I have often wondered, are there fun ways to get healthy and fit?
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a step, especially when introducing a healthy lifestyle to your daily routine. As we go further into the article you will find ways to trick yourself into being healthy because being healthy can be made fun through meal preparation and presentation, getting active without having to hit the gym.
Healthy Lifestyle misconception.
Before we go on our health and fitness journey, it would be very important to address one of the biggest misconceptions about leading a healthy lifestyle. Most people associate a healthy lifestyle with a boring and dull lifestyle mostly because a healthy lifestyle requires one to be disciplined and discipline for most of us is not our best trait.
When the topic about living a healthy lifestyle comes up most of us think about eating a dry bitter salad, unattainable hydration regimens and aching bones from all the ridiculous fitness routines from fitness coaches that seem to have body goals that are impossible to reach. Well, guess what? Staying healthy doesn’t have to be so complicated, boring and stressful.
Like all changes, adjusting to your health and fitness daily routine doesn’t have to happen overnight. It happens gradually because our minds respond to change like a child, so you have to “pull out a lollipop” and trick yourself into doing it.
Health psychology and its role in our health-related choices.
It has been scientifically proven that healthy habits are highly psychologically influenced. The reason why you eat what you eat and do what you do is a result of your psychological conditioning. Take for example; we don’t like vegetables because we have been conditioned to think that they don’t taste good as opposed to a burger or a pizza (of which it’s really true, I’d pick a pizza over a salad any day.) which is why the last time you went shopping, you overdid it with the veggies and now they are rotting in the fridge because every other night you promise yourself it is the last time you are eating take out and you will start eating healthy tomorrow.
Vegetables naturally don’t taste good, so you can’t just throw them in the pot and expect them to turn into an awesome Chinese takeout. When it comes to getting fit, we think of those strenuous workout routines that leave our body aching and unable to move a muscle without a whimper. And often we become over-ambitious and end up setting ourselves for health and fitness goals that only last two weeks after the New Year’s Eve. You can never win that way, all you will do is get really good at the back and forth dance.
Fun ways to stay Hydrated.
Our bodies are 75% to 80% water and you know what that means, you have to stay hydrated at all times. But drinking 2 liters of water isn’t a joke (although some have to drink less and some more, according to age and weight, none the less hydration can be a nightmare.) I often fill up a 2-liter bottle in the hope of getting some forced motivation to drink it all up but I would feel so discouraged at the end of the day after realizing that I have only drunk a few sips from the bottle, and sometimes, none at all.
Just like eating healthy and staying fit can’t be achieved overnight, you can’t drink large quantities of water on your first try if you haven’t been doing it all along. It’s therefore also important to trick the mind into going on that hydration journey.
1. Use smaller bottles.
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Sometimes, like me, people can make the same mistake of filling up a big bottle with water in the hope of forcing themselves to drink it all. If your discipline is in check, this might work but if you are like most of us who struggle with discipline you might want to dial the milliliters down a notch.
Smaller bottles of water are an easier target to hit and the moment you finish the first cycle of milliliters, you feel accomplished and this motivates you to feel it up again, making hydration less of a chore and more of an accomplishment. I personally use my hydrogen rich water bottle to achieve my hydration goals. If you want to spice it up, find a hydration buddy and compete on who finishes their water goal of the day first. Loser has to settle the tab on cheat day. It would be fair to pick someone with the same water goal as you.
2. Play around with your fruits.
If the amount of water you have to drink is still a struggle even after using the small water bottle trick and you have lost count of the number of tabs you have had to settle in the last few cheat days, worry not, you don’t have to fill up your hydration routine with just water. Fruits and vegetables are amazingly filled with an abundance of water (maybe let’s stick to fruits that taste better). Below are a few ideas to stay hydrated with fruits.
• Watermelon and cucumber
These babies are packed with a large amount of water. Cucumbers alone are packed with whopping 95% water content (although that’s a vegetable) and watermelons are 92% water. Now, combined with watermelon and juiced up; you have water that doesn’t taste like water not to mention the additional nutritional value. Fill up a small water bottle and bottoms up!!
• Infuse your water with fruits.
Another way to trick yourself into drinking water is to infuse water with fruits and allow the fruit’s juice to slowly sip into your water and then drink. Fruits that work great with this idea are citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, and limes. Berries work wonderfully too and if you are daring enough you can mix the citrus with the berries for a fruitier taste.
• Make a smoothie on the go.
If you want to go all the way with delicious hydration, take a whole bunch of high water content fruits and blend them into a nice cool smoothie (you can add a bit of some high content vegetables too, I promise you won’t even taste them), add the water content with some ice cubes and sip away!
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PS: I am not recommending that you completely cut off the pure water as it is still important to have it. This is just a way of slowly adjusting to hydration and I recommend that you gradually increase the amount of pure water that you drink as you go.
3. Replace beer games with water games.
On a hot summer day, invite your health buddies and replace beer games with water games. And just to make sure everyone is getting enough dose of water, take it all the way and play water Olympics. Here are some games you can add to your Olympics,
i. Water pong
v. Flip cup
You can add as many as you like.
Fun ways to eat healthily.
Eating healthier means you have finally managed to sneak in mainly enough fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Although a balanced diet constitutes a variety of different types of food, providing adequate amounts of nutrients required for good health.
1. Exotic diet.
Pretend to be tourists with your friends and adopt an exotic diet for a week and if you like it, extend it to a month. Most traditional exotic diets are healthy and include delicious recipes of fruits and vegetables. One diet to try out is the Mediterranean diet.
2. Fruity cereal.
Include some fruits in your cereal in the morning like berries and even dried fruits.
3. Fruit desserts.
Make a layered fruit truffle instead of using cakes, chocolate, and ice cream. You can include some low-fat yogurt to add some character to your dessert.
4. Breakfast on the go.
Sometimes we are too busy or rather too late to sit down and have a healthy breakfast. Smoothies are a wonderful way to not miss the most important part of the day. Blend some muesli with fruits, nuts, and low-fat yogurt and have your breakfast on the go. Try to experiment and sneak in a different vegetable each time you make a breakfast smoothie. It’s feeling and it’s packed with nutrients!
5. Meaty salads.
Vegetables can be hard to have raw especially if you also have to dial down on the salad dressing. Make your salads more interesting by adding white meat like fish and chicken (don’t overdo it). Add some cheese too and you can also include some carbs like rice or pasta and then you have a whole meal in a salad. The key is to have more of the vegetables than the other ingredients but having meat, carbs, and cheese will make it more palatable.
Fun ways to stay fit.
Starting a fitness journey is not easy. The first few days your body aches all over if you don’t do it well. This is why you want to gradually adjust to your fitness routine or you will quit on day number 3. It happened to me so often. Here is how you trick yourself into adjusting to a fitness routine.
1. Don’t start alone.
You know what they say about power in numbers. When you are going on a fitness journey you might want to consider finding a fitness buddy, if you can find a team, even better the commitment. Sometimes we need people to urge us on and other people need that too. Having a support network for fitness can be the best step you will ever take to living a healthier life.
2. Don’t rush into the serious stuff.
Now that you have found a support network for your fitness journey, it doesn’t mean that talk yourselves into climbing Mount Kilimanjaro the next morning. Remember your body isn’t used to vigorous activity so just to make sure you won’t give up after a week, find simple activities. Like for instance, walk your dogs together in the morning or evening for 30 minutes. It’s fun because you are interacting with your friends and bonding with your pets, you can hardly notice that you are exercising. It becomes more of a hang out than a workout. You will find yourselves increasing the time you take for a walk.
3. Have a boot camp with your support network.
No, you don’t have to go to a military camp for this. Anyone of you in the support network can have people over for the weekend and you can feel it up with fun activities. Create teams and compete against each other. After a few weeks of your walks, your body adjusts to being active and a weekend of petty running around won’t hurt that much. If you like, make the walks a thing for the week and take turns to host weekend boot camps.
4. Attend Community activities together.
There are so many community fitness activities around you if you pay attention. Enter as a group in the fun ones like Fun runs, color runs etc. It’s nothing serious, it’s more fun actually but staying fit at the same time.
All work and no play makes John a dull boy. Allow yourself and your support network to splurge on the junk food once in a while, having it too often can beat the whole purpose of trying to get healthy and fit. Have a cocktail, order a large pizza, have some candy, think of it as a reward for being disciplined with your health routine. We all know it wasn’t easy tricking yourself into doing it!!