Entering Into A Brand New Decade With A Healthier Lifestyle
Photo Credit: bbernard/Shutterstock
I promised myself when I turned 30 that I’d be more disciplined when it came to taking care of myself. I used to hit the gym dedicatedly and exercise hard. But that came to a halt once I switched cities. I found myself in a rather poor physical state that birthed a range of avoidable health issues — PCOS, eczema, insomnia, anxiety — you name it. That is a long period for a person who loves food and hates to exercise.
Of course, I had excuses for not exercising enough or eating unhealthy food. But as soon as I entered into a new decade of my life, something clicked inside me.
I realized I wanted to feel not only good about myself but to look good, too. So I decided to take a stand and do something about it. If you’re in a similar boat and want to bring sustainable changes in your life, read on to find out what I did:
Go on a Protein-Rich Diet
Protein helps build muscle, makes you grow stronger, and gives a more toned look. The minute I replaced half of my carb intake with extra protein, I started to feel the difference. I eat various types of protein — lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu, and tempeh are all excellent options. Choose something based on your dietary preferences.
Don’t Opt for Crash Diets or Fad Diets
They may seem to work at first, but they aren’t sustainable in the long run. Healthy, balanced meal choices are your best bet. For me, a protein-rich diet has done wonders.
Keeping Sugary Treats to a Minimum
I usually have a piece of dark chocolate or a handful of fresh berries for a daily treat. If you can avoid daily treats and stick to having them once or twice a week, that’s even better.
A Healthy Breakfast Is Essential
Eggs are a great option, on their own or paired with whole-wheat toast. You can also try Greek yogurt with berries. My favorite is a cheese omelette.
Bring on the Heat
Spices like cinnamon and turmeric in Asian or Mexican cuisines add tons of flavor and also have health benefits. A protein-rich diet can quickly become bland if you don’t play around with spices. So make a flavorsome meal for yourself and experiment with recipes, and you won’t miss the processed junk food.
Have Clear, Specific Fitness Goals in Mind
I used to think sticking to walking every evening would help me reach my weight goals. But that didn’t help because I didn’t set a benchmark. Don’t say “exercise more.” Say “go for a 30-minute run every morning before work,” or “walk 8,000 steps every night.” That way, there is something concrete to track.
Try Out Different Types of Exercise
Overall, a workout routine should include both strength and cardio components for maximum benefits. Aim for at least 180 minutes of exercise per week. My daily routine consists of lifting weights, running on the treadmill, and going for walks.
Have a Nighttime Skin-Care Routine
Ever since I started investing in serums, cleansers, and moisturizers, I have noticed a considerable difference in my skin. My only advice is don’t skimp — buy only the quality brands that suit your skin type. Your skin deserves the best of products.
It’s nonnegotiable. I have been applying sunscreen daily for more than a decade, and I strongly recommend you use some at home as well.
Carve Out a Nighttime Routine
Create one that calms you down and that doesn’t involve electronic devices. Keep your phone and laptop in a different room. My day starts early, so I now shut my laptop earlier than usual. An hour or two before bed, I simply dim the lights and do something soothing, like journaling, doodling, or reading a good book. I don’t check messages or emails on my phone until the next day. This helps me sleep better.
Take a Power Nap
Naps can be just the thing you need to pep you up for the rest of the workday — and they’re certainly a healthier pick-me-up than a sugary snack. Aim to keep your power naps 15 to 20 minutes long. If that’s not your ideal choice, have a cup of black coffee.
Get Regular Health Check-ups
A sluggish or hyperactive thyroid can wreak havoc on your concentration, mood, and weight — and can go undetected for years.
Take a Daily Multivitamin Supplement
Look for varieties that contain zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Hydration Is Critical
Drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day and more after you complete a workout. I usually have a tall bottle of water by my side at all times. That helps me remember to keep on sipping.
Keep Alcohol Consumption Within Limits
Stick to three drinks, no matter what the occasion is. I have completely stopped drinking. I can’t deal with feeling lousy the next day anymore. It isn’t worth it.
Remember: Every meal you eat won’t be your last. There will be another slice of pizza, another ice-cream sundae, another chocolate chip cookie. Remind yourself of this when you have treats and it’ll be easier for you not to overeat. At the same time, don’t feel guilty; instead, enjoy the treat. You deserve it.
Your 30s can be your best decade if you decide so. I want the next 10 years to be the most productive, happy, and satisfying years of my life. Why not? I’m smart enough to make the right choices and successful enough to afford those choices. Nothing matters as much as your physical and mental health. Put those first in every aspect of your lifestyle, and you’ll be unstoppable.