An easy guide to healthy living: Change your lifestyle!

Modifying your lifestyle may be the longer route compared to diet programmes but it is undoubtedly the healthiest one.

Noman Sajjad September 16, 2012
After studying ‘Active Lifestyle’ as a subject in the US, reading a couple of books and several articles on health, I thought of depicting the extract of all I read as it has given me a deep insight about practicing healthy habits. It has also made me more positive than ever.

Firstly, waking up early in the morning and welcoming the sun to our planet is the best way to start. The time frame between 6am and 10am is the ideal time to eat and exercise.

When you eat your meal, sit in a posture where you can cross your legs, or sit straight with your back straight and upright. Use a dining chair instead of leaning back on a sofa, because that will relax your muscles and you will end up eating more food than you have to.

When you are about to eat something concentrate mainly on eating food. Busy your senses in this activity. Look at the food you are about to eat, sense the aroma of the food, involve your fingers, taste the food and listen to the slight munching sound. Appreciate the food. Take as much time to chew it as possible and then swallow it.

When you are eating food with full concentration, there will be an automated signal generated by the stomach to stop. Listen to the message and stop eating there. If your concentration is more on watching TV or reading a newspaper then you will stuff your inner pipe from mouth to bottom. This will lead to suffocation and over-eating.

Breakfast is most important meal of all. Have it as early as possible. You will eat after a break of eight to ten hours so feed your stomach well.

The timing of food intake is very significant too. Our two usual extra large meals should be divided into five to seven smaller portions. By this I mean that if you get up at 6am, you can have a glass of milk along with couple of almonds within 15 minutes of waking up. Then take the next meal at 8:30am; have your normal breakfast.

Eat raw vegetables or fruits at 11am.

Raw vegetables and fruits, when consumed without being chopped, are best in their nutrient and water level. Biting into these juicy treats is a healthy exercise for your teeth as well. When you cut them into pieces, they get defaced and oxidised which decreases the nutrient level.

Then have your lunch at 1:30pm. This can be followed by a nice, refreshing cup of green tea at 4pm. After this, you may have dinner in between 7pm to 8pm, close to sunset. This practice will give you a healthy, faster metabolism.

The mistake most of us make is that we skip breakfast and then bulldoze our stomachs with heavy lunches and late, royal dinners.

Just like we feel tired and slow after a lot of work, our digestive system, too, needs rest after so much work. If you make it work excessively while its energy levels are low, it will digest inefficiently, leaving your energy levels slower.

The working of a digestive system is more efficient when one is in a vertical position. Our horizontal position (sleeping or lying down) may end up slowing down the digestive process. If you are invited to a party and are expecting an abundant menu, tell your digestive system in advance that you will be eating more than usual by keeping it empty for a while. Value your digestive system's abilities and don't overburden it.

Exercising is extremely important, and no, you will not be spared if you are skinny! One must exercise three to four times a week. Our body is specifically designed for physical work when we don’t use it we simply lose shape.

Keep yourself hydrated. Keep on sipping water after short intervals. Don’t wait for a message from your brain about being thirsty because that’s already too late to pour in. Keeping thirsty also causes headaches and fatigue, and directly affects your energy levels.

There are some misconceptions about dieting.

Firstly, dieting does not mean starving yourself to death. Secondly, you do not have to go crazy adopting intensive strenuous exercise routines. If you push yourself too much, you'll lose muscle mass instead of fat.

Modifying your lifestyle is what you need instead of going on scary diet programmes. It may be the long route there but it is, without a doubt, the healthiest one.

Many people are unaware of the fact that stress tends to fatten them. When a person is under stress, all his systems are affected and the digestive system is no exception. It slows down, which halts the process of breaking fat and instead banks it all in your tummy, love handles, thighs and hips!

Eating the right food and at right time will automatically help you shed extra fats deposited in your body. You may have heard this saying but it's time to start applying it in your daily life,
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar!”

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Noman Sajjad An FCC graduate, Fullbright Scholar and an Intern at Research and Advocacy Fund, a programme managed by the British Council. Enjoys writing, travelling and life.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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