Guest Post: How to Makeover Your Unhealthy Lifestyle

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As I’m away at camp this week, I have the pleasure of bringing to you a guest post from Alexis Bonari about healthy living. Enjoy!

From Flickr User FL4Y

We’ve all heard that diets don’t work, that bad habits take 21 days to change, and that most weight problems are more likely to be related to cultural/emotional trends than to physical problems. For many of us, these little tidbits of fact serve to highlight an important truth: living a healthier life requires a lifestyle makeover, i.e. a fundamental change to the way we approach our daily lives. Here are some basic strategies to improve your health, lose weight, and re-make your life.

Exercise doesn’t have to hurt.

When most people think of exercise for weight loss, they think of intensive aerobics classes, running five miles a day, or doing weight lifting.  While all of these are great ways to get in shape, they’re not for everyone.  Some people enjoy rigorous exercise, others don’t. 

Find a type of exercise that’s enjoyable to you.  If you like the outdoors, go for hikes or walks every day.  Try to increase the distance you travel until you are walking at least five miles a day.  If you enjoy dancing, enroll in a dance class. Turn music on when there’s no one there to make you feel self-conscious and dance around your house.  If you get creative, you’ll soon figure out some fun ways of spending at least a half-hour a day doing exercise.  Exercise doesn’t have to be painful to count as physical activity.

Where you live can affect your level of fitness.

It’s been proven that the healthiest people in our country live in warmer, more temperate climates. If you live in Alaska, you’re fighting the weather whenever you want to exercise. Also, your body tends to crave higher carbohydrate, higher fat foods when it’s cold outside.  If you live in a cooler climate, realize that the weather is the source of your cravings.  Try eating slowly when you do indulge high calorie foods. That way, your body will have more time to register that you’re full. You can cut hundreds of calories per-day by taking this one, simple step.

Don’t deny yourself food. Substitute instead.

Denying yourself food on a regular basis leads to binging. It’s a proven fact. Instead, limit your portion sizes and substitute lower-calorie options for higher-calorie parts of the meal.  Here’s an example: if I would usually get a pepperoni pizza, I would instead ask them to make it with only half the cheese, more sauce, half the amount of pepperoni, thin crust, and tons of veggies.  This way, you cut your caloric intake in half without sacrificing flavor in the process. You still have the flavors of cheese and pepperoni, but you’re not ingesting nearly the same number of calories per slice.

Friends can undermine your health.

While it’s proven that having friends is good for the soul and for your health, they can sometimes sabotage your efforts to take up a healthy lifestyle.  If they’re unhealthy themselves, your new routines can make them insecure.  Don’t let their comments get to you.  If you want to order a salad instead of chicken strips, or want to have a sandwich without the cheese, that’s your business. Most will eventually come around when they realize you’re not judging them for their lifestyle choices.

Know what you’re eating.

In many restaurant entrees and pre-prepared foods there are tons of hidden calories.  Salads that would have normally contained only 400 calories can easily be made to carry a whopping 1,000-calorie punch.  Extras like cheese, cream based dressings/sauces, etc. can easily destroy your efforts to lose weight.  Figure out what’s in your food, and substitute healthy choices or simply reduce the portion sizes of higher-calorie foods.

With only a few small changes, you can overhaul your lifestyle and lose excess weight.  Don’t let other people convince you that it’s harder than it really is.  While eating all organic foods, running marathons, and working out 5 days a week might be ideal; it’s not necessary to look and feel amazing!

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching areas of online college degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

*Photo Credit: Used under Creative Commons License from Flickr User FL4Y.

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