Monday, December 3, 2012

Healthy Habits 2012

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By Terry Orr

I wasn’t sure what how to improve on last year’s article "How to Achieve Your Goals with Healthy Habits ` Written by Leo Babauta" – but I did find an interesting list of 101 Healthy Habits to share with you.  Those that are in red are items that several others mention in their articles as well. Hope that you enjoy!

101 Healthy Habits that Anyone Can Follow by Anastasiya

Developing healthy habits can be overwhelming if you do not know where to start. A lot of people fail at healthy living simply because they try too many things at the same time and they end up not sticking to anything. They get back to their double cheeseburgers and “exciting” evenings in front of the TV and keep getting bigger as their health problems increase.

Developing healthy habits that stick is not that complicated if you choose the simple ones and progress slowly. Here are 101 healthy habits that you can choose from. Just pick one habit at a time, conquer it and then try the next one. It is that simple!
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Healthy Eating
1.    Always eat a big breakfast
2.    Add 1/2 cup of fruits to your breakfast
3.    Drink 8 glasses of water and carry a bottle of water with you all the time
4.    Start a food diary and track how much you are actually eating (with 2/3 of the Americans being overweight or obese overeating is a real problem today). The general guidelines are 1600 calories for women and 2200 for men (active people would obviously need more)
5.    Substitute fresh and dried fruits and berries for candies and granola bars
6.    Eat fish on most days of the week. Choose fatty fish like salmon, herring and trout as often as possible
7.    Eat only whole grain cereal. Look for at least 3 g of fiber and not more than 10g of sugar in one serving
8.    Add walnuts to your breakfast or salad to increase your omega-3 consumption
9.    Add sunflower seeds, almonds and hazelnuts to your meals to increase your vitamin E consumption
10. Eat red meat once a week or less
11. Choose only lean meat and poultry
12. Do not fry shrimp or any other shellfish. Grill, boil or bake it to reduce cholesterol
13. Eat fresh fruits as snacks between meals
14. Eat at least one apple daily
15. Choose fat free or low fat dairy products
16. Eliminate foods made with trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
17. Make every meal balanced: 40-50% carbs, 25-35% protein, 20-30% fat
18. Include at least 1/2 a cup of beans and other legumes in your meals daily (legumes are high in protein and fiber, but very low in fat and carbs. They will keep you full longer, lower your cholesterol levels and nourish your body with important nutrients)
19. Consider going semi-vegetarian completely or at least for a week every month
20. Ditch soft drinks
21. Limit your consumption of juices. Opt for freshly squeezed juices to get the most nutrients and dilute them with water to reduce calories
22. Have small treats every week. Choose a treat that you like the most and have it every week to keep your healthy eating enjoyable (eating a pizza or a chocolate Sundae is not a treat, it is pigging out)
23. Do not eat heavy meals before you go to bed. If you are hungry go for some fruit, a small bowl of whole grain cereal or yogurt
24. Exclude foods made with high fructose corn syrup
25. Eat lots of brightly colored vegetables (spinach, tomatoes, carrots, beets etc.) because they are rich in anti-oxidants, flavonoids and vitamins
26. If you are trying to lose weight, decrease each of your meals by 25%
27. Use coconut oil for cooking. Most liquid oils (like olive oil, canola oil etc.) become toxic and turn into trans fats once they are heated to 200 degrees whereas coconut oil stays stable up to 360 degrees
28. Use olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing for your salads. Forget about Ranch and Thousand Island for the sake of your heart and arteries
29. Drink dry red wine with fatty meals (limit it to 2 glasses for men and 1 glass for women)
30. Drink coffee (you can enjoy up to 3 cups of coffee daily and reduce your risks of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease and colon cancer)
31. Soak meat for 6 hours in a wine or beer based marinade before grilling. It will reduce the amount of carcinogens (chemicals linked to cancer) and other harmful substances for up to 88%
32. Eat hot and spicy stuff
33. Eat oatmeal in the morning
34. Choose cottage cheese and yogurt instead of regular cheese and sour cream when cooking
35. Eat dark chocolate to cope with cravings and to protect blood vessels as well as to prevent cardiovascular disease (do not go overboard though, one or two squares daily is all you need)
36. Eat whole wheat bread with at least 3 g of fiber in each serving
37. Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches
38. Follow a Mediterranean diet to decrease risks of cancer and heart disease (Mediterranean diet is rich in lean proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and red wine)
39. Eat only wild caught fish, grass-fed beef and free range chicken to ensure that you get the best nutrients without chemicals or contaminants
40. Go half-organic
41. Follow “The Less – The Better” rule when eating
42. Do not eat in front of the TV, a computer or while reading a newspaper
43. Drink loose green and black tea without sugar
44. Decrease your daily sodium intake
45. Make snacks not more than 100 calories. A 500-calorie piece of cake is not a snack, it’s a meal
46. Add at least one serving of fruits or vegetables at every meal (one serving is about 1/2 of a cup of sliced produce and 1 cup of leafy greens). Aim at getting 5-9 serving of fruits and vegetables daily
47. Drink vegetable or tomato juice instead of fruit juices
48. Stack your fridge with healthy products weekly to avoid last-minute carry outs, unhealthy frozen dinners and eating out
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49. Walk for at least 30 minutes every day
50. Start your day with morning exercises
51. Buy a pedometer and make at least 10,000 steps every day
52. Schedule your workouts beforehand
53. Have 10-15 min workouts several times throughout a day (you can do push-ups and sit-ups, go up and down the stairs, walk around the block, have a mini Yoga workout)
54. Get yourself a dog and go for a walk with it every day
55. Walk with a weighted west to burn more calories and to prevent bone loss
56. Add weekly Yoga sessions to relieve stress and improve you mind and body connection
57. Buy a jumping rope and jump as often as you can
58. Exercise with your kids and your partner
59. Add muscle strengthening workouts at least once a week
60. Start a physical activity log
61. Get at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate activity weekly (brisk walking, dancing, gardening, swimming) or at least 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity weekly (jogging, cardio aerobics)
62. Follow “The more – The better” rule with your physical activity
63. Sign up for a community event like a walk for a cause, 5K, triathlon etc.
64. Increase your physical activity by 10% weekly
65. Make your own motivational collage and keep it in front of you all the time
66. Stretch out every 1-2 hours at work
67. Invest in a mini home gym – buy a few dumbbells, resistance bands,a jumping rope, a medicine ball or a stability ball. This way you can squeeze in a short workout at any time
68. Buy exercise DVDs, find workouts on YouTube or sign up for a workout podcast and work out at home
69. Employ an “I think I can do” attitude to stay on track with your workouts
70. Create back-up plans for your workouts in case of obstacles, e.g. “If there weather is bad I’ll …”, “When I have to work late I’ll …”, “When I am tired I’ll …”
71. If you are a runner or a walker then buy new shoes every 300-400 miles
72. Find your best workout and start it today
73. Try new activities monthly to keep you enthusiastic about working out
74. Use your imagination when working out (imagine that you are climbing a mountain when you are working out on an elliptical machine or that you are competing in a marathon while running on a treadmill)
75. Add balance exercises to your workouts – complex movements force your mind to work harder engaging multiple parts of your brain as well as multiple muscles (try dancing, Pilates, Yoga)
76. Join an online community where you can track your progress and talk to people who have similar interests or goals as you do. Most popular fitness magazines have free (or almost free) personal trainer tools and online communities on their websites (,, Other great websites are and
77. Get inspired. Read blogs, websites or magazines that share exercise success stories and find your inspiration every day
78. Walk a few laps around the mall before you start shopping
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General health
79. Use sunscreen all the time
80. Spend 15 min in the sun daily to boost the production of Vitamin D in your body
81. Take Vitamin D supplements in winter or if you do not spend enough time outside
82. Take multivitamins and mineral supplements
83. Go to sleep earlier and sleep longer (get your 8 hours of zzz-s daily)
84. Do not forget about your regular medical checkups. You can visit to schedule a testing
85. Keep your vaccinations up-to-date
86. Keep track of your health. Control your cholesterol levels, your body measurements, your food intake, exercise and just the way you feel to avoid serious problems in the future and to realize when something goes wrong. A great website to track everything is
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Mental and Emotional Health
87. Laugh every day, several times a day
88. Make a list of up to 100 personal pleasures and pursue one every week
89. In order to gain balance in life make a list of things “My life would be complete if …” and see what areas of your life you need to focus on
90. Make a list of the happiest moments of your life and think about one of these moments every day. This will be decrease your stress levels and make you a happier person
91. Keep an uncluttered to-do list. Avoid to-do lists that are longer than 9-10 tasks and update them as you go
92. Add mini relaxation sessions (1.5 – 2 minutes) throughout the day: close your eyes, relax, breathe slowly and deeply, imagine a peaceful and serene place
93. Read books every day
94. Play brain games as often as possible (Games for Brain, Brain Games)
95. Feel younger no matter what your age is – do things that are not “appropriate” for your age, hang out with younger people, be optimistic and less serious about life
96. Learn a new skill every week
97. Spend money on memorable vacations and trips with money you’re saving rather than shopping.
98. Try balance exercises with your eyes closed – this will improve your brain’s plasticity. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed or try Yoga poses with closed eyes
99. Ditch TV
100.              Practice media detox days weekly (no TV, no cell phone, no Internet)
101.              Become spiritual (consider prayer, religion, meditation, positive beliefs). Spirituality is linked to longevity, better health and lower stress levels as well as a general sense of well-being.

Stay healthy and Keep is balanced!

References and Links:

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