Following a healthy lifestyle often seems incredibly complicated. Advertisements and experts all around you seem to give conflicting advice. However, leading a healthy life doesn’t need to be complicated. To gain optimal health, lose weight and feel better every day, all you need to do is follow these 5 simple rules:
1. Do Not Put Toxic Things Into Your Body
Many things people put in their bodies are downright toxic. Some, such as cigarettes, alcohol and abusive drugs, are also highly addictive, making it hard for people to give them up or avoid them. If you have a problem with one of these substances, then diet and exercise are the least of your worries. While alcohol is fine in moderation for those who can tolerate it, tobacco and abusive drugs are bad for everyone. But an even more common problem today is eating unhealthy, disease-promoting junk foods. If you want to gain optimal health, you need to minimize your consumption of these foods.
Probably the single most effective change you can make to improve your diet is to cut back on processed, packaged foods. This can be tough because many of these foods are designed to be extremely tasty and very hard to resist. When it comes to specific ingredients, added sugars are among the worst. These include sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup. Both can wreak havoc on your metabolism when consumed in excess, though some people can tolerate moderate amounts. In addition, it’s a good idea to avoid all trans fats, which are found in some types of margarine and packaged baked foods.
2. Lift Things and Move Around
Using your muscles is extremely important for optimal health. While lifting weights and exercising can certainly help you look better, improving your appearance is really just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to exercise to ensure your body, brain and hormones function optimally. Lifting weights lowers your blood sugar and insulin levels, improves cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. It also raises your levels of testosterone and growth hormones, both associated with improved well-being. What’s more, exercise can help reduce depression and your risk of various chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and many more.
Additionally, exercise may help you lose fat, especially in combination with a healthy diet. It doesn’t just burn calories, but also improves your hormone levels and overall body function. Fortunately, there are many ways to exercise. You don’t need to go to a gym or own expensive workout equipment. It’s possible to exercise for free and in the comfort of your own home. Just do a search on Google or YouTube for “bodyweight workouts” or “calisthenics,” for example. Going outside to hike or take a walk is another important thing you should do, especially if you can get some sun while you’re at it (for a natural source of vitamin D). Walking is a good choice and a highly underrated form of exercise.
The key is to choose something that you enjoy and can stick with in the long run. If you’re completely out of shape or have medical problems, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a qualified health professional before starting a new training program.
3. Nourish Your Body With Real Foods
The simplest and most effective way to eat healthy is to focus on real foods. Choose unprocessed, whole foods that resemble what they looked like in nature. It’s best to eat a combination of animals and plants — meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, as well as healthy fats, oils and high-fat dairy products. If you’re healthy, lean and active, eating whole, unrefined carbs is absolutely fine. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes and whole grains such as oats.
However, if you’re overweight, obese or have shown signs of metabolic issues such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome, then cutting back on major carbohydrate sources can lead to dramatic improvements. People can often lose a lot of weight simply by cutting back on carbohydrates because they subconsciously start eating less.
Whatever you do, make an effort to choose whole, unprocessed foods instead of foods that look like they were made in a factory.