1.Maintain healthy eating habits. Avoid fad diets like the plague; to get all the nutrition the human body needs, eat carbs, protein, and fat (yes, even fat!) at every meal. By doing so, you’ll have a healthy heart, healthy brain, and a fully functional immune system. Eating highly varied foods will also help insure you get all the vitamins, minerals, oils, and enzymes your body craves.
• To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. That’s all there is to it. With the exception of sweets, eliminating one area of the food pyramid from your diet won’t replace the need to simply consume fewer calories.
• Avoid skipping meals, which is hard on the body. Some people even recommend eating up to 6 mini meals a day instead of 3 large ones, which can sustain energy and steady blood-sugar levels; however, many people end up turning their “mini meals” into junk food sessions and end up consuming not just more calories, but emptier ones. Be honest with yourself before making this choice.
• If you want to work on portion control, eat low energy-density foods (i.e. more substance, fewer calories). Fruits and vegetables, for example, are packed with not only vitamins and minerals, but also water and fiber, making them take longer to digest and keeping you full longer.
• Drink more water. This helps flush metabolic wastes to keep your metabolism in top shape. Water can also help you feel fuller, so drink at least a half-gallon (2 liters) of water every day (or more if you are active or live in a hot climate).
2. Sleep well every night. Adults should get 7 to 9 hours daily, whereas school-aged children should get 10 to 11. One of the absolute most important ways of improving the quality of your sleep is to do it in complete darkness, as even small amounts of light interfere with the chemicals that tell your body to rest. If you can’t eliminate the light in your room, wear an eye mask. Another one of the best ways to improve your sleep is to exercise.
3. Stick to an exercise regimen. If you don’t want to pay for a gym membership, try strength-training at home. The muscle you develop will help increase your metabolism: the bodies of muscular people burn more calories even while they’re at rest. To keep your heart in shape, do cardio. One particularly effective way to improve your cardiovascular health is to do interval training, which means alternating between low- and high-intensity activity. This has been shown to be a quick and extremely effective way to improve heart health and endurance. (Anyone over the age of 60 or who has heart disease, high blood pressure, or arthritis should consult a doctor before attempting interval training.)
4. Pursue your passions. No, not everyone can make a living playing sold-out concerts, traveling around the world trying new foods, or churning out bestselling fantasy novels, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams. Set some time aside to practice an instrument, do art, take photos, build models, weld, bake gourmet cakes, or whatever else enriches your free time. If you want to learn something new, take an evening or weekend class. If you can’t think of anything interesting off the top of your head, take the time to find a hobby.
5. Improve your psychological health. Prioritize developing meaningful relationships above simply being social. Practice self-disclosure, which means sharing things that are unique to you (your thoughts, fears, favorite movies and music, pet peeves, etc.) with those you trust. This has been shown to be of immense importance to not only forging deeper interpersonal connections, but also feeling validated emotionally.
6. Keep your mind limber. Read more, solve puzzles, play games of strategy, learn to play an instrument, improve your memory, and never stop learning, even if you feel like you’re “past your prime.” In addition to the fact that staying mentally active is emotionally rewarding, studies have shown that there is a correlation between mentally-challenging activities and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. Be hygienic. Wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with a sick person, using the bathroom, or anything else that could make you sick. (If you’re not sure what “thoroughly” entails, sing Happy Birthday to You in your head as you scrub.) In addition to flossing regularly, brush your teeth and tongue at least twice daily to limit plaque and harmful bacteria.