Today I want you to get real. How to live a healthy lifestyle should be the key question for everyone reading this article today. Yet health is often an area of a person’s life where they tend to cut corners, and to a large degree ignore it totally. It’s a busy life for most of us. And keeping ourselves healthy is all too rarely near the top of our list of ‘things to do’. Convenience often wins – we are all so busy that convenience is at a premium.
This is the final part of my healthy lifestyle blog post series. If you haven’t already read Why Is A Healthy Lifestyle Important and What Is A Healthy Lifestyle quickly go and read them now and then come back here for the final installment to our healthy lifestyle blog series.
We’ve got a lot to cover so I’m going to dive straight in. I am going to show you how to put yourself in control of your diet and your weight. It’s tough but with my help and support I know you can do it. I’m going to lay it to you straight right now and show you what you need to do to score a “perfect day” on my healthy lifestyle program.
a. You need to eat 3 main meals a day and have 2 snacks. These would be breakfast (meal), mid-morning snack, dinner/lunch (meal), mid-afternoon snack and tea (meal).
b. You need to make sure you don’t miss any of the meals or snacks, you need to feed your body regularly.
c. Each main meal needs to contain no more than 10 grams of (total) fat.
d. Your snacks need to be 2 portions of fruit, veg or a mix of both.
e. You need to exercise for at least 50 minutes a day.
f. You need to keep within your daily recommended alcohol limits.
g. You need to drink at least 2 liters of water.
Check out the daily scorecard from my healthy lifestyle plan here and I’ll explain what it all means. Each day, a maximum of 10 points are up for grabs and over the course of 1 week you will achieve your weekly healthy lifestyle score. Based on your weekly score here’s what you can expect to achieve:
55 points or more -> Lose up to 6 inches or 3% body fat over the course of 6 weeks
50-54 points -> Lose up to 5 inches or 2% body fat over the course of 6 weeks
35-49 points -> No Change (better than nothing)
Fewer than 35 points -> Increasing body fat – LOOK OUT – Trouble ahead
I appreciate I’ve just dumped a lot of information there so let me give you some perspective on what I’ve just shown you. Notice how when calculating your weekly results I didn’t mention you will have lost so many pounds or gained x amount of pounds. It’s for a good reason! We are obsessed with our weight so the easiest fix is to not measure our results in weight gained or lost but inches gained and lost from our overall body measurements. My gym members knew that if they kept their weekly score high they knew they would lose 6 inches in 6 weeks, this is tried and tested results with thousands of my gym members using this program. If you are curious this would equate to anywhere between half a stone to a stone in weight loss but it varies so much from person to person that inches lost is the more accurate measurement to track and it’s the measurement you should start tracking when using any diet program. I’ll get back to which measurements you need to take at the end of this post.
When this program was created, the daily recommended alcohol limits were 3 units for men and 2 units for women. These are the alcohol limits you would use for your perfect day scoring. You will notice you lose points for going over the limits so it’s in your best interest to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum if you are trying to lose weight.
Drinking water is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle and you can not cheat for this rule, although you can bend it slightly (more on that later). Again, this is another topic which is covered in my Healthy Lifestyle Plan.
Now for some good news! When I say exercise I don’t mean you have to hit the gym for 50 minutes and do the best workout of your life. Exercise can be something as simple as going for a walk. Being active is essential if you are to stay healthy. In my Healthy Lifestyle Plan I show you exercise suggestions ranging from swift walking all the way up to my 300 workout, none of which require a gym membership! It’s important to incorporate being active into your daily lifestyle. Going for a walk along the beach with your partner on a nice summers day would be a far better exercise for you than an unmotivated jog on a treadmill for example.
You will notice healthy snacks are fruit and veg. It should be no surprise and it was a big sticking point for a majority of my members who used the plan. If like them, you don’t fancy tucking into 4 portions of fruit and veg daily then luckily, I have a cheat but more on that one later :-).
The last subject I want to approach is fat. Your body has a love / hate relationship with fat. It needs fat to protect your vital organs and provide you with energy between meals. Too much fat and… well, I’m sure you know the damage too much fat does to your body. On my healthy lifestyle program all fats are the same (saturated, monounsaturated, trans fat, polyunsaturated) and you need to limit your total fat intake for each meal to 10 grams. It’s not easy and I have many “done for you” meal suggestions for you to use in the Healthy Lifestyle Plan and again, I have another cheat which you can utilise to make sure you can eat a very satisfying but relatively healthy meal and still be within the rules of my scoring system above.
I will get back to the Healthy Lifestyle Plan at the end of this article but I want to (briefly) outline some other pointers to achieving a healthy lifestyle. These are:
1. Cut out Caffeine
Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and cola) is a drug, a strong stimulant that actually generates a stress reaction in the body. If you cut out caffeine for three weeks you will notice many benefits, such as feeling more relaxed, less jittery or nervous, sleep better, have more energy and fewer muscle aches.
2. Moderate Exercise
Stress is the state of increased arousal necessary for a human to defend themselves at a time of danger. The result is that our bodies go into a state of high energy but there is usually no place for that energy to go; therefore, our bodies can stay in a state of arousal for hours at a time. This isn’t good. Exercise is the most sensible way to dispel this excess energy. It is so much better for you to exercise such as taking a brisk walk, a run, a bike ride or a game of squash. Regular exercise can drain off on going stress and keep things under control.
Another way to reduce stress in the body is by using relaxation techniques. We have the ability to put our bodies into a state of deep relaxation by triggering “the relaxation response.” In this state, all the physiologic events in the stress reaction are reversed: pulse slows, blood pressure falls, breathing slows and muscles relax. The relaxation response needs to be brought forth by intention. Fortunately, there are many ways of doing this. A state of deep relaxation achieved through meditation or progressive muscular relaxation for example will bring you many personal benefits.
Sleep is an important way of reducing stress. Most people know what their usual sleep requirement is (the range is five to 10 hours per night; the average being seven to eight), but a surprisingly large number of people are chronically sleep deprived. When you get sufficient sleep you will wake refreshed, have good daytime energy and wake naturally before the alarm goes off in the morning. Sleep can be key in reducing stress and help you cope and function better.
5. Take time out
Are you one of those people who would think nothing of working from dawn to dusk without taking breaks, and then wonder why you’re stressed. You need to read your bodies reactions and learn when to extend yourself and when to ease up. You need to act on the information your body gives you. The key to reducing stress is taking periodic time-outs, a short recess every couple of hours throughout the day. Try dividing the day into roughly two hour segments. These time-outs can include power naps, meditation, daydreaming, a social interlude, a short walk, a refreshment break, a change to low-concentration tasks or listening to music. Leisure time and levels of distress are inversely proportional – the less leisure, the more stress. We all require time to meet our own needs (self-care, self-nurturing, etc.) and when that is neglected, trouble usually follows. Self directed activities can include exercise or recreation, relaxation, socializing, entertainment and hobbies.
6. Get Real
A common source of stress is unrealistic expectations. People often become upset about something, not because it is innately stressful, but because it does not concur with what they expected. When expectations are realistic, life feels more predictable and therefore more manageable. There is an increased feeling of control because you can plan and prepare yourself (physically and psychologically). Set yourself realistic expectations, and stop expecting the impossible.
This is one of the most powerful and creative stress reducers of which I know. Reframing is a technique used to change the way you look at things in order to feel better about them. We all do this inadvertently at times. The key to reframing is to recognize that there are many ways to interpret the same situation. Is the glass half empty or half full? If you see the glass as half full, it will feel different than seeing it as half empty because the way we feel almost always results from the way we think. The message of reframing, then, is that there are many ways of seeing the same thing – so you might as well pick the one you like. You must see positives in a negative situation. Notice that reframing does not change the external reality but simply helps people view things differently (and less stressfully).
8. Belief Systems
A lot of stress results from our beliefs. We have literally thousands of premises and assumptions about all kinds of things that we hold to be the truth. We have beliefs about how things are, how people should behave and about ourselves. Most of our beliefs are held unconsciously so we are unaware of them. This gives them more power over us and allows them to run our lives. It is critical that you get in control of your beliefs and remove the disempowering ones.
There is an old saying that “a problem shared is a problem halved.” People who keep things to themselves carry a considerable and unnecessary burden. We need to be able to express our problem by way of either having someone we can talk to or by writing it down.
10. Life Balance
If you want to achieve a healthy lifestyle you must take steps to ensure you maintain a certain level of balance… spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and financially. You need to balance work and family, and all the other areas of your life without spreading yourself too thin and having a guilt trip when you do one thing, but think you should be doing another. All of the key areas of our lives overlap and interlink, effecting each other. Unless we create for ourselves satisfaction in each and every part of our life, we can never truly be fulfilled, or live a contented, happy and healthy life.
No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home.” —BENJAMIN DISRAELI
Ok, that’s the end of this blog series but I’m not going to end this post here just yet. Now is the time to make a change in your life and once and for all get healthy. Over the next 6 weeks I want to show and teach you the same healthy lifestyle program that I charged my gym members £295 for! As you know already, it’s called the Healthy Lifestyle Plan and thanks to the wounders of the internet I can show you how to implement everything we have gone through in this post, give you the scorecards and show you all the cheats to having a lifestyle, the meal plans plus lots more and I can do all this free of charge! To get started click here and this page will scroll to our Healthy Lifestyle Plan signup form in our sidebar (it’s on the right side of this page if you are on a large display). Simply enter your email in the box provided and click the GET STARTED button and you’re all set.
I’ll see you on the Healthy Lifestyle Plan!