For those of us who wish to attain a better quality of life through a healthy lifestyle, those who are willing to make sacrifices (if you call giving up junk food a sacrifice) in order to make real change happen, here are some ideas to consider to help get you started.

Sometimes we try to take on too much too quickly just to become overwhelmed, burdened and eventually give up. As great as a new diet and exercise program can sound it can also be a major source of stress. In many cases we end up remove too much from our lives and fail to replace these things with healthier alternatives. We end up feeling deprived and the stress builds to the point of us breaking. Real success comes from spending time educating yourself, doing some solid planning and recruit some external support from friends and family. This last point is very important to ensure success. Lack of social and family support is the number one reason why diet and exercise programs fail.

Most of us at one time or another develop the desire to become healthier and happier. In fact I think I can say with some accuracy that most of us have had this desire multiple times over the years and realize that all we are doing is “yo-yo-ing” between healthy and unhealthy lifestyles. When we do get that initial determination to do what it takes to train for a 10k, get rid of our love handles, join a gym or just become healthier, its usually not long before we end up stopping. We simply hit a snag and ease back into our old ways. On the other hand some of us have much more powerful determination like the upcoming beach season or wanting to fit into a wedding dress. But even then the event passes and we slip right back into our old unhealthy habits. Its just so easy to do, right? Well the reasons as to why this happens are different from person to person, but in my experience there is one thing that comes up time and time again, but first lets look at some of the other factors in play.

You see sleep, diet and exercise are very closely interconnected. To focus on one without considering the other can be recipe for eventual collapse of your efforts. A poor diet robs you of energy which can keep you from exercising or effect you in ways that can disrupt your sleep. Not enough exercise can slow your metabolism, rob you of energy and even effect your nervous system. But even if you have a spot on diet and exercise program, one night of bad sleep can wreak all kinds of havoc. Raising systemic inflammation, negatively impacting your nervous system and hormonally it can be a disaster!

Okay, so regardless of your goals, in order to obtain the best results, you need to take 4 things into consideration. In order of importance, I would say its sleep, diet and then physical activity. Your mindset is part of this as well, but it might be more difficult to place in the order of things. If stress, anxiety or depression is part of your life, addressing it in a healthy way is vital. (not with food, drugs, alcohol or TV) But as I’m sure that you already know, research has clearly proven time and time again that poor sleep, a bad diet and not enough exercise is often the cause. Again, each can result in an increase in inflammation, screw up your hormones and throw your nervous system out of whack. So keep this in mind as you move forward.

On a side note, I cannot express enough how important it is to find motivating material to support your actions. Books, podcasts, audio tapes, seminars, et cetera. In addition, avoiding the negative people or environments in your life can have a very powerful impact on your wellbeing. A smile is infectious and negativity poisons the well so to speak.

So I will be addressing each of these areas of healthy lifestyle habits in future posts, but just so you know, if you want a jump-start, get your sleep in order. A solid nights sleep can give you the ability to resist stress, help control sugar cravings and boost your energy.

So the basics are to avoid electronics at least 1 hour before bed (blue light stimulation disrupts hormones), make your room as dark as possible, make sure its not too hot and avoid checking the time in the middle of the night. Get rid of your bedroom TV and use your smartphone as an alarm clock.

Some points to consider regarding sleep, If you have trouble falling asleep its more than likely a racing mind or anxiety (meditation). If you wake in the middle of the night, its more than likely to be hormonal disruption of some kind (blue light or diet). Again, I will get into more detain in later posts.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any question or if you think I can help in any way. Answers to basic questions are free so it never hurts to ask.