Living well isn’t just about losing weight – a few small changes really can make a big difference. Here food and lifestyle blogger Dannii Martin tells us about how she turned her life around in five simple steps.
Magazines, books and celebrities are always pushing the latest fad diet that will help you drop an arbitrary amount of weight in a certain space of time and the focus is always on a number. But, we all know that fad diets don’t work and it is realistic healthy changes to our lifestyle that makes it sustainable.
Although your goal for making healthy changes might be to lose weight, our weight fluctuates so much, for so many different reasons, that you can easily get disheartened if that is your only focus. So during my own 100lbs weight loss, I started focusing on all the other amazing changes that were happening as a result of my new healthy lifestyle, and they were what kept me motivated on days where the scale wasn’t moving.
1. The best thing I ever did for my skin was drink more water.
Keeping yourself well hydrated is really important for general health, and it can also be good for weight loss as there are many times when you think you are hungry, but you are actually thirsty, because your body can mix up the signals.
But drinking enough water has made my skin so much clearer and I need to use much less products on it now. Be careful not to drink too much water though. There isn’t a specific amount everyone should drink, as it depends on the individual and how active they are.
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2. Running is cheaper than therapy!
Exercise in general is great for weight loss, although your diet is super important too, but the main benefits of exercise I found were not on my physical health, but on my mental health.
Just heading outside for a run in the fresh air and getting some air can totally change my mood. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people that always loves exercise, and I definitely have to force myself to workout sometimes, but I always feel better after it and I never regret it. If you are feeling down or angry, take it out on the pavement and go for a run.
3. Discovering new foods.
When I was at my unhealthiest, the majority of the food I was eating was beige and far from exciting. If it hadn’t seen the inside of a microwave, then I wasn’t going to be eating it. When I decided that I needed to totally change my diet, I discovered so many new foods that I actually liked.
I had never heard of kale and quinoa before, let alone know what to do with them. I quickly realised that these weren’t “hippy foods” and I could incorporate them in to meals I already loved to make them a little bit healthier. I didn’t give up meals like spaghetti Bolognese, I just threw in some kale to give it a vitamin boost and I made my own sushi at home using quinoa instead of rice.
4. Making new friends.
The sad reality is that not all of your friends are going to be supportive of your new healthier lifestyle, but that is their issue and not yourself. Luckily, a healthy lifestyle change is the perfect opportunity to meet some new like-minded people. Joining a running club is a great way to make new friends, and everyone is at different levels, with plenty of beginners that you can run/walk with and have a good chat – a great way to get to know each other. Group fitness classes are another good way to get to know people, as showing off your two left feet in a zumba class is a good way to have a giggle and meet some friendly new faces.
5. Easier everyday tasks.
Although I did want to lose weight and I am not going to lie, seeing that number on the scale going down was exciting, my main motivation was always my health and being able to do every day things that little bit easier.
Going up and down the stairs all day is no longer a problem and I actually build stair workouts in to my daily routine. Picking things up or putting my shoes on is a breeze, as I don’t have all that extra weight getting in the way. If I see the bus coming before I get to the stop, I don’t even have a second thought about running to catch it, and I know I won’t collapse as soon as I get on the bus after running for it.
There are so many amazing benefits of making a healthy lifestyle change, and it’s honestly the best thing I have ever done. It’s something that I have to work at every day, as it’s so easy to slip back in to unhealthy habits, but seeing these little every day benefits is what keeps me motivated, and it’s what can keep you motivated too.