|be smart | May/June 2016
Four life hacks for living a healthy lifestyle
by Heather Hollermann
In the hustle and bustle of today's dynamic, fast-moving world, it's easy to cut corners. Rather than coming home after a long day at work to make dinner, picking up fast food seems like a viable alternative. In place of spending your evening at the gym, coming home to relax and catch up on your latest television show seems much more enjoyable. Instead of looking at a healthy lifestyle as an inconvenience, try out some of these life hacks for healthy living. These four tips can help you incorporate healthy habits into your everyday without making huge sacrifices or drastically changing the way you live.
Tip #1: Get a techy trainer
With the constant advances in technology, there are dozens of apps for phones and tablets that can help you stay on the right track. One of my favorites is the free FitnessPal app, which allows you to track all of the food you eat, the calories you burn, the amount of water you drink and much more. By tracking these things, you begin to learn how to portion your food, avoid overconsumption and meet daily goals. It also forces you to confront unhealthy habits.
FitnessPal also allows you to connect with friends and family who use the app. It doesn't share any personal information regarding your weight or health, but instead shares your accomplishments with friends and family. This way, you can keep each other feeling motivated.
Tip#2: Dine with doggy bags
Going out to eat isn't just about the food. With the summer months quickly approaching, bars and restaurants will begin opening their patios, rooftops, and windows. Nothing says summer like sitting outside with some friends eating, drinking, and catching up. So, how can you stay healthy while partaking in this summertime tradition?
The answer is simple: it's all about the portions. No one says that living a healthy lifestyle means giving up all the things you love. The key is to resist going overboard. When meeting friends for dinner, order whatever you want, but as you're ordering, ask the server to bring you a doggy bag with your food. This way, when the food arrives, you can put half of the meal aside. Out of sight, out of mind. By saving half the meal, you're not only consuming a healthier portion size, you're getting more bang for your buck. With leftovers stashed away, you get two meals instead of one.
Tip #3: Be prepared
One of the big health food trends right now is meal prepping. While this might seem like a large task, it's actually very simple. When meal prepping, you cook a bunch of food, then store it in containers so they're ready to go for the rest of the week. It could be as easy as baking or boiling a bunch of chicken breasts and steaming some vegetables in the microwave. By meal prepping, you're not only portioning your meals for the week, you're saving yourself a lot of stress and time later. You no longer have to worry about packing a healthy lunch in the morning because it's already made. If you're running late, picking up fast food doesn't seem like the most viable alternative -- you've already got lunch ready to go.
Tip #4: Don't forget the little things
Incorporating exercise in your day-to-day schedule is seemingly one the hardest parts about living a healthy lifestyle. Where can you cut time from other activities or responsibilities to make time for exercise? How can you be more active without changing your entire lifestyle to squeeze in a gym regimen?
If there is simply no time in your schedule for the gym, incorporating small bursts of exercise can be a great solution. When going to the store, try parking near the back of the lot so you have to walk farther to get inside. When watching television at home, rather than sitting on the couch, stand up while enjoying your favorite show, or even pace a little bit! With the weather warming, walk or bike to nearby destinations. You would be surprised how much of a difference these fitness shortcuts can make.
Living a healthier lifestyle is easier than you think. Incorporating small changes in your schedule and diet can spark big changes later. You just need to get started -- and these simple life hacks can be a great place to start!
Heather Hollermann is a freelance writer focused on creativity and personal style. She is a strong believer that fashion is a way of expressing yourself -- a dynamic work of art in which you live. When she isn't working on her novel, Heather can be found reading, shopping, traveling, and binge-watching television series. She is a lover of history, dark lipstick, and baked goods.