For the first 47 years of my life, I made every wrong decision. I ate wrong; I exercised wrong, and I just lived wrong! Bridget Jones was a polished, elegant goddess compared to me! And by the time middle age came knocking, I was overweight, miserable, and hopeless.
But that’s when something snapped. I finally got tired of myself and committed to five easy lifestyle changes that turned everything around for the better.
Today, as I sit here with you, I weigh much less, look much better, make more money, and enjoy fulfilling, supportive relationships that have nothing to do with social media.
So what did I do? What did I change? Let’s take a look at the five life-altering habits that carried me from frumpy to fabulous at 48.
#5: Stick to the 5-a-Day Schedule
On advice from the World Health Organization, England’s National Health Service recommends eating at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables a day, which averages out to about five daily portions.
Now, to be candid, sweets and caramels sound much more appetizing, but I forced down a piece of fruit in the morning, noon, and night. At lunch, salad was on tap. And yes, the first week was rougher than winter in the Scottish Highlands.
My brain almost convinced my body to stick with fizzy pop and fast food! But after about seven days, everything began to heal. My stomach stopped aching, I was energised, and unhealthy foods were soon in the rear-view mirror.
#4: Get Moving
Scientists have done the studies, and the results are in: moving is exceptionally healthy. Exercise is the closest thing we have on Earth to a magical cure-all. Reports suggest that staying fit may help fend off depression, help us flourish, ease “chemo brain”, and keep our memories sharp.
Since I was so out of shape, group exercise classes were anxiety traps to be avoided at all costs. Instead, I acquainted myself with remote exercise. These days, the at-home exercise industry is huge, and the options are endless.
You can even sign up for things like the International Women’s Online Race. The great thing about online exercise events like the IWOR is that treadmill running isn’t the only option. Numerous activities qualify. Participants can do yoga, cycle, or stationary rowing to join in on the healthy fun!
#3: Breakup With Social Media
At first, social media seemed like a good idea. It was an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family, and Facebook spying seemed harmless. But over the years, it’s made a Kafkaesque transformation into a joy-sucking basilisk, and studies show that it’s the opposite of good for our mental health.
So, I pulled the plug. Detaching was difficult, but soon, I found myself ruminating less and doing more. I met new people — in the flesh — and wasn’t nearly as beset with feelings of inadequacy. Amazingly, joy found its way back into my life.
#2: Sort Out Your Sleep Habits
Scientists still have loads to learn about sleep, but they’re convinced it holds the key to a healthy and happy life. People with optimal slumber habits enjoy:
- Sharper brains
- Better moods
- Healthier hearts
- Steadier blood sugar
- Lower weights
- Heartier immune systems
Barring other complications, eight hours of sleep a night will make you feel — and look — ten years younger.
#1: Shut Down the Nasty Voice
The most important lifestyle change I made during the frumpy-to-fabulous year was ignoring that inner voice. You know the one of which I speak. It’s always pointing out faults and scolding you for not measuring up.
Anytime it popped up, I told it to scram. At first, the nasty inner voice shouted back, but it soon slinks into oblivion, and eventually, a kinder, gentler consciousness took over.
Like I said in the beginning: my life was a pitiful mess. But by sticking to these five lifestyle changes, I was able to turn everything around for the better — and you can do the same! It just takes a healthy dose of perseverance and a dollop of self-love.