Our Healthy Lifestyle Guide

Enjoying a healthy lifestyle has amazing benefits for not only your body but to your mind and overall wellbeing too. When people think about healthy lifestyles you might automatically think it’s all about exercise and diet. Whilst that is important and is a solid platform to build upon, there’s so much more that promise to enhance and improve your lifestyle.

Good nutrition, daily exercise and adequate sleep are the foundations for continuing good health. Managing stress in positive ways and avoiding bad habits or coping crutches, such as smoking and drinking, reduces strain and wear and tear on your body. If you want to give yourself the best chance for a long, healthy and happy life put together a plan for a healthy lifestyle and stay true to it.

This healthy lifestyle guide looks to cover:

  • Healthy eating
  • Diet and weight management
  • Lifestyle movements – veganism
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Mental wellbeing and stress management
  • Bad behaviours
  • Sleep

Healthy Eating

Healthy Lifestyle Eating.jpg

Healthy eating is no longer a fad or just a trend, it’s very much a lifestyle for millions of people. It’s advised that to ensure you’re enjoying a healthy diet you need to eat the correct amount of calories for how active you are and that you eat a wide range of foods which offer you a balanced diet and can offer your body all the nutrients it needs.

Government guidance is that men should be having around 2,500 calories a day and women around 2,000 calories a day. Unfortunately, most adults are eating more calories than they need and not exercising enough.

Weight Management

Weight Management for a Healthy Lifestyle

One in four people living in the UK is obese and 62% of the adult population is classed as overweight. These stats have more than tripled in the past 30 years and the nation’s waistline looks set to balloon further. We have the second highest obesity rates in the world, which is having a startling effect on mortality rates. Those who are overweight are three times more likely to develop colon cancer, five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and two and a half times more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, which can result in a stroke or cancer.

Adopting a health lifestyle and eating healthily really does provide you a greater chance of sustaining your health in the long term.
To lose weight you need to start a slow and steady weight loss programme; losing around two pound a week is ideal.
Drinking plenty of water (at least two litres a day), increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables will impact and reduce on your daily calorie intake. Look to avoid unhealthy snacks between meals and foods that are loaded with sugar and fat. Wherever possible look to choose unprocessed, natural foods. Cutting down on your alcohol consumption can also make a significant difference in managing your weight.

It’s important to be patient when starting a new diet. Results won’t happen overnight but don’t give up. Look to maintain motivation and commitment and the results of your hard work will pay off.

Managing your weight doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey on all your favourite foods. Instead enjoy them in moderation and think of them as a treat instead of a daily ‘must have’.

There is now a world of healthy recipes at your fingertips…. Simply search online for ideas, inspiration or how to make your favourite dish a little healthier. Here are some useful websites:

Change 4 Life recipes

Les Mills recipes

Lifestyle Movements

Fruit and Vegetables Healthy Lifestyle

Although the UK’s waistline is expanding there is a growing group of people who are becoming more conscious and mindful of the products that they consume and the environmental impact their choices have.  

Veganism is one of Britain's fastest growing lifestyle movements and according to the Mintel Global Food and Drink Trends 2017 report, there was a 257% increase in the number of vegan food and beverage launches in 2016, compared to 5 years ago, with consumers buying almost three times more plant-based products online than they did in January 2016.

It’s estimated that over 1.68 million people are either vegetarian or vegan. This plant-based movement is largely being driven by young people making more ethical and compassionate choices; 42% of vegans are in the 15-34 age category compared to just 14% who are over 65.

Download your FREE Healthy Lifestyle guide here! 

Mental Wellbeing and Stress Management

Stress Management for a Healthy Lifestyle

According to research, one in six of us will experience a mental health problem in any given week, with further research suggesting most Britons have experienced some type of mental health issue. Stress can be hard to ‘deal with’ as there’s no medical definition, with many health care professionals often disagreeing if stress is the cause or result of a problem.

Stress is linked to pressure. When we have too much to do, or too much to think about, tasks to complete or there’s a lack of control.

In today’s fast paced world, pressure is often a normal and sometimes unavoidable by-product. But there are ways that you can manage this pressure and stop is bubbling over and causing unwanted side effects.

Here are some quick and easy lifestyle habits that you can start right now.

  1. Be active – exercise and physical activity is mood enhancing. When you exercise of get active your body releases endorphins, which are also known as feel good hormones. These kick in pretty much straight away and you automatically feel energised, positive and ultimately happier.
  2. Talk – you’ve probably heard the expression; a problem shared is a problem halved. If you can, share your worries, anxieties or issues with a friend, loved one or colleague. Quite often a solution could be right in front of your nose but if not, these people will hopefully be able to help with coping strategies, advice and a shoulder to lean on. Don’t bottle worries or concerns up.
  3. Avoid unhealthy habits – it can be an automatic response; a bad day equals a large class or wine or a few extra cigarettes or even more caffeine. Try and avoid these ‘stress crutches’ as they only make the situation worse in the long term. Caffeine and nicotine are in fact stimulants and will increase the feeling of pressure, stress and anxiety and alcohol is a depressant but consumed in small quantities it also acts as a stimulant.
  4. Write it down – keeping a journal can help you express your thoughts and feelings and often dig deeper into what triggers your emotions. If you have feelings of stress or anxiety think about completing a journal for a couple of weeks or a month and then review it. It’s likely you will start to recognise what triggers your feelings and emotions. Once you understand this, you can then try and avoid / proactively manage these situations.
  5. Be positive – this might appear incredibly difficult, especially when you’re feeling very emotional and low. But each day, write down three positive things that have happened to you. Maybe someone complimented you on your outfit or said a piece of work you’d delivered was great. Keep a note of these comments and at the end of the week / month read them all out loud.
  6. Learn something new – research suggests that learning builds emotional resilience, which in turn helps us deal with stress and pressure. Can you look to learn something new? It could be as simple as knitting to learning a new language or even studying towards a qualification.
  7. Volunteer – helping others who are less fortunate than yourself or who really need help and support can make you re-evaluate pressure and stress.
  8. Time out – making time for yourself can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. It can be as simple as a bath, book and early night or as lavish as a night away in a spa.
  9. Time management – if you’re struggling to complete all your daily tasks it could be that you’re not managing your time as optimally as you could. This is a great opportunity to talk to someone – a manager, co-worker or friend and ask their advice. They might have some tips to help achieve more in less time. For more time management tips visit here.
  10. Practice relaxation techniques – sleep is vital to manage your mental wellbeing and relaxation techniques such as meditation will really aid your mind and body when preparing to unwind and clear your head.
  11. You can say no – it’s often easier to say yes to requests but quite often saying no will do wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. If you say no, this could open doors for others around you to step up, get involved and offer you more support.
If you are feeling the unfortunate side effects of stress and pressure long term, we would always advise seek professional and / or medical advice.

Work-life Balance

Work-life Balance Healthy Lifestyle

Work-life balance can mean different things to different people but it’s fair to say that in today’s busy, crazy and hectic world, achieving this can often seem impossible. Technology makes employees contactable around the clock and this never-ending workday is damaging to your mental health and wellbeing, relationships and overall health and happiness.

If you find yourself chronically tired, agitated and always suffering from an ache or pain you might in fact be overworked and not striking a health work-life balance. The Mental Heath Foundation produced this article to look at the signs of an unhealthy work-life balance.

There are certainly proactive steps you can take to try and redress the balance between work and leisure. Aim to work smarter not longer. This does require you to be very efficient with your time. Allow yourself adequate breaks away from the task in hand. Walking away from your desk or your workstation for 15-30 minutes should help you return feeling refreshed. Look at creating some rules for your work-leisure life. For example, no technology between 6pm – 9pm or after 7pm. Or if you work at home, ensure this is restricted to one room and close the door on it when you’re finished. 

We understand juggling work and your personal life can be difficult, but it is important to give yourself a break.

Bad Behaviours

Bad Habits not part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Most of us have a vice. Maybe it’s a sugar addiction, maybe you drink too much alcohol or even smoke. If you have a bad habit which you believe is affecting your health and wellbeing, it’s advisable to try and quit this. Admittedly it won’t be easy, but we have some advice which might help you along the way and lead to a more happy, healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.

  • Start small – it is often advised not to go completely cold turkey and cut an addiction out completely. Instead think about gradually cutting down and limiting your daily or weekly intake.
  • Fine yourself – relapses can happen but if they are happening all too often, think about fining yourself a set fee.
  • Learn from it – if you do have a relapse can you understand what triggered it? If you can it might help you avoid this in future.
  • Don’t do it alone – lean on a support network of friends or family members. If you’re wavering look to them for advice and encouragement.
  • Keep yourself busy – if you have recognised that there are certain times of the day when you’re more likely to crave this certain bad habit / addiction look to distract yourself with something else. Try and go for a run, walk or even pop along to the gym. 

Sleep

Sleep Healthy Lifestyle

The Oxford dictionary defines sleep as “a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.”

Sleep is a fundamental human requirement and is as important as eating, drinking and breathing. It’s thought one in three of us suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems and therefore are not achieving the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep every night, which is vital in helping the mind and body recover.

Lack of sleep can have a substantial impact on your health, mood, weight and even sex life. Many mental health problems are often underpinned by a lack of sleep.

For many, making small lifestyle changes could help us get a better night’s sleep.

  1. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. This helps your body get into a natural cycle
  2. Keep your room dark. Your brain secretes more melatonin (helps you regulate your sleep-wake cycle) when it’s dark.
  3. Exercise. Those who exercise regularly and keep fit sleep better at night, but also have more energy during the day. Even a ten-minute brisk walk can offer vast sleep benefits.
  4. Avoid stimulants where possible. Caffeine can influence sleep up to ten hours after drinking it. Similarly, smoking close to bedtime can also interfere with sleep.
  5. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, supper like a pauper is a saying that rings true. To give yourself the best change of a sleepful night it’s advised that you avoid large, rich meals at night. At the same time, sugary foods and refined carbohydrates can also trigger wakefulness.

So, what can you do to ensure a restful and peaceful night. 

  1. Read before you go to sleep – but ensure the lighting is soft
  2. Enjoy a warm bath, maybe add some natural essential oils such as lavender or valerian
  3. Play relaxing and soft music
  4. Meditate
  5. Turn off the TV, mobile and any other gadgets and technology
  6. Keep a journal to jot down any thoughts or worries you might have 

Get the whole family involved

Family Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle can reap amazing rewards and benefits but it’s great to the get the family involved too, especially when you do outdoor activities to get the whole family moving. Check out our blog about tips for how to get children interested in exercise, including various fitness classes such as swimming etc.

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