Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle can often seem expensive. Between gym memberships that you hardly use, over-priced ‘health foods’ and costly equipment, having a healthy lifestyle of your own may seem completely out of reach. These modern complications have created the perception that “healthy living” is exclusively for rich people or for those with lots of disposable income.

The truth is that the definition of a healthy lifestyle is different for everyone, and can be easily adjusted to your particular circumstances. Most of the things people can do to live a healthier lifestyle cost nothing at all––and you might even save some money in certain areas of your life!

1. Compare your food options.

Healthy food is not necessarily expensive–you just need to know what to buy in order to save money, while also looking after your health. Feeling healthy and good often comes from giving your time and attention to things, not money. By keeping a close eye on what goes in your meals, fully understanding your options and being smart about your expenditures, you’ll be able to manage a healthier diet easily. 

Additionally, eating cleaner and greener has been proven to play a more vital role towards overall wellbeing.

  • Finding substitutes for expensive foods like proteins is a great way to save money. Protein hides in a lot of places you might not expect. For example: Lentils, beans, tofu, milk and whole-grain bread are all cheaper as compared to meat. Making protein a main source of your food can help reduce your appetite as a protein diet releases a hunger suppression hormone. This is one of the ways in which you can lose weight too, as your body will take in fewer calories in total. 
  • Buying food that is in season locally rather than imported is also a good way to cut costs while supplementing your health with the necessary vitamins and fibres! For example, mangoes are tastier and cheaper from April to November due to our tropical fruit season. Additionally, seasonal foods are generally harvested at their peak,  giving it more time to develop with more nutritional value.  This also makes your seasonal food fresher and more flavourful. 
  • Creating meal plans before you go shopping can give you a clear idea of what you will be spending on food and groceries. These plans will help you prevent the temptation of unhealthy last minute options and guard against food wastage.

2. Control your portion sizes

Controlling your portion sizes means that you are less likely to overeat. This is important because it not only allows you to manage your calorie intake, but also eat an adequate amount of nutrients according to your body’s requirements. Additionally, you should consider how often you’re eating, and at what times throughout the day. Make sure you:

  • Eat at regular intervals throughout the day. According to experts, meals should be spaced three to five hours apart.  
  • Keep portion sizes small. By using smaller plates and bowls to eat your meals, you can visually trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more. In one study, people using a large bowl (6.9-L) ate 77% more pasta than those using a medium-sized bowl (3.8-L).
  • Start meals with a glass of water. Drinking a glass of water up to 30 minutes before a meal can help control your portions. One study   showed that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before each meal resulted in a 44% greater decline in weight over 12 weeks, most likely due to reduced food intake.

3. Regular exercise

You may think that the key to a good workout means that you need to join a gym or purchase tons of exercise equipment. The good news is that there are cheaper alternatives that can get you the same result:

  • Buying inexpensive multi-use equipment such as exercise balls or multi-gym machines, or resistance bands. 
  • Walking is an exercise that is both easy and affordable to practice. Find ways to incorporate movement into your day, whether it’s as simple as walking during the last mile of your commute home from work or parking a bit further from the supermarket to get some extra steps in.  
  • Instead of employing the services of a personal trainer, you can easily follow free workout videos online. There are lots of free exercise videos out there, from yoga and cardio training to zumba and kickboxing lessons.

4. Cut down on drinking and smoking

Two of the most detrimental habits that prevent you from leading a truly healthy lifestyle are excessive drinking of alcohol and smoking. These habits are very detrimental to your health as well as your wallet. Cutting back or stopping both completely will improve your general health.

Instead, try drinking more water or herbal teas, as these options bring more health benefits. The body relies on water for all its daily functions, while certain herbal teas can provide antioxidants and boost your immune system.

5. Take some time off to manage your stress

Managing your stress is also part of a healthy lifestyle. What is more important is that you take the time to make yourself calmer, process your emotions in a healthy way, and take a step back from the stress of work. Fortunately, this is free and requires nothing except your time and dedication to monitoring yourself regularly in order to make sure that you are managing your stress properly. 

It’s essential to get quality sleep as it’s a vital part of your overall health. Overwhelming stress and sleep deprivation could really disrupt the balance of several important appetite-regulating hormones, causing you to eat more than necessary.

Other  low-cost options to relieve stress include:

  • Borrowing a book from the library
  • Taking up a new hobby like painting
  • Meditating for 15 minutes every day
  • Going to the park or beach
  • Taking a weekend off to visit somewhere local
  • Enjoying a nice meal outside with your loved ones

The final puzzle piece is to ensure that this healthy lifestyle is protected. In case of accidents and unforeseen medical bills, purchasing an insurance plan can greatly lower large unexpected costs, and save you money in the long run. Consider AIG’s personal accident insurance options to see how you can safeguard your future today.