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Health & Wellness Articles  ›  Healthy Lifestyles

Fitting Healthy Habits Into Your Hectic Life

13 Tips to Get More Nutrition and Fitness into Your Day

-- By Life Coach Mary Guarino, Ph.D.
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There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do. And it can feel like an added stressor when you are trying to integrate healthy habits into your already hectic schedule. But if you make time for healthy habits, you’ll find yourself with extra reserves of energy that will lower your stress and help you get through life’s challenges.

Here are a few things you can start doing right now to make healthy habits a relatively painless part of your routine:

1. Drink water throughout the day. You don’t hear this nearly enough: water is an all-purpose wonder-substance. It’s great for your skin, your digestive system, and circulatory system, and aids in weight loss and cellulite reduction. If you feel fatigued during the day, it’s often because you aren’t hydrated properly. Drink water throughout the day, sipping from a large bottle or glass. If you have it nearby, it’s easy to remember. If you don’t like the “taste” of water, keep a supply of lemon so that you can add a slice to your water – it cuts any bitterness, adds a bit of vitamin C and makes it taste more festive!

2. Cut back on the amount of soda and coffee you drink. Sugar and caffeine dehydrate you and create energy rushes followed by crashes, which are ultimately energy-depleting. Substitute with drinks like green tea or 100% fruit juice.

3. Replace high-sugar foods with low-sugar versions. Cutting back on the amount of refined sugar you consume helps reduce calories and weight gain and also helps you avoid the energy slumps that come from sugar withdrawal. Items high in refined sugar include most soft drinks, cereals, baked goods, and of course, candy and ice cream. Look for low-sugar or no-sugar versions of these, or simply opt for healthy snacks instead.

4. Stock up on healthy, portable snacks. When you are grocery shopping, pick up bags of baby carrots, string cheese, nuts, fresh and dried fruit, single serving packs of applesauce, yogurt, wholegrain crackers, peanut butter, turkey jerky, etc. Having healthy portable snacks around will help you avoid bad vending-machine, convenience store and fast-food options. Read some more portable snack ideas.

5. Take the time to plan healthy meals for the week. Spend 15 minutes or so to map out your meals. Keep it simple. Then, when you shop for groceries, make your purchases based on the meals you will make during the week. This will help you avoid relying on less healthy take-out or fast food choices. Learn even more grocery store tips.
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About The Author

Mary Guarino, Ph.D. Mary Guarino, Ph.D.
Mary Guarino is a life coach who helps people evaluate and improve their lives and relationships. She holds a doctorate in lifespan developmental psychology and a coaching certificate from the Institute for Life Coaching.

Member Comments

  • Great article. - 11/3/2013 8:47:51 AM
  • Thanks for sharing. - 10/23/2013 6:13:52 AM
  • Years ago, at one of my jobs, I heard a new employee say......
    " How soon we forget ".
    She was being trained by a seasoned employee who was expressing frustration that the new kid on the block wasn't learning fast enough.
    Those words have followed me into every new situation I have encountered.
    Just because I already know something doesn't mean everyone else already knows.
    There are new people ( young and old ) who are joining this site daily.
    Some already know some or all of these tips listed....some do not.
    This article is for those who do not.
    How soon we forget...... - 9/19/2013 11:20:54 AM
  • A lot of people are posting that this is the "same old same old" -- Well, I can only speak for myself but I'm glad to read tips like this. Even if I have heard them before, here I am so I obviously need a reminder. I need to tape these things on my forehead. I agree with the person who questioned drinking 100% fruit juice. Avoiding sugar of all kinds is the best. But I guess if a person were drinking a lot of "real" soft drinks, fruit juice would be an improvement. So it's all relative.... - 8/15/2013 9:26:33 AM
  • JGMARIE80
    I have done most of the 12 tips. Tip number 13--- I'm still having trouble with.. Maybe,it's a shift worker's problem but I'm dong my best to catch some zzzzz's anyway I can. - 4/22/2013 3:02:00 PM
  • Self Motivation should be #1. Sometimes I don't have any. No matter how much motivation I read or hear from others, the self motivation is what gets me off my seat. I do walk alot during my time out of the house. - 10/27/2012 5:15:07 PM
  • Jump on the treadmill/exercis
    e bike while you catch up on some reading??? I DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ!!!

    Same thing with the exercise tapes - i I'm home y kids are bugging me, I've tried exercising at home - I'm interrupted Every.Single.Time - 10/18/2012 12:24:27 PM
  • working on #13. it's so hard to tell myself to go to sleep when i'm hopelessly behind on work (all the time). but i do notice that my mood is better the next day if i get a full night's sleep. - 10/18/2012 6:59:42 AM
  • LEISIE931
    I walk everywhere at college, which is why I actually lost weight there. It's harder for me at home because I'm not constantly moving. - 8/25/2012 7:31:57 AM
  • SUPPORT2010
    #2, replace sugary drinks with 100% fruit juice? Fruit juice is pure sugar. - 8/16/2012 10:51:44 AM
  • LITTLEMAMASTAR
    If you want to have fun exercising, try land zumba or if you have bad knees aqua zumba. I'm 64 years young and have never loved exercise more. It's a party every day. Most zumba teachers offer the first class for free...thus, you can give it a try. - 2/2/2012 10:35:48 PM
  • Oh, and every time I start exercising - I hurt myself. I'm nursing a sore knee right now that started with hurting it somehow while riding my exercise bike a couple of months ago and I keep re-hurting it. - 2/2/2012 5:56:54 PM
  • Yes, it is the same old, same old, although like SPAZTICREXE said, there are always newbies who haven't heard it.

    That said, a big problem I've started having since joining SparkPeople last summer is that I'm just getting so fed up with being nagged about it all. It IS always the same advice over and over and over.

    The Diabetic Diet! = eat fruits and veggies and whole grains
    The Depression Diet! = eat fruits and veggies and whole grains
    The ________ Diet! = eat . . . what do you think?

    So yeah, we're all supposed to be nearly vegetarian and, of course exercise. 30, no now they're saying 45, oops, no now it's 60 minutes a day. (yes, I've read all three) And you always have to keep adding minutes as you get used to it, and more weight as you get used to it or it doesn't do any good any more (yes, I've read what amounts to saying that). So, when does it stop? I guess we all end up doing nothing but exercising all day and lifting weight like those super heavy-weight lifters.

    I know it's all supposed to be good for us, but I just have gotten to the point where I get snide about it and don't want to do any of it because I'm so sick of hearing it over and over and over.

    Especially when my mother in law who grew up eating poorly, wasn't careful about what she ate as an adult, has been what would be considered fat most of her adult life, and never did exercising other than housework and just being one of those people who can't sit still is turning 90 this year and still doing very well. Her older sister does have a pacemaker and is diabetic, but she still gets around on her own power and will be 93 this year.

    My Mom who smoked, was always slender, ended up weighing 80 pounds and dying from Alzheimer's at 82.

    I don't know. I just am tired of having to have something that used to be a fun, enjoyable part of life turn into just another worry. Another of life's stressors.

    Oh, and then stress makes you gain weight too . . .

    *sigh*

    I just wish I could feel as happy, cheery, excited and positive about healthy eating and exe... - 2/2/2012 5:52:51 PM
  • I agree with IVY_13--this article is same old, same old. I heard most of these things for the last 30 years over and over and over again..... - 2/2/2012 1:29:55 PM
  • SPAZTICREXE
    @ Ivy - if you notice, there are comments on this article dating all the way back to 2007. They are re-using articles that have great advice instead of adding to the '100+ that say the same thing.' I think its a great idea to bring articles like this one back to the forefront from time to time - you never know when someone is new to the site and *hasn't* heard it all before! - 2/2/2012 9:38:38 AM