Trying to live a healthier lifestyle may seem easier said than done. There are so many books, videos, classes and guides out there that it’s hard to figure out which actionable steps you can take immediately to make a big difference. Where to start?
Luckily, we’re here to help.
How can you really get healthier starting right now? Members of the gr8nola community went back to the beginning of their journeys and weighed in on the very first step they each took towards living a better lifestyle. The great news: Every suggestion is totally doable.
1. Focus on Nutritional Value
“Food and fitness have always been a part of my life but not exactly in the healthiest way. I played multiple sports growing up so I was always very active. My mom raised my brother, sister, and I by herself while working 2 jobs so there wasn’t much time for healthy home-cooked meals. We relied a lot on fast food especially because it was cheap. When I was about 18 years old, I really started watching what I ate and got into nutrition. Since then I have developed a passion for cooking healthy meals and working out. When you combine these two together you feel amazing inside and out! Today, I try to inspire others to eat healthy and be active so they can feel what I felt when I made a complete lifestyle change for the better!” - Chad Montano
Chad makes an important point: When it comes to beginning your health journey, one of the easiest things to do is to start thinking of food as fuel. What’s going to power you through your days and help you achieve gr8ness? Which foods, while filling, are going to leave you feeling sluggish or bloated?
2. Get Rid of Processed Foods
“The first step I took to getting healthier was to cut out processed foods. Once I stopped eating processed dairy, flour, sugar, and packaged foods with preservatives, everything shifted. The way I ate became less restrictive by choosing whole foods — whole dairy, whole wheat and natural sugars. My weight has maintained for 10 years, my skin is clear, my sleep is restful, and my energy [is] balanced, and I don't over obsess about every bite I put into my mouth.” - Molly Alliman
Giving up all of your favorite less-than-gr8 foods overnight might be overwhelming, so start small. For example, if you’re a Diet Coke fiend, eliminate it from your daily intake for several weeks before making another change. Starting out with smaller steps like taking out a few processed foods makes the journey seem much more manageable.
3. Learn How to Cook—And Not Just Buy Pre-Made Foods
“One of the first steps I took towards improving my health was stepping into my kitchen and learning how to cook! It helped me ditch eating fast food and processed snacks for fresh, vibrant, and nourishing meals!” - Kruti Shah
You can’t be 100% sure of the food you’re putting into your body unless you made it yourself (or really know how to read labels). Plus, stepping into the kitchen allows you to be creative, not to mention it’s a gr8 stress reliever!
4. Bring Other People on Your Journey
“[I’ve] found that cooking a nutritious meal with a friend not only brings me so much joy but makes cooking all the more enjoyable! Get a friend and start cooking!” - Emily
Accountability is everything when you’re working on a healthier lifestyle, so take friends and family along for the ride. Maybe that’s cooking with a friend like Emily or heading to a weekly exercise class with your mom. You’ll walk away feeling better while also building stronger bonds with the people you love.
5. Stay Away From Fads
“After college, like most women in their early twenties I knew I needed to find a way to get healthy and stay healthy in a sustainable way. The top two things that’s helped me were 1) running and 2) eating whole foods; no more processed ‘low cal’ junk food.” - Amy Edlund Hodges
We’ve seen more fad diet and exercise regimens than we can count. Instead of focusing on whatever the latest, gr8est craze is (The Thighmaster! The Master Cleanse! The Shake Weight! The Cookie Diet!), stick to tried and true methods. Nothing is better than eating more fruits and vegetables and getting in at least some moderate form of exercise several time a week.
There are a million different ways to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle, and these are just a few to get your started.
We want to hear from you! What’s the first step you took when you decided to get healthy? Let us know in the comments below!