Healthy Lifestyle Ideas
for the next 12-15 weeks.
NOTE: Please consult your physician before changing your exercise or eating habits, especially if there are any health concerns.
Be accountable to someone. Pray, decide what you are going to change for the week, and then tell someone who will support and encourage you and keep you accountable. The following week, add another healthy habit. Some things, like drinking enough water or adding exercise, might take 2 to 4 weeks or more.
1/ Pray before everything you eat and ask Him for wisdom in your eating. Dedicate your body to Him.
2/ Add exercise to your day, start with 5- 10 minutes 3-5 times per week. Build up over a few weeks to 150 minutes per week (that is half hour 5 days per week – and this doesn’t have to be all at once, it can be 10 minutes 3 times per day; when you get up, in the middle of the day, a walk after supper. Or do squats while you are watching TV or Netflix. Pray and ask for wisdom how exercise will fit into your day. He will tell you!!!) Gradually add a little exercise each week until you reach the goal. This may take 4 or more weeks, but be consistent.
2a/ Park your car a little farther away from your destination and walk. We could all compete for the spot furthest away from the church front door!
3/ Add some strength training to your exercise routine. (Why? There are lots of reasons, but a couple of great ones include that muscle is smaller than fat, so makes you leaner. Muscle also boosts metabolism as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does).
3a/ Try doing these exercise videos. They are done by a Christian, give alternatives from sitting in a chair while exercising to high intensity exercise, let you know time needed and what equipment you need. There is also a video to show you proper form – very important!!
4/ Drink more water. This may take a few weeks, to build up to 6 to 8 glasses per day. Add 2 cups per day for a week, then another 2 cups the next week, until you reach your goal.
5/ Eat 5 servings of vegetables per day. Extra points if they are different colours. (Add vegetables throughout the day, and you can do it!! Put spinach in your smoothie, salsa in your eggs, have a second vegetable at supper instead of a starch, ie chicken, broccoli and squash instead of chicken, broccoli and rice, or for snacks dip raw vegetables in hummus, or put a bit of goat cheese on some cucumber slices).
6/ Decrease your sugar intake. Read labels; there is sugar in spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, soup. Generally, avoid processed foods. Try to get down to 25g of added sugar per day. Slowly cut out pop, try eating just half the piece of dessert, but put your fork down and chat with your family between bites and take longer than anyone else, switch to having a piece of fruit, etc. Again, pray and ask for wisdom. Holy Spirit will speak to you and show you what you need to change to decrease the sugar in your diet. You will feel better and your taste will change!! This may take a few weeks, so do one small thing each week for a few weeks until sugar becomes much less in your diet. (Added sugar does include healthier options such as maple syrup, raw honey, organic sugar etc.)
7/ Eat breakfast! “you don’t have to eat breakfast at the crack of dawn, but you need a plan for a healthy meal – and a schedule that will allow you to take a break when you do get hungry.” Studies show people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. “Skipping breakfast won’t trash your metabolism, but it may lead to poor choices later in the day”. These poor choices can include eating the wrong kinds of food, or just over-eating.
8/ Add protein to your breakfast (put some nuts on your cereal, peanut butter or 1 oz of cheese on your toast, have a smoothie, eat an egg – could be hard boiled the day before). “Stop throwing away your egg yolk. Not only is the cholesterol unlikely to cause a problem, but the yolks are where a lot of the nutrients (like vitamin D and E) are found.” Apparently about 10% of the population has an exaggerated response to cholesterol in foods. Unless you are one of those people, however, cholesterol in your food has very little effect on the cholesterol in your blood.
9/ Stop eating after 7 pm or after supper. This is not because you gain weight from eating before bed, but because snacking in the evening generally is food we don’t really need and are not really hungry for - we eat just because it tastes good or because of boredom or for emotional reasons (at least that is my experience). When it is hard not to go to the fridge, take a few minutes with God, and fill yourself with His presence. Ask for His help.
10/ Change the size of your dinner plates from what may be up to 13” to a smaller plate, about 9".
11/ Don’t put extra food on the table where it is easier to just take more at meal times.
12/ Replace white with whole grain. (for example brown rice instead of white, whole wheat or brown rice pasta, look for whole grain bread instead of white or even whole wheat bread. (Why whole grain - http://www.trimdownclub.com/is-whole-wheat-bread-actually-healthier-than-white-bread/
and some specific Canadian information http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/whole-grain-entiers-eng.php )
13/ Plan your meals, especially when you will be going out. If you are going out where dessert will be a temptation, take a healthy option with you. A few dates, or some fruit. Determine to be prepared.
14/ Start keeping a record of what you eat. I confess, I have never personally tried this however, it does work for many people to aid in being more mindful of what goes into the mouth.
15/ Don’t do anything but eat while you eat. Don’t read, watch a screen etc. However, you can talk to your family or to your pet.
16/ Use healthy fats. From what I have read, healthier fats include olive oil and coconut oil. “Heating polyunsaturated oils can cause harmful compounds to form.” Coconut oil is stable at high heat. Olive oil has good overall nutrition.
17/ Put your fork down between bites and take a sip of water at every mealtime.
18/ Ask yourself before you eat “Am I hungry?” Ask halfway through the meal. Ask before you eat dessert. Decide, with God’s help, not to eat unless you are hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you are full, so eat slowly.
19/ Get enough rest. This includes enough sleep at night as well as a Sabbath rest each week. Again, pray for wisdom in getting enough rest if that seems impossible.
19/ Listen to Holy Spirit. He is the One who is full of Wisdom and creativity, and He has far more ideas than I have. Seek first the Kingdom, and His righteousness. Love the Lord your God with all your heart. Dedicate your body to Him. Ask Holy Spirit to bring your body into alignment with His Spirit in you.
If you are doing everything you sense Holy Spirit telling you regarding living a healthy lifestyle, then ask Him what you need to fast in order to bring all areas of your life into alignment with Him.
(Text I have put in quotes is from Nutritions Diva’s Secrets for a Healthy Diet by Monica Reinagel.)