Forming healthy habits is not an easy task. Certain cues in our environment trigger your craving for specific foods. I bet you already know what types of food are right for you and what you need to avoid. But, translating that to a daily healthy habit requires more than just mindfulness. You have to create an environment that supports those habits.
That said, here are some habits that could lead to long-term fitness and health.
1. Do a Light Exercise Before Sitting Down for Breakfast
Exercising in the morning helps make sure you hit your fitness goal even if your day gets busy later in the day. Some studies even say working out before “breaking your fast” can help you burn about 20% more calories compared to doing it after eating.
2. Never Skip Breakfast
Your brain and body need a healthy breakfast to function well for the whole day. Various studies support this statement.
- You’re more vulnerable to atherosclerosis if you skip breakfast
- Eating breakfast increases your dopamine, a hormone that regulates your cravings
- A high-protein breakfast reduces your glucose levels
An example of a healthy breakfast is eggs (for protein) and whole-wheat bread plus fresh fruits (for fiber). For busy people, slices of apples dipped or slathered with peanut butter is a great choice.
3. Pack a Lunch
Preparing a healthy lunch to bring to your office helps make sure you don’t end up eating a fast-food meal. Your day might get busy, and you won’t have time to find something healthy to eat. A nutritious prepackaged meal could also help. It may even be better since it’s portion-controlled.
4. Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important healthy habits you should commit to is getting 8 hours of sleep every night. So, let’s say you need to wake up at 7 in the morning. That means you need to be asleep by 10:30 or 11:00 in the evening.
A full night’s sleep is a must if you’re trying to lose weight. Research suggests being tired makes your body crave for sugar and caffeine for energy.
5. Follow a Simple Meal Plan
You don’t need a complicated diet. I read something by Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, that’s become my eating mantra: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” It reflects the half-plate plan, which is filling half of your plate with vegetables.
6. Establish a Limit on Your Screen Time
An hour watching television or browsing through your smartphone have adverse effects on your mental and emotional well-being. Studies suggest that in teens, it lowers self-control and focus. Plus, too much TV, video games, and mobile phone use lead to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating.
What do you often eat while watching Netflix? Popcorn. Potato chips. And you pair them with beer if you’re watching football.
Your habits dictate your daily choices. You do them out of instinct. You can’t control them if you rely on will power alone. A careful look at your everyday environment can make you aware of these habits. From there, you can make changes that foster healthy habits.