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Doing things a little differently to healthy up your day is easy peasy.
I have told my daughters, Molly and Lulu, many times, that when they’re struggling to keep on top of things in life, University, work etc. There are some essential things they need to help them through, plenty of water, plenty of sleep and healthy food would be my top 3 of those but there are others. These ten healthy habits can help you improve your midlife health and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight increasing wellbeing and life expectancy.
1. Improve the health of your skin and digestion by drinking plenty of water
It is recommended we drink 8 to 10 glasses a day. I have a continually full glass beside me while I work and if you’re a regular reader you know I use a soda stream to make the water seem more like a gin and tonic. I am not one for carrying a bottle everywhere but if I’m out bike riding or walking I will generally take a bottle. In the Brisbane summer, you can sweat A LOT so it is important to continually replace the fluid lost and then some.
2. Add more physical activity into your day
Exercise or physical activity of any kind can give you a lower risk of serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure which gives you more chance of staying healthy as you move into middle age.
If you only have 5 – 10 minutes there are all manner of short routines online to get you started.
I find walking combines quiet meditation with fresh air and exercise. So your also helping to reduce stress. Include a hill or two and walk briskly and you can call it an aerobic routine.
It is the first thing I do in the morning. I enjoy being out before most others in the quiet of the early morning. I always come back feeling more connected and ready for the day.
3. Replace One Bad For One Good
Each day take one unhealthy habit or food out and replace it with one healthy habit or food.
That chocolate you have at night in front of the T.V. Maybe replace it with a chai or turmeric latte.
Those chips that are open in the cupboard that you just can’t help snacking on. Throw them out and try a few salted cashews. Keep going in this way until there is nothing bad left and you are the squeaky clean queen in the Land Of All Things Healthy.
It doesn’t have to be food orientated:
- Walk a little further every day.
- Replace skin care with natural products
- Replace cleaning products with natural varieties
- Get to bed 15 minutes earlier
- Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed
- start a gratitude journal
My Top Healthy Food Swaps
Keep your waistline and your family happy with these hacks
Add one of these food swaps into your life each week to see and feel the positive difference in your health
4. Boost your healthy eating with more vegetables
Add veg to everything. It should be the main ingredient to which you add all other ingredients – spinach in your smoothie, cauliflower scrambled eggs, veggie muffins, chilli with cauliflower rice, vegetable noodle dishes, salads 101 ways.
I consider myself to be a vegetarian who eats meat on the side. Meat is never the main focus for us.
Half of your plate should be vegetables with some protein carbs and healthy fats.
The base of the dish is always vegetables with a little meat to satisfy our carnivorous cravings. Remember the palm of your hand is about the size portion you want and I have ridiculously small hands.
Previously I used to dish up the whole thigh portion of chicken now we are content to just eat the top part of the thigh. I buy frozen salmon from Aldi which comes in portions of about 130gm a perfect size for a portion.
With these size portions, you can buy the best. Fillet steak will go so much further.
Stop snacking on rubbish – We all have them, those times in the day when you feel like a little something to help you through. Leave the chips, lollies, sugar-filled yoghurts, muffins and cakes. Choose something which will fill you up and give you nutrients.
- Berries and natural Greek yoghurt
- A square of 85% chocolate spread with nut butter
- A healthy dip with some vegetables
- Homemade seed crackers
- Protein balls
- Healthy muffins or biscuits
- Some fresh strawberries
The list is not exhaustive. Be prepared and have some of these foods on hand for when you feel like grazing. Throw all the rubbish foods out so you won’t be tempted.
5. BYO Lunch
Whether you work from home or in an office have your own lunch prepared. We prep ours on Sat night Sun morning so everyone knows what they are eating and no one is caught short with their broccoli around their ankles so to speak.
Having your lunch prepared means no browsing the takeaway joints, not really knowing what you want, then buying anything because if you don’t eat now you won’t be responsible for your actions.
When you are hungry everything looks good despite being devoid of nutrients.
How much easier will your days be if you could just grab what you need out of the fridge in the morning and go.
Being prepared with healthy choices will help when it comes to maintaining healthy body weight and avoiding the dreaded midlife weight gain.
If you are the sort of person who won’t stop for breakfast because you wanted 10 more minutes with your eyes closed your prep could also include your breakfast. Pinterest is a great source of healthy ideas for pre-prepared meals. Give it a go.
6. Reduce stress
Stress is the number one cause of increasing your risk of serious illness as you age.
When we feel stressed our bodies pump out cortisol which will increase your appetite, increase blood sugar levels and put you on a path to insulin resistance the precursor to diabetes.
Two fabulous ways to decrease stress in midlife are by doing yoga or meditation. Preferable both. One makes you stronger in the body the other stronger in the mind but they both help reduce chronic stress.
If you’re unable to find the time at least take 5 minutes a couple of times a day to do some breathing or self-massage (I do this in the car while at the lights) on my neck, hands, head, and arms.
Even 5 minutes of relaxation can activate your parasympathetic system, the enemy of stress.
Stop forgetting appointments and your first born’s name!
7. Get a good night’s sleep
Head to bed a little earlier even 15 mins extra sleep a night can boost your brain power. You ‘The Bachelor’ fans can find out who got the rose tomorrow.
I love the winter months because I can snuggle up with my heat pack and camomile tea, read for 10 minutes, do my breathing and then sleep.
Sleeping is far preferable to watching more tv. Give it a go for a week or two and see how much better and more alive you feel.
Turn off social media and news sights for a couple of weeks and see if you truly miss them. I swear when you’re 80 you won’t be saying damn I wish I’d watched that video of the cat playing dead while I had the chance. My life would be so much more complete
8. Cut the added sugar
Sugar is an addictive substance that is toxic to your body.
Evidence suggests that sugar increases your risk of insulin resistance which can then lead to diabetes and heart disease. It also increases the possibility of heart attack and stroke.
As you age sugar reduces the elasticity of the skin so contributing to wrinkles and a less even complexion.
Sugar also aids in switching off your hunger control so increasing the likelihood of cravings for foods that are not good for you.
9. Practice being present
Not allowing negative thoughts to take hold has a positive effect on your overall health. It allows you to stay connected to what is around you at the moment. Being more present is easy and more pleasant than dwelling on that which is not going well. The more you practice this the easier it gets and the more benefit you will see.
What little things do you add to your day to make it just that bit healthier?