Over the years, I've built many healthy habits. While some have come and gone as I've learned to live beyond the scale, others have stayed the same. I call these my core habits. The non-negotiable habits I stick to no matter what's happening in my life. The habits I rely on when I need a reset. The habits that motivate and give me accountability. These are the healthy habits I live by.
Healthy Habits I Live By
Having a Routine
Living healthy means establishing new schedules and routines. Through that I've made fitness, grocery shopping and meal prep a priority. Like a doctor's appointment, I adjust my day around eating and working out. When life is busy, I get creative with my time by doing shorter, more effective workouts or buying frozen, pre-cut foods or pre-made foods. Hey, sometimes you do the best you can do and I have no shame in taking shortcuts. I'm all about making it as easy as possible!
Carrying a Water Bottle
Before I lost weight, I drank a lot of water but not enough. It wasn't until the guy I was dating at the time pointed out to me I wasn't drinking enough water after one of our workouts that I realized it. Then I invested in water bottles (I like this one) and started carrying it with me everywhere (even when I traveled). The numbers on the side help me keep track. Some bottles like this one are even bluetooth enabled and do the work for you.
At the end of every week, I plan what I'm going to eat the following week and take inventory of what I have and write down what I need. This has gotten tricker as I'm doing more recipe development. I have to be even more organized now otherwise I end up with too much or too little food. Planning ahead is key!
I like to shop on Friday to get it out of the way so my Saturdays are free. That way I can prep (i.e. clean, chop, roast, cook) food anytime Saturday or Sunday. I like to split up the work so it's not a massive undertaking taking over my entire Sunday afternoon. I also shamelessly buy many foods pre-cut, frozen or pre-packaged to reduce the work.
Related: Beginner's Guide To Meal Planning
Tracking What I Eat
I've always felt like an outsider in the healthy living community because most bloggers promote intuitive eating and NOT calorie counting. I'm the exact opposite. I need food boundaries otherwise I will overeat. When I first started calorie counting, it was eye opening to see how much I was overeating and how I wasn't balancing my meals properly. I've learned so much from calorie counting, and still do it to this day.
While I calorie count for different reasons, not for weight loss but rather to support my fitness goals, I still find myself learning more everyday about the nutrient density of certain foods and how to pair foods. The biggest value I've gained from it now is being able to track how certain foods make me feel. I suspect I have a number of food sensitivities beyond gluten and lactose. Tracking my food allows me to reference what I ate on the days I felt like crap.
Keeping Trigger Foods Out of the House
For me, I've learned there's some foods I just can't have in the house. One of them is chips. If I have a bag of chips in my pantry, guaranteed I will chow them down in a day. Instead I buy pre-portioned snacks so I don't go crazy eating them at once. I also have other tricks for portioning my foods so I don't overeat them which I teach in my virtual nutrition course.
Practicing Self Care
With my Hashimoto's and sensitivity to stress, I've learned I have to listen to body and slow down when I need to. I've always been a go, go, go person juggling too many things and saying yes to everything. Since I was diagnosed I am much more conscientious of how I'm feeling.
If I'm tried, I go to bed at 7pm and let myself rest. I push myself less because I know I'll feel horrible the next day, or get sick if I don't. A little extra rest or a day off goes a long way in helping me avoid those crashes. I'm able to push harder in the gym, make better food choices and less cranky to those around me when I practice self care.
Whether it's working out or eating right, it's very easy to get stuck in a rut of doing or eating the same thing over and over. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies or plateaus. In fact, it's something I see often with my clients. They rely too much on doing the same things over and over, then get frustrated when they stop seeing results.
The body isn't like a computer requiring the same code over and over to function. It needs to be challenged to keep it guessing. That's why I constantly switch the foods I'm eating vs. eating the same things week after week. I do the same with my training plan too. My workouts vary greatly week to week and are never the same routine.
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