; even a change as minor as
walking briskly for twenty to thirty minutes a day five days a week can
improve your immune system by increasing both your antibody and T-killer
- Exercising is also one of the absolute best ways to sleep better at night – which can help you lose weight by keeping you from overeating. Read How to Get Fit for more details.
- Exercising boosts your immune system too; even a change as minor as walking briskly for twenty to thirty minutes a day five days a week can improve your immune system by increasing both your antibody and T-killer cell response.
2Maintain a healthy weight. Our physical frames vary in size and weight. An individual with a large frame can carry a little more weight while a person with a light frame will be able to carry less.
- Being underweight isn't a good thing, either! Do not use any form of crash diets. There is no magic bullet for weight loss – and even if there were, starving your body of vital nutrients wouldn’t be it. A slow change in your eating habits is much safer and the long-term benefits for your physical health are greater.
- If you don’t want to go on a diet, read How to Lose Weight Just by Exercising. Just remember that only serious athletes are able to burn off enough calories to be able to enjoy massive indulgences – and even so, they tend not to because it’s hard on the body. Even if you do consume more calories than are recommended for you, be sure that they are nutritious; your heart, brain, muscles, bones, organs, and blood can’t run forever on empty calories.
3Cross train. Just because you can run 5 miles without stopping doesn't mean you're healthy -- same goes for lifting weights the size of a small Toyota. If you only do one activity, you're only using one set of muscles. You'll be shocked when you go swimming or do core workouts that you can't keep up!
- What's the answer? Cross training. Not only does doing several different activities work all your muscles (which can help prevent injury), it also keeps you from getting bored. That's the ultimate exercise killer! So work in aerobic and strength-training workouts to your routine. Your muscles will be glad you did.
4Exercise wisely. It should go without saying that there are bad ways to work out. Every time you get moving you put yourself at risk for injury, so make sure you're doing it right!
- First things first, stay hydrated. You should always be sipping
water during your workouts. Getting dehydrated can lead to dizziness or
headaches during your sweat session (or lack thereof).
- Take breaks! It's not you being lazy, it's you being healthy. You can't go-go-go forever. After thirty minutes or so of exercise, grab your water bottle and lighten up. Your body needs a second to catch up. You'll be able to go further in the long run.
- First things first, stay hydrated. You should always be sipping water during your workouts. Getting dehydrated can lead to dizziness or headaches during your sweat session (or lack thereof).
5Take the little opportunities. Being physically active isn't about pounding the pavement or joining a gym -- it's a lifestyle that can be had 24/7. After all, fidgeters are likely to be thinner. If you can an extra ten steps to your day here and there, they add up.
- Don't have any ideas? Park a bit farther away from work, the mall, or the grocery store. Take the stairs. Walk the dog every day. Take lunch to the park. Bike to work or the local coffee shop. Little opportunities are everywhere.
EditPart 3 of 4: Being Emotionally Healthy
1Think positively. It's amazing how much power our minds have over everything in our lives. A simple positive twist on a situation can turn an obstacle into an opportunity. Not only will you have more gusto for life, your immune system can fight off colds and heart disease better, too! Harvard wouldn't lie.
- To start this seemingly unachievable step, focus on gratitude. When you start thinking about the bad thing swirling around you, stop. Cut it out. Think of two things you're grateful for. Eventually, your mind will notice the pattern and stop the negativity before you have to consciously do it.
2Be satisfied. This doesn't mean "be content with your life" (well, it does, but give it a sec) -- it sort of means "satisfy yourself." If you're on a diet, allow yourself a (small) bit of what you're craving. If watching the Golden Girls for three hours on a Friday night sounds like heaven, do it. Whatever the small things are that make you happy, do them.
- Your happiness is invaluable. If you're not happy, you're not fully healthy. It's when we've got our heads on straight that we can attack everything else. If work, family, friends, a relationship, and money are wearing you down, the choice between that hot pocket and that whole wheat bagel doesn't really matter!
3Think small. When we concentrate on unattainable goals, we get daunted, frustrated, and lazy. After all, why try to achieve something that will never happen? A healthy mindset has to be in the here and now. It should have concern for the future, sure, but it shouldn't be preoccupied with what hasn't happened yet or won't.
- Being emotionally healthy (and happy) is easier to attain when you focus on the steps of your journey as opposed to the destination. If you want to make it on Broadway, focus on getting your next audition. Then focus on becoming equity, then focus on moving, etc. Now will always come before the future -- focus on them in order!
4Manage stress. This one is huge. When stress takes over our lives, everything else falls apart. Our homes get cluttered, our minds get cluttered, and our relationships get strained. Take yourself aside for five minutes and think about your stress levels -- how are you managing it? What could you do to be more calm and relaxed?
5Choose your friends wisely. We all know those people that seem to drain us, but yet we're friends with them anyway because they have a nice TV or because, well, we get bored. Unfortunately, for our emotional health, they've got to go. They do us no good and we know it -- we just ignore it to maintain consistency and avoid awkward situations. Do your mental health a favor and tear off that band-aid. In the long-run, you'll be happier.
6Be productive. One of the best feelings to easily come by is that feeling of "I got so much done today!" For that moment, you feel virtually unstoppable. Your mom saying "If you put your mind to it, you can do it" is no longer a lie! Now imagine riding that high constantly.
- Start by creating a to-do list. A calendar or planner is a good idea, too. And remember: think small. Attack a few small things to get you going. You'll get on a roll before you even realize it.
7Take a break. This is similar to the "Be Satisfied" step; you need to do what's right for you sometimes, regardless of what the world seems to be demanding. Without feeling guilty, take that proverbial Kit Kat Bar. Spend a night in. Take a morning off. You'll be twice as energized when you get back to it.
- This goes for exercise, too, believe it or not. If you do the same thing over and over, your muscles get used to it, you get bored, and you end up plateauing. So instead of pounding the pavement on Wednesday, go hit the pool. You're not being lazy -- you're being logical.
8Find emotional balance. Even if you master every other aspect of health, it won’t feel complete if you’re suffering from inner turmoil. Everyone needs a pick-me-up sometimes, and there are many small things that you can do to feel better about yourself. If the problem extends deeper, you may need to learn to cope with emotional pain or even depression.
- Once you have worked on yourself, you should work on your approach to interpersonal relationships. Learn how to recognize a manipulative or controlling relationship and, if necessary, deal with emotional abuse so that you can have a healthy relationship.
EditPart 4 of 4: Having a Healthy Routine
1Stop engaging in risky behavior. Taking unnecessary risks is hard on the body and mind and can have devastating long-term consequences. Serious or established patterns of risk-taking can also be indicative of deeper psychological problems, in which case you should talk to a health care professional who specializes in a relevant field. Start by setting your sights on one of the following achievements:
2Exercise several times a week. We've stressed the "get fit" part already, but now we want to make it a little less ignorable. Your daily/weekly routine needs to include exercise. It will increase your metabolic rate, control your weight and you'll feel fresh the whole week. Triple win!
3Get a good night's rest. When you sleep, your body produces cells that fight infection, inflammation, and stress – which means that getting too little sleep or poor-quality sleep not only makes you more prone to getting sick, but also increases the time you need to recover from illness. If you're not sleeping for you, sleep for your health!
4Learn how to cook. Cooking your own meals is a wonderful experience as you can try out different recipes while saving money at the same time. What's more, you get to control every little thing that goes into your body. That's really the only way to turn your diet around!
- When you cook, avoid using fatty oils and extra add-ons. Stick to olive oil instead of vegetable oil, butter, or margarine and keep the extra salt and cheese to a minimum. If it doesn't taste good without it, try cooking it differently!
5Maintain your personal hygiene. Wash your hands often, especially after visiting the bathroom at home or using the restrooms in a public place. Germs can spread like wildfire and bring us down in the blink of an eye. And as if it wasn't already clear, taking a shower is a good idea, too. You like having friends, right?
- When it comes to your mouth, floss and brush your teeth and tongue after eating; food particles are often the cause of bad breath and gum disease. Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and to catch any problems before they become serious. See How to Be Hygienic for more details.
6Bolster your immune system. Maintaining healthy habits and a high level of energy is difficult for anyone who constantly battles fatigue, colds, infections, or any other effects of a weakened immune system. Read How to Develop a Strong Immune System for more information.
- If you can help it, try to get all your necessary vitamins and minerals from your diet. Supplements should only be used as a secondary measure. And of course, talk to your doctor before you undergo any significant changes.