One of the first articles I wrote for Life and My Finances was about the cost of obesity and how you’ll spend way more on the side effects of being overweight than you ever would buying real food and being active. February is here and the hype of new year resolutions has faded but now is as good of a time as ever to recommit to getting fit in 2016.
Signing up for a gym membership or investing in a new workout video to do from home takes very little effort; the hard part is showing up every day to press play. As an additional challenge, even if we can commit to working out 30 minutes each day we still have to decide what we put in our mouths during the rest of our waking hours. As a dietitian, I can tell you that I see the most significant and lasting results when food is the primary focus. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet; running on a treadmill until you “cancel out” the 300 calories of Oreos you ate last night before bed isn’t beneficial for so many reasons.
If you are one of my faithful readers at Budget for Health you hear me talk about the PFC concept non-stop. It’s choosing protein (P), fat (F), and carbs (C) at every meal and snack. I always share my monthly “What We Ate” series to show that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to do. The challenge I see people run into most is that they want to change their eating habits but don’t know where to start. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of making such drastic changes that we never even take a first step.
10 Healthy Habits to Pick Up in 2016
What I want to do is offer 10 seemingly simple habits to help you get started. What I suggest is choosing ONE of these and working on it until it becomes a habit. It would be great to eventually make all 10 of these a habit but if you try to do them all at once you are less likely to succeed. Again, choose ONE, make it a habit, and then choose another ONE. Just like your financial habits, a little bit can add up to a lot over time, for good or for bad. Eventually you won’t even have to think about doing these because they will be a habit, second nature, and part of your routine.
- Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up
- Swap your store bought salad dressing for homemade (make a big batch and store in a mason jar or a dressing shaker). My go-to is homemade balsamic vinaigrette: just use a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to olive oil.
- Eat breakfast (simple enough? Sadly, many of us struggle with this)
- Brush your teeth after dinner to avoid snacking when you aren’t hungry
- Eat a snack or meal before you go grocery shopping
- Pack your lunch for tomorrow right after dinner
- Make extra for dinner so you have leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner and don’t have to cook every evening
- Use your lunch break to be active. Put your phone down and stretch or go for a walk.
- Make a grocery list (no winging it)
- Hard-boil and peel a dozen eggs so you have a quick protein option ready to go.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You don’t have to have every dinner planned for the month (although I encourage you to work up to that!) but you’ve got to start somewhere. Once you get the momentum going from picking up a few healthy habits you’ll find that the snowball effect you hear about with paying off financial debt applies to your health as well!
What healthy habits would you add to this list?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.