A Dozen Healthy Habits

Making healthy choices is sometimes difficult because it may cause significant shifts in our typical behavioral routines and it requires consistent commitment. Consciously deciding to make these healthier choices is one thing—sticking to the behaviors is quite another.

We have to develop new habits, which require a certain amount of ritual. A fully formed habit means that the new behavior you have introduced becomes automatic, which takes time. Experts have argued that it takes nearly 90 days to integrate and automate a new habit.

Here are a dozen ways to introduce healthy habits by making small, but significant changes. Why not pick one of these behaviors, give yourself 90 days to really commit to it, and try to turn it into a habit? Then reflect on how it has impacted your lifestyle and overall feeling of wellness and you’ll be ready to tackle the next one!

1. Eat five to six times a day with breakfast being the biggest meal of the day and dinner the smallest. Breakfast should consist largely of just protein and good carbohydrates; lunch a balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates; and dinner being almost all protein and healthy fats.

2. Effective “diets” are based on fairly boring concepts. You probably already know what to do. The challenge lies in the counseling and subsequent behavior change. In other words, the theory isn’t the problem, it’s the practice. Understand what to look for in applying a “diet” to you. Starting immediately you should think like a fit person and start eating and acting like a fit person. The results will follow.

3. Practice portion control. It is the key to losing weight. Eat off of 9” plates only.

4. Get moving! Take a 30-minute walk every day!

5. Avoid trans fats like the plague.

6. Snack on an ounce of raw nuts a day.

7. Avoid simple carbohydrates and simple sugars.

8. Eat more fiber (vegetables).

9. Take the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients twice a day and avoid the wrong ones.

10. Eat non-fried fish three times a week.

11. Become a label reader.

12. Eat five fistfuls of vegetables a day and four fistfuls of fruit.