I've never been particularly unhealthy, but I'd always seen healthier choices as a compromise and as somewhat of a radical change, but over time I've slowly been making small changes that have made me not only healthier but actually enjoy the results and the process, and as a consequence I've stuck to them.
Overall I think the most important thing is to change the way you think. In the past I've wanted to get healthier to be slimmer, which would make me feel happier about my body and in turn about myself. I used to think that healthy is the same as slim and lean. Now I see my health as something different, as the absence of illness. I want my body to be strong. When you are young it is difficult to see this as something important, but not only can illness strike at any point in your life, but you will also reap the benefits of the changes you make now in the future.
1. Start your day with a good breakfast. I tend to alternate between bircher muesli and avocado on toast and have porridge as well in the winter. Play with the toppings and you will add variety.
2. Stop counting the calories in your food. Nothing good ever comes from it.
3. Eat as much unprocessed as you can. I find that since I have eaten less processed foods I get fuller and eat less quantity, and my body gets more nutrients from what I eat.
4. Stop eating fat free products. A full fat greek yoghurt with a bit of honey is way heathier than a runny fat free version that will make you hungry in 5 minutes.
5. Make your own snacks: raw brownies, granola bars... there are so many easy recipes and you will know exactly what goes into them. This is a super easy way to avoid processed foods.
6. Eat more fruit and veg. Add some berries to your porridge, a side of salad, some sweet potato chips... Do it slowly and you will find yourself craving the green stuff, I promise you!
7. Enjoy food and indulge every now and then, but make it the exception. If you absolutely love sticky toffee pudding, do have one when you're out for dinner. The less often you have them the more you will enjoy them!
8. Eat at the table.
9. Listen to your stomach and only eat when you're hungry
10. Move! This doesn't mean you have to go to the gym 3-5 times a week. Find an activity that you enjoy and get enjoyment out of and do it at least once a week, no excuses!
11. Use your car less and instead use your bycicle or your own feet as your mean of transport more often.
12. Do yoga. Do it often and it will change your life.
13. Make plans with friends, stay connected.
14. Spend more time away from your computer
15. Sleep. It's when your body resets itself, when it processes everything that's happened the day before. Don't deprive yourself of it.
16. Develop a morning and evening routine. It'll help you gear up for the day ahead and unwind at the end.
17. Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate all the good things about your face, your body... Tell yourself out loud.
18. Travel, whether it is near or far. If you can, go far, but if time and budget are problems, do smaller trips.
19. Look forward, not backward. Try not to get too bogged down by the past and look ahead. There may be so much good stuff coming your way.
20. Do your thing and don't care if they like it. Don't compare yourself to others.