Should being happy and healthy be so hard to achieve? I say hell no!

With all the money making gimmicks out there relating to health and fitness it’s no wonder we’re all confused. Unrealistic and insulting click bait like “Lose 10 pounds exercising five minutes a day” and “Sculpt your butt while sitting” are meant to lure you in, not get you in shape. Not to mention the hundreds (possibly thousands) of fad diets out there trying to break their way into the market, how can we expect to get anywhere?

Getting in shape can seem as complicated as taking an algebra class back in high school, but it doesn’t need to be. Below I have included 5 simple steps you can take to lead you towards living a healthier and happier life. Enjoy!

1. Take small, incremental steps towards building long lasting habits

When it comes to improving your health and fitness, which of course helps boost your energy levels and alertness, improves your ability to deal with stress and illness and so much more, it is important to take baby steps.

When you’re confused and don’t know where to start, start small. Start by making simple changes like cutting out soda and fruit juice and drinking more water. If you don’t eat vegetables try and increase how many servings you eat each day. Replace fries at lunch with a tasty salad. The changes you make don’t need to be big, what’s important is that you practice your changes each day and work towards creating new habits. Soon eating vegetables with every meal will be as natural as brushing your teeth at night!

2. Find something you enjoy and get active!

This one might seem a little obvious but getting active can have such a huge impact on your energy levels that I have to include it in this list.

You should aim to exercise in some way everyday. Now, let me note that exercise doesn’t have to be lifting weights or running on the treadmill in the gym. Find something you enjoy, which can be anything from dancing, swimming, lacrosse, basketball or yoga. The type of exercise is irrelevant, as long as your’e getting your heart and breathing rate up, you’re on the right track. If you participate in physical activity that you enjoy the chances you’ll keep doing it skyrocket, as opposed to forcing yourself to do something you hate.

3. Focus on eating quality foods in order to feel better

When trying to improve our diet we often focus so heavily on HOW much we’re eating that we forget to look at WHAT we’re eating. The calories we consume through our food vs the calories we burn through exercise directly impacts whether or not we gain or lose weight, but it is the quality of that food that impacts how we feel.

Everyone wants to feel alert, energized and happy and the only way to achieve this is to focus on eating as many nutrient dense foods as we can. Nutrient dense foods include foods high in important nutrients such as green leafy vegetables, beans and legumes, salmon, fruit and so on. For more on nutrient density and its importance check out this article: What is nutrient density?

We need the nutrients in these foods to help with producing energy throughout the body, fighting off sickness, cell repair and so much more!

While focusing on how much we eat is important, don’t forget to focus on eating the right foods, too. Plus an added bonus is that our bodies become more easily satisfied when you’re feeding it the nutrients it needs. By eating the right foods you will feel more full which reduces the likelihood of overeating plus you will have more energy. Actually that’s a double bonus, isn’t it?

4. Surround yourself with like minded people

This advice applies to every aspect of your life. Find people that act in a way that sets a positive example for you and spend as much time with them as possible. We are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with, so if you want to change your health and fitness habits for the best starting hanging out with people who set a good example and that can provide you with support.

I’m not saying ditch your current friends or social circle, but it will benefit you greatly to surround yourself with like minded people.

5. Enjoy the highs and lows and keep moving forward

When you lack knowledge, trying to change your lifestyle can be hard. You will have setbacks, you will get frustrated and you will want to give up. You will lose weight, then you’ll gain weight. You’ll exercise for a few weeks and then miss a few sessions because of a party or travel or because life happened. Don’t be too hard on yourself, cut yourself some slack and always (and I mean ALWAYS) get back on the horse.

If you liked this article feel free to share it on social media! Or if you have any tips  or ideas for getting healthy and boosting your energy you can comment below. I would love to hear from you!