Living healthy has many benefits. To start, living a healthy lifestyle reduces the chances of health problems like diabetes and heart disease. It also allows you to enjoy time with your friends and family, which isn’t always the case for those with health problems.
Another benefit is that living the right way saves money in the long run. As medical costs and insurance continue to rise, I have really focused on finding ways to reduce my family’s health related expenses. I have come to the conclusion that living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep our medical costs low for now and well into the future.
My wife and I always considered ourselves fairly healthy people. We don’t smoke and rarely drink. We both get decent amounts of exercise (I run 20+ miles per week) and try to eat at home as much as possible. We eat more fruits and vegetables than most people we know and are not huge meat eaters.
Even though it appears that we are living a healthy lifestyle, there are many things we are still doing wrong. My wife and I (and our kids) like to snack a bit too much. I drink way too much coffee and use to drink 2 or more diet soda’s every day. We don’t get enough sleep and tend to avoid buying organic foods that cost more than their counterparts.
I have now made it a goal to start incorporating a healthier lifestyle one day at a time. Check out my plan below on where I plan to start making changes.
How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle – My Plan
Having three young children, we have also worked hard at making sure our children grow up living a healthy lifestyle. What we recently learned however, is that we probably were not doing enough. From the foods that we eat to the amount of sleep and exercise we get – there is a lot of room for improvement. As a result, I have put together my 5 ways I plan to live a healthier lifestyle as I approach turning 40 (less than two years).
1 – Stop Eating Processed Foods – My number one goal to live a healthy lifestyle is to stop eating processed foods. I have become very passionate about reading labels to see what is in the food I am eating. In the past, I had never considered myself to be a bad eater – even though I ate a lot of processed foods.
Our family is making a conscious decision to begin phasing out processed foods and incorporating as many natural products into our diet like fruits, vegetables (i.e. kale), beans, and nuts. I have already successfully phased out my addiction to Diet Coke at the start of the year!
2 – Exercise More – I enjoy running, which is something most people probably don’t enjoy doing. I currently run about 20 miles per week, although I use to run much further. Most of my miles are put in on a treadmill, although I try and get outside at least once per week to run.
As I get older, I have realized that running will not be as easy for aging legs. I plan to incorporate other cardio exercises that have less impact on my muscles and joints to help save my legs for the future.
My weekly exercise routines will also incorporate weight training for the first time in years (see #4 below), which is something I look forward to.
3 – Lose 10+ lbs. – At last check, I weighed in at 172.8 lbs.. At 6′ 0″ in height, my body mass index is 23.4, which is considered normal weight. What scares me is that if I put on just 12 more pounds, my BMI would be 25.1, which is considered overweight.
I always thought that I was fairly skinny, or at least that is what people tell me. However, I am at the upper limit of the normal weight scale – which I need to change. My weight loss goal now is to weigh 160 lbs., which will make my BMI = 21.7 – the medium of the normal weight range.
As I approach 40 years of age, I know that keeping the extra weight off will become harder and harder. That is why I am taking action now.
4 – Build Muscle – I have always focused on cardio workouts and have not really built any muscle since I was in high school. I have no aspirations of ever becoming a body builder, but I have realized that building muscle has several benefits. As our bodies age, it is important to build strength.
Instead of hitting the bench press or buying a bunch of dumbbells, I am going to try implementing a few kettlebell workouts into my week activities. A kettleball does not take up too much space, are fairly inexpensive, and can be done in the convenience of your home.
As I begin my workouts, I will document my results along the way.
5 – Get More Sleep – Getting enough sleep will be my hardest challenge. Working a full-time job and raising three children is exhausting! That leaves little time for things like building extra income streams, exercising, or even cooking. In order make time for those activities, I tend to jeopardize my sleep.
I have come to realize that by getting less sleep, I am actually making myself less productive. Instead of getting less sleep, I need to find more ways of being productive. Hopefully, my wife and I can use things like freezer cooking to make both of our lives more efficient so we have the time to spend with our family among other things we enjoy.