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101 Healthy Habits that Anyone Can Follow

Posted in Balanced Body | October 13, 2009 |

  

This post was written by Anastasiya. Follow me on Twitter or StumbleUpon and keep your life balanced!


healthy lifestyleImage by Kj

Developing healthy habits can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start. A lot of people fail at healthy living simply because they try too many things at the same time and they end up not sticking to anything. They get back to their double cheeseburgers and “exciting” evenings in front of the TV and keep getting bigger as their health problems increase.

Developing healthy habits that stick is not that complicated if you choose the simple ones and progress slowly. Here are 101 healthy habits that you can choose from. Just pick one habit at a time, conquer it and then try the next one. It is that simple!

Healthy Eating

  1. Always eat a big breakfast
  2. Add 1/2 cup of fruits to your breakfast
  3. Drink 8 glasses of water and carry a bottle of water with you all the time
  4. Start a food diary and track how much you are actually eating (with 2/3 of the Americans being overweight or obese overeating is a real problem today). The general guidelines are 1600 calories for women and 2200 for men (active people would obviously need more)
  5. Substitute fresh and dried fruits and berries for candies and granola bars
  6. Eat fish on most days of the week. Choose fatty fish like salmon, herring and trout as often as possible
  7. Eat only whole grain cereal. Look for at least 3 g of fiber and not more than 10g of sugar in one serving
  8. Add walnuts to your breakfast or salad to increase your omega-3 consumption
  9. Add sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts to your meals to increase your vitamin E consumption
  10. Eat red meat once a week or less
  11. Choose only lean meat and poultry
  12. Do not fry shrimp or any other shellfish. Grill, boil or bake it to reduce cholesterol
  13. Eat fresh fruits as snacks between meals
  14. Eat at least one apple daily
  15. Choose fat free or low fat dairy products
  16. Eliminate foods made with trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
  17. Make every meal balanced: 40-50% carbs, 25-35% protein, 20-30% fat
  18. Include at least 1/2 a cup of beans and other legumes in your meals daily (legumes are high in protein and fiber, but very low in fat and carbs. They will keep you full longer, lower your cholesterol levels and nourish your body with important nutrients)
  19. Consider going semi-vegetarian completely or at least for a week every month
  20. Ditch soft drinks
  21. Limit your consumption of juices. Opt for freshly squeezed juices to get the most nutrients and dilute them with water to reduce calories
  22. Have small treats every week. Choose a treat that you like the most and have it every week to keep your healthy eating enjoyable (eating a pizza or a chocolate Sundae is not a treat, it is pigging out)
  23. Do not eat heavy meals before you go to bed. If you are hungry go for some fruit, a small bowl of whole grain cereal or yogurt
  24. Exclude foods made with high fructose corn syrup
  25. Eat lots of brightly colored vegetables (spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beets etc.) because they are rich in anti-oxidants, flavonoids and vitamins
  26. If you are trying to lose weight, decrease each of your meals by 25%
  27. Use coconut oil for cooking. Most liquid oils (like olive oil, canola oil etc.) become toxic and turn into trans fats once they are heated to 200 degrees whereas coconut oil stays stable up to 360 degrees
  28. Use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing for your salads. Forget about Ranch and Thousand Island for the sake of your heart and arteries
  29. Drink dry red wine with fatty meals (limit it to 2 glasses for men and 1 glass for women)
  30. Drink coffee (you can enjoy up to 3 cups of coffee daily and reduce your risks of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease and colon cancer)
  31. Soak meat for 6 hours in a wine or beer based marinade before grilling. It will reduce the amount of carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) and other harmful substances for up to 88%
  32. Eat hot and spicy stuff
  33. Eat oatmeal in the morning
  34. Choose cottage cheese and yogurt instead of regular cheese and sour cream when cooking
  35. Eat dark chocolate to cope with cravings and to protect blood vessels as well as to prevent cardiovascular disease (do not go overboard though, one or two squares daily is all you need)
  36. Eat whole wheat bread with at least 3 g of fiber in each serving
  37. Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches
  38. Follow a Mediterranean diet to decrease risks of cancer and heart disease (Mediterranean diet is rich in lean proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and red wine)
  39. Eat only wild caught fish, grass-fed beef and free range chicken to ensure that you get the best nutrients without chemicals or contaminants
  40. Go half-organic
  41. Follow “The Less – The Better” rule when eating
  42. Do not eat in front of the TV, a computer or while reading a newspaper
  43. Drink loose green and black tea without sugar
  44. Decrease your daily sodium intake
  45. Make snacks not more than 100 calories. A 500-calorie piece of cake is not a snack, it’s a meal
  46. Add at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal (one serving is about 1/2 of a cup of sliced produce and 1 cup of leafy greens). Aim at getting 5-9 serving of fruits and vegetables daily
  47. Drink vegetable or tomato juice instead of fruit juices
  48. Stack your fridge with healthy products weekly to avoid last-minute carry outs, unhealthy frozen dinners and eating out

Exercise

  1. Walk for at least 30 minutes every day
  2. Start your day with morning exercises
  3. Buy a pedometer and make at least 10,000 steps every day
  4. Schedule your workouts beforehand
  5. Have 10-15 min workouts several times throughout a day (you can do push-ups and sit-ups, go up and down the stairs, walk around the block, have a mini Yoga workout)
  6. Get yourself a dog and go for a walk with it every day
  7. Walk with a weighted west to burn more calories and to prevent bone loss
  8. Add weekly Yoga sessions to relieve stress and improve you mind and body connection
  9. Buy a jumping rope and jump as often as you can
  10. Exercise with your kids and your partner
  11. Add muscle strengthening workouts at least once a week
  12. Start a physical activity log
  13. Get at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate activity weekly (brisk walking, dancing, gardening, swimming) or at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity weekly (jogging, cardio aerobics)
  14. Follow “The more – The better” rule with your physical activity
  15. Sign up for a community event like a walk for a cause, 5K, triathlon etc.
  16. Increase your physical activity by 10% weekly
  17. Make your own motivational collage and keep it in front of you all the time
  18. Stretch out every 1-2 hours at work
  19. Invest in a mini home gym – buy a few dumbbells, resistance bands,a jumping rope, a medicine ball or a stability ball. This way you can squeeze in a short workout at any time
  20. Buy exercise DVDs, find workouts on YouTube or sign up for a workout podcast and work out at home
  21. Employ an “I think I can do” attitude to stay on track with your workouts
  22. Create back-up plans for your workouts in case of obstacles, e.g. “If there weather is bad I’ll …”, “When I have to work late I’ll …”, “When I am tired I’ll …”
  23. If you are a runner or a walker then buy new shoes every 300-400 miles
  24. Find your best workout and start it today
  25. Try new activities monthly to keep you enthusiastic about working out
  26. Use your imagination when working out (imagine that you are climbing a mountain when you are working out on an elliptical machine or that you are competing in a marathon while running on a treadmill)
  27. Add balance exercises to your workouts – complex movements force your mind to work harder engaging multiple parts of your brain as well as multiple muscles (try dancing, Pilates, Yoga)
  28. Join an online community where you can track your progress and talk to people who have similar interests or goals as you do. Most popular fitness magazines have free (or almost free) personal trainer tools and online communities on their websites (menshealth.com, shape.com, runnersworld.com). Other great websites are sparkpeople.com and bodybuilding.com
  29. Get inspired. Read blogs, websites or magazines that share exercise success stories and find your inspiration every day
  30. Walk a few laps around the mall before you start shopping

General health

  1. Use sunscreen all the time
  2. Spend 15 min in the sun daily to boost the production of Vitamin D in your body
  3. Take Vitamin D supplements in winter or if you do not spend enough time outside
  4. Take multivitamins and mineral supplements
  5. Go to sleep earlier and sleep longer (get your 8 hours of zzz-s daily)
  6. Do not forget about your regular medical checkups.
  7. Keep your vaccinations up-to-date
  8. Keep track of your health. Control your cholesterol levels, your body measurements, your food intake, exercise and just the way you feel to avoid serious problems in the future and to realize when something goes wrong. A great website to track everything is thecarrot.com

Mental and Emotional Health

  1. Laugh every day, several times a day
  2. Make a list of up to 100 personal pleasures and pursue one every week
  3. In order to gain balance in life make a list of things “My life would be complete if …” and see what areas of your life you need to focus on
  4. Make a list of the happiest moments of your life and think about one of these moments every day. This will be decrease your stress levels and make you a happier person
  5. Keep an uncluttered to-do list. Avoid to-do lists that are longer than 9-10 tasks and update them as you go
  6. Add mini relaxation sessions (1.5 – 2 minutes) throughout the day: close your eyes, relax, breathe slowly and deeply, imagine a peaceful and serene place
  7. Read books every day
  8. Play brain games as often as possible (Games for Brain, Brain Games)
  9. Feel younger no matter what your age is – do things that are not “appropriate” for your age, hang out with younger people, be optimistic and less serious about life
  10. Learn a new skill every week
  11. Spend money on memorable vacations and trips with money you’re saving rather than shopping.
  12. Try balance exercises with your eyes closed – this will improve your brain’s plasticity. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed or try Yoga poses with closed eyes
  13. Ditch TV
  14. Practice media detox days weekly (no TV, no cell phone, no Internet)
  15. Become spiritual (consider prayer, religion, meditation, positive beliefs). Spirituality is linked to longevity, better health and lower stress levels as well as a general sense of well-being.

I hope that you will pick healthy habits that have appealed to you from the list above. Do you have any other healthy habits that you would like to share with me? What is your experience of developing healthy habits? I am looking forward to your feedback in the comments below. Stay healthy and

Keep is balanced!


 

Smart Thoughts (35)

  1. Wow, great post Anastasiya, definitiely one for bookmarking. Thanks for the link as well, I appreciate it.

  2. Great tips Anastasiya! Surprising to see coffee on the list. I’ve made it a point to go with tea instead of coffee, in order to cut down my caffeine in takes. Its funny to see that my diet pesco-vegetarian of only eating fish and eggs for meat is so good for me.

    • Anastasiya says:

      Coffee is one of the debatable issues among health professionals now. Moderate amounts of caffeine are healthy for your body and if you do not have any heart problems or hypertension then this is a great way to energize yourself during the day. Moderate doses of caffeine are 200-300 (this is 2-3 cups of brewed coffee). However if you are a fan of Starbucks then you have to watch out. Tall Starbucks coffee (12 oz) already has 260 mg of caffeine and the Venti cup has a whooping 415 mg of caffeine (too much if you ask me). I personally do not drink more than 1 cup of coffee a day and sometimes I skip my morning cup for a few days .

      • Hi, fantastic list Anastasiya. I prefer the taste of really nice filtered coffee, but I don’t like drinking too much because I feel the caffeine soar through me if I do (not a fan of that experience). Some of your “Healthy Eating” points are very interesting, and I’d like to ask you about them if you don’t mind:

        14. The apple a day. I was under the impression that apples actually don’t have many vitamins in them. Though I have heard of the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Is there a reason why you chose the apple?

        20. Soft drinks. Ya – ditch ‘em. I agree. Coke contains at least one ingredient found in household “cleaning” products. Scary.

        27. Coconut oil instead of olive oil. Wow – I’ve never heard of this before. If cooked “under” 200 degrees, does coconut oil have the same positive properties of olive oil?

        31. Soaking meat in wine or beer. Yippeeeeeeeee! (and of course, this is also good because of the 88% anti-cancer factor… ehem)

        43. Loose green and black tea. Actually, I prefer White Tea. It’s similar to Green tea, though it doesn’t taste bitter. Also, it has x3 the antioxidants and only three quarters of the caffeine.

        47. Tomato juice instead of fruit juices. Why is that? Is it something to do with the sugars in fruit juice?

  3. Jeffrey Tang says:

    “Soak meat for 6 hours in a wine or beer based marinade before grilling. It will reduce the amount of carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) and other harmful substances for up to 88%”

    Did not know that.

    This post is a gem, Anastasiya. I haven’t read every single habit on the list yet, but this is definitely a post for me to revisit later!

    • Anastasiya says:

      I do not think it is possible to read every single habit in this post :-) It would be really crazy if you did so. I hope that as you get back to this post you will find new healthy habits that you can follow

  4. Wow! Anastasiya this list is a gem!

    Jusyt how long did it take you to compile.

    Incredibly I actually do most of these things apart from the ones about meat eating since I am a vegetarian:-)

    I am definitely going to take up your idea of a media free day – on my peace retreat last weekend, I managed without the internet for one whole day but had cravings by Sunday morning!

    Another really key healthy habit I recommend to everyone is to have a clean, clutter free space. Mentally you will feel so much better.

    • Anastasiya says:

      It took me the whole week-end to compile this post – a lot of work but definitely worth it:-) Your tip about a clean clutter-free space is a great one. I have to declutter my desk every week otherwise it gets unbearably cluttered and I can’t concentrate on any single thing sitting there.

  5. Anastasiya, what a great list! I especially love #22, #35 and the entire mental and emotional health section. Thanks for all the work that went into this.

  6. A lot of great points – One thing I would stay away from is dairy because I have done a lot of research on dairy and for me it doesn’t seem to be the most healthiest thing – causes a lot of mucous build up. Also quite a few articles out there referring it to as the white poison.
    Also – I have switched from drinking coffee to flavored yerba mate teas. You get some caffeine that is more balanced than coffee, minerals – such as magnesium and potassium, amino acids and greater anti-oxidants.
    In fact I am just writing a blog post on superfoods and yerba mate is on the list.
    Thanks for sharing these healthy habits

    • Anastasiya says:

      I have read articles about dairy too and I know that there is a lot of debate going on about it. I know that a lot of people are allergic to dairy and this is the reason why they have problems with mucus. As far as I know dairy is also the best source of calcium (even though some vegetables contain high amounts of calcium it cannot be used by a human body) and this is the reason why I’ve included dairy in the list. I’ve also read that cultured milk products (yogurt, cottage cheese) are better for you because they do not cause as many allergies and mucus buildup as regular milk.
      I’ve never heard about yerba mate teas. I’ll try them as soon as I find some. Thanks for your experience and advice on this topic. I really appreciate it :-)

  7. Krishna says:

    This is a precious post, Anastasiya, bookmarked! And its great how you offer up 101 tips and advise to start with one – I just did.

    Really liked #41 and #42, trying very hard to be mindful while eating.

    Cheers,
    Krishna

    • Anastasiya says:

      I am glad that you’ve found some tips that will work for you Krishna. I believe that with small steps everyone can make their lifestyle 100% healthy. Good luck!

  8. Great post. I really appreciate and agree with your words. Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

  9. Madeleine says:

    Anastasiya, A great long list. I especially love #100-Practice media detox days. I watch almost no TV but am addicted to the Internet, so that sounds a bit challenging.

    I’ve noticed that my diet gets healthier and healthier as I grow older. Several months ago I gave up eating beef for a number of reasons. I don’t miss it at all.

    Very well done!

  10. Andy Tice says:

    Stumbled on this post, and given that its “that time of the year” I’d like to add: Take it slowly!

    Seriously, I’ve been through a number of resolutions where I said “this year I’ll loose weight” and always went for it during January only to leave it half way through the month.

    Last year (well 2009, but who is counting) I started scouting out parking stations which were further and further away from my office. I know no one likes to give up free parking, but when you offset this against the price of gym membership for a week its more than cost effective!

    I went from 1km to 2km to 3km walking distance (so double up on the there and back again), in 2 months. Doesn’t sound like much I know, but I was doing all this without having to pay gym fees / miss out on my lunch break / carry a load of gym gear around with me and have to shower.

    I was already feeling better about myself, so come March (and the first bit of nice weather) I decided to start running every Saturday and Sunday morning. Nothing difficult, just a 3km round the block kind of thing. The two months of walking had strengthend my knees and lost me 5kgs in the mean time.

    Long story short – by carrying on this I started to ditch every 2nd or 3rd walk to work and substitute it with a run in the morning instead (before driving to work and my nice close parking spot!) and on weekends increasing the length of the runs to 5,10 then 15kms without too much stress.

    The whole thing took me to September this year to get up to doing two 15km runs on a weekend. In the mean time I’ve dropped 20kgs (from an original 100) – doesn’t sound like a lot when compared to what those exercise machines which you might have got for Christmas but I promise you … it works!

    Take it slow!

    • Anastasiya says:

      Congratulations Andy! You’ve done a great job this year, I wish that more people could listen to your advice and experience and follow your example. You are right, gym is not the only thing that will make you fit and trim and exercising in the nature is a hundred times better. I personally stopped going to the gym about 8 months ago and I’ve never missed it since.
      Keep up the good work!!!

  11. Hey Ana,

    I just stumbled across this, fab post and definitely gets my thumbs up!! :-)

    Happy new year!

  12. I came here from msn. After reading Remarkable ideas om your Blog. I like.

  13. hugh says:

    “15.Choose fat free or low fat dairy products”

    stopped reading right there, good luck with your outdated dietary goals 2012

  14. “A lot of people fail at healthy living simply because they try too many things at the same time and they end up not sticking to anything.”
    i feel that 101 is too much….to live upto

  15. Kruthika says:

    I StumbledUpon your blog and I’m inspired! Thank you :)

  16. Adella says:

    “Healthy Eating – 1. Always eat a big breakfast.”

    Actually, it’s been proven that if you eat too large of a meal at breakfast, it is NOT good for you! Your metabolism is just beginning and if you slam it with a giant breakfast, no bueno. It is of course extremely important for you to eat breakfast but if you consume too much, it’ll slow down your metabolism. Your larger meals should be lunch and dinner. :)

    Great post, Anastasiya!

    • Anastasiya says:

      Hi Adella!

      Thanks for your comment!
      Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it provides the fuel for your body to get going after a long period of “starvation” at night. You are right, eating Country Boy Breakfast from Cracker Barrel is definitely a poor choice. But many people today (especially women) consider a cup of coffee with a doughnut from the drive through their breakfast staple. Making better is more nutrient-rich breakfast choices is the healthy way of living.
      I am happy that you made me clarify this point, Adelle! Thanks for stopping by!

  17. mel says:

    vaccinations.lol.

  18. Love it… especially #31 down- soak meat in wine or beer to reduce carcinogens- very neat

  19. Joe says:

    These are truly wonderful tips. You recommend 8 glasses of water, but what if I’m not thirsty enough to drink them? I this case, considering the high concentration of Fluorine and/or Chlorine in the water, wouldn’t it be better to skip the additional (unnecessary) glasses of water. I hope that makes sense.

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