Strategies for Staying on a Healthy Track
Tips from the popular TV show, The Doctors
Staying healthy is very challenging for most people. It is not easy to push yourself and do a workout after a long day at work; it is definitely much easier to just head home, have a TV dinner (possibly even microwaved food) and straight to bed to get ready for another hard day. Then there is the abundance of ‘feel good’ food, those that you would indulge in to reward yourself for all your hard work. If you already find staying on a health track difficult, imagine how tough it is for those who have negative addictions such as to drugs, sex, work or even shopping. Nevertheless, there are many who have battled their addictions and now live a healthy life, so if they can, there are even more reasons you can succeed too.
When it comes to staying on a healthy track, there are two core rules to follow: Eat healthy and live healthy, that’s it. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it sounds. The battle of staying on a healthy track can be extremely difficult for people who are used to living life in the fast lane and totally disregard their well-being.
Skipped your breakfast? Going to bed after 1 a.m.? Drinking beyond your limit? Smoking like a chimney? Not exercising enough, or worse, not exercising at all?
If that sounds like you, you can wave your health goodbye in no time. But don’t give up hope just yet, everyone and everything can be saved as it is better late than never. Here’s how you can transform your lifestyle to lead a healthier life.
1. Have your own “mantra”
First things first, always have your own powerful “mantra” that could inspire and motivate you, even if you’re not entirely convinced at first. The key to getting things done lies within yourself, so if you have the mental strength and determination, any goal is achievable. Also, never let anyone else influence the way you think or talk you out of it. Here are some good advices from a panel of doctors from the popular US TV show The Doctors to help you kickstart your journey:
“We make hundreds of seemingly inconsequential choices every day, but they really add up—whether you take the stairs or get a coffee with a little cream instead of a super sweetened quasi-coffee beverage. So my mantra is ‘If the majority of my choices are healthy, I’m good to go.'” —Travis Stork, M.D.
“Try to be your best but know that it’s OK to cheat once in a while. I splurge but I don’t beat myself up about it. Also, I try to make healthy fun—rice cakes taste like paper! I pump up the flavour of healthy food with spices.” — Lisa Masterson, M.D.
“I’m in training. It’s hard to motivate myself to exercise, so I sign up for a triathlon every three to four months and in the summer, I ride in a mountain bike race series. I’m in training all the time, so my food decisions are made in the context of having a good workout later that day.” —Jim Sears, M.D.
2. Fit it all in at go
Whether it’s the weekday or the weekend, there is only 24 hours a day. So how do you fit exercise on top of work, play, family and sleep into that 24 hours? It is simple – have a schedule, don’t hit the snooze button in the mornings, get up early and exercise first thing in the morning. It’s definitely hard to stay on track if you can’t even do these basic things.
Discipline is a must. Try to subscribe to a daily email or text that tells you what sort of workout to do for each day, and follow them all religiously. Most subscriptions are free of charge so there shouldn’t be any more excuses from you. Here’s what the doctors from The Doctors would do:
“I write down everything on my calendar from my vacations to my exercise, and I make contingency plans in case things fall through. If, say, my ballet class gets cancelled, I’m more likely to figure out something else to do than skip exercise altogether.” —Dr. Masterson
“I take a mental health break when I can. A run or walk on the beach will go a long way to recharge me from the pace and stress pretty quickly.” —Andrew Ordon, M.D.
“My goal every day is to spend more time on my feet than sitting down, so I’ll stand at my computer or walk around at the airport if I’m waiting for a flight. And I plan ahead to eat healthy by always bringing mixed nuts and a reusable water bottle.” —Dr. Stork
3. Decode your worst habit
What’s your worst habit? That could very well be your source of poor health. It’s time for you to be honest with yourself. However, rest assured that you’re not alone on this as even the experts have their ‘faults’ and ‘flaws’:
It is ok to have bad habits as long as you manage them instead of the other way round, and take steps to tackle them.
“I sometimes let the small stuff annoy me, and I have trouble saying no. My worst habit of all is letting too much time go between my health checkups.” — Dr. Ordon
“Diet soda—I’m completely addicted to it. I don’t like the taste of water, so I have to trick myself with healthy flavours or find bubbly alternatives like light lemonade.” —Dr. Masterson
“Tortilla chips! At a Mexican restaurant, I can’t stop eating chips and salsa. Why must they lure me there every week on Taco Tuesday?” —Dr. Sears
4. Don’t forget your good habit
Even people with the worst vices may have something positive about them. Perhaps you’re a heavy smoker but you’ve never missed your breakfast? Good for you then! Try to maintain that positive aspects of yours and try to gradually cut back on your bad habits. Also, remember to eat antioxidants throughout the day if you have a busy schedule, and if you’re overwhelmed with your daily activities, try to take slow, deep breaths whenever possible.
Here’s what the doctors from The Doctors would do:
“Not overeating— I think about how I’m going to feel 30 minutes after I eat and how it will affect my health 10 years from now, and the temptation is gone.” —Dr. Stork
“Drinking water and avoiding sweetened drinks. It’s so easy to get an extra 300 to 500 calories a day in drinks alone. If you’re having a hard time making the switch, squeeze lemon into your water, and after a few days, it will taste more satisfying.” —Dr. Sears
“I always get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water and laugh every day, including at myself—or at my bulldog, LuLu!” —Dr. Ordon
Now that you know what the baby steps are when it comes to staying on a healthy track, the doctors of The Doctors have some final advices that you should know. Their advices will be good for you even in the long run:
“You have control. If 30% of what happens to our health is genetics, then 70% is determined by the choices we make.” —Dr. Stork
“If you eat well, you’re healthier. You perform better at school, work and athletics. You have better skin, eyesight, energy and attention and less chronic illness. You’ll also feel better on a day-to-day basis. I eat well because I love feeling 10 years younger. Who wouldn’t?!” —Dr. Sears
“You don’t have to go to medical school to be in charge of your health. Know your history and your body. Treat it like a machine that you want to run forever.” —Dr. Ordon
You’re now probably all pumped up and eager to emulate the experts. So if you can’t get enough tips on staying on a healthy track, here are other winning strategies for staying on a healthy track that you could easily follow:
- If you’re eating out, buy one meal and split it three-ways with your friends or family instead of a full meal and two side meals. Not only will you eat less, you will also spend less, and sharing is caring after all. It’s a win-win situation.
- Prepare your meal in smaller portion. By doing this, you won’t be compelled to eat more than you need.
- Remind yourself that 10 minutes, one mile or one loop around the block is enough exercise; if that is all you think you feel up for. It is better than nothing, and who knows, you may find you want to do more once you get started.
Being healthy is not that difficult after all, isn’t it? If there is a will, there is a way. If you still find it difficult to improve your health, you probably don’t want to!