The health industry is huge right now. There are so many diets and products out there making big claims to help you lose weight and reach your health goals. With all the information, it’s hard to know where to begin and what actually works. It’s also hard for those that are just getting started with a healthy lifestyle to handle all the many things that can entail. I want to help make living a healthy life a little bit simpler for you. I’ve come up with 10 healthy living baby steps you can start taking today to help you on your road to a healthier you. Of course, there are more things than these 10 that you can do later on to individualize your diet and become even more metabolically healthy. But these are THE BEST steps to start with.
Just know – this is not a diet plan. I’m not claiming that you will lose 50 pounds by following these steps (although losing weight following these steps is definitely possible!). This is a way to kickstart your health journey and to help you start feeling your best!
In this post, I’m briefly sharing the 10 healthy living baby steps. I dig deeper and go into more detail in individual posts for each step. Take one step at a time. Don’t try to conquer all 10 on day 1. Going all in and taking all these things on at once can be SUPER overwhelming and can lead to failure. Set yourself up for success and sustainability by going slowly! Devote a week towards each step. So, at the end of 10 weeks, you’ll be well on your way towards living a healthier life!
Healthy Living Baby Steps
1. Have the Right Mindset
In order to meet your health goals, the first thing you need to do is have the right mindset. Mindset is everything! It’s important to have a positive, determined, and open mind. Not everything that we’ve been told for years is “healthy” truly is healthy. Be open to learning and trying new things.
If you slip up and eat something that’s not healthy or miss a few days of working out, get back up and keep going. Like I said, this is not a diet. This is about creating a healthy LIFESTYLE that you can maintain longterm.
Read more about creating the right mindset here.
2. Get Quality Sleep
The next thing to work on is your sleep. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is the time our body resets and fights sicknesses. If you are not getting adequate sleep, you are going to have a hard time with the rest of the baby steps. Lack of sleep can increase your stress levels and can cause hormonal imbalance. And if you’re not getting enough sleep you’ll probably be too tired to exercise and too tired to make wise decisions about what you eat.
Read more about getting quality sleep here.
3. Manage Stress
The next healthy living baby step is to manage your stress. If you have a lot of stress in your life, even if you do everything else right, you still going to have a hard time reaching your health goals. The stress hormone, cortisol, can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and more. Taking steps to lower and manage your stress is essential.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is critical to your body. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces a day at a minimum. So, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking around 70 ounces of water a day. However, if you are working out or outside a lot and sweating, you’ll need to up your water intake.
With this step also work on cutting out unhealthy drinks, like soda and energy drinks. If you’re drinking the adequate amount of water, you probably won’t be thirsty for much else!
Check out this post for more reasons why you should drink more water and tips for getting in plenty of water each day.
5. Be More Active
Next, work on increasing your physical activity. Physical activity is essential to a healthy body. And when I say activity, I don’t just mean working out. Working out is great for building your muscles, burning fat, and so many other things. But, adding movement throughout the rest of the day is just as important. Workouts are typically only 1 hour out of a 24 hour day. Moving for that 1 hour and sitting most of the other 23 hours will not get you to your goals. To add more movement throughout the day you can get up and go on walks, do jumping jacks every hour, or park farther away from stores.
This post has 9 great tips to help you create a more active lifestyle.
6. Reduce Added Sugar
When you go grocery shopping, look at the labels on foods you buy. So many foods now days have tons of sugar, in one form or another, added to them. Look out for processed, refined sugars and sweeteners like cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, stevia, xylitol, agave nectar, dextrose, and other hidden sugars in your foods. Gradually cut those foods out and eat foods that have natural sugar in them – like fruit, honey, and maple syrup (sparingly – not poured on everything!).
In this post I explain why excess sugar is bad for you, 6 tips to help you reduce your sugar intake, and what sweeteners are best when you do want a sweet treat.
7. Eat More Vegetables
Vegetables are so nutritious! Vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli, and carrots are loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. When you go grocery shopping, stick to the outer edges of the grocery store. That’s where all the good, fresh food is! Try to eat some vegetables in each meal that you eat – yes, even breakfast! They should take up the majority of your plate.
Read this post for more reasons why eating veggies are so important and 10 tips for getting in plenty of veggies each day.
8. Cut Out Processed Food
Processed food is food that comes in boxes or other packages and is usually made with lots of ingredients. It takes a lot of time and work to get it from a real food to the package. Many of the ingredients in them are chemicals, artificial flavors, and artificial colors that are not safe for us and will not promote a healthy body. Get as much fresh, homemade food as you can. Try to eat food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible. If you get food that is packaged, read the labels to make sure you know what the ingredients are. If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, there’s a good chance it’s not a safe ingredient to consume.
Read here for more dangers of processed food and 5 tips for cutting out processed food and switching to real, whole food.
9. Switch Your Fats
We’ve been fed for so long that fats are bad. Guess what! We need fat for so many processes in the body! Our brain is made up mostly of fat! And foods that are labeled “low fat” or “reduced fat” are probably highly processed and full of sugar, since the fat, and therefore the taste, is taken out. Don’t be afraid of eating fat. But – make sure you’re eating the right kind of fats.
Vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, shortening, margarine, and other trans fats are not health-promoting! They are highly processed and can cause inflammation and weight gain. Avoid these fats and anything that contains them. Trans fats are found in many processed cookies, crackers, cakes, and other junk food (which you already cut out in Baby Step #8).
Instead choose healthy fats that come from animals – butter, ghee (clarified butter), lard (pig fat), tallow (cow fat), duck fat, or schmaltz (chicken fat) – or plant fats that are cold-pressed and not highly processed – olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, or avocado oil.
Check out this post for more on the best fats and oils to choose.
10. Plan Ahead
The last baby step is planning ahead. Plan out your meals for the next week and grocery shop ahead of time. If you don’t plan out your meals, and you get really hungry, chances are you’ll turn to a processed freezer meal or you’ll go grab some fast food. If you know that you’re going to be too tired in the morning to make a healthy breakfast, make something the night before or on the weekend. Do a little prep on the weekend to set your self up for success during the week.
Check out my meal planning printables on Etsy for some help with planning your meals, grocery lists, and meal prep ideas.
Where are you at in your health journey? Have you taken any of these steps already? Let me know if you try out these 10 Healthy Living Baby Steps and what results you’ve seen.