The secrets of a healthy lifestyle

Healthy lifestyles are born from habit. Here's how to create your own healthy habits today.

Did you start this year with the intention to achieve a healthier lifestyle? If you’ve got it nailed, well done! If you’re like many of us, and that long list of things you want to work on has you feeling overwhelmed and wondering where to begin, read on.

We all have people we look to as models of healthy living. Sometimes these are people we know, or sometimes they’re media personalities, like super-fit celebrity trainers or food bloggers who just seem to glow with nourishment.

When we look at their Instagram feeds, these people often make it look easy, always exercising and eating those fresh, colourful salads. Don’t they find it hard to get out of bed in the morning? Do they ever look at the dessert menu before deciding what they want for their main course?

The truth is, many of them do. And in all likelihood, their healthy lifestyles are not “perfect” all the time. They have busy lives. They know grabbing take-away means no cooking and no cleaning up. They hear the chocolate croissant calling their name at 3pm. But their overall healthy habits have come from practice – from learning to make choices more often in those moments that help take them a step forward in their health journey.

We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, or feel bad for seemingly not being as strong or dedicated as they are. Everyone’s life is different, and there are so many factors that influence our lifestyles, habits and behaviours.

But if better health is a goal you want to work towards, taking inspiration from the people you admire, observing their habits, and following some of their examples can be a useful way to stay motivated.

Running outdoors

“The habit of eating well comes from knowing that nutritious whole foods give you energy, help you think clearly and fuel your body to perform well.”

How to create healthy habits

So what can we learn from people who have made the goal of good health a central part of their lives? Making decisions to eat well, exercise, drink water, and manage lifestyle factors like stress is just a matter of forming strong habits. Here are a few guidelines to get you started.

1. Fuel

The habit of eating well consistently comes from knowing that nutritious whole foods give you energy, help you think clearly and fuel your body to perform well. When you recognise that eating processed, empty calorie foods makes you feel tired, sluggish and foggy, making healthier choices each day becomes that little bit easier.

Fill your plate and shopping trolley with vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains and good fats. Being prepared means there are always a good choices on hand in the fridge or pantry.

Here are a few more ideas for healthy eating:

• Breakfast. Skip the white toast and jam, or processed, low fibre cereal. Dial up the nutrients by making your own muesli, toasted or bircher. Try a chia pudding, or find the grainiest bread and top it with tomato, avocado, smoked salmon or poached eggs.

• Lunch and dinner. Swap the sandwiches and carb heavy pasta and rice dishes for power salads and vegetables mixed with lean meats or fish and whole grains. Turn up the delicious factor with quinoa, pumpkin and chickpeas, whip up a kale and feta pie or make a healthy stir fry full of veggies, and take the leftovers for lunch.

• Smart snacking. Fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds will keep you feeling energised.

2. Fluids

A simple but important habit to cultivate is hydration. Keep your fluids up all the time! If you’re not one who loves plain water, add bubbles, try it filtered, add lemon or mint, or find a herbal tea that tickles your tastebuds. You’ll soon notice the improvements in your thinking, your skin and your energy levels.

3. Movement

Healthy bodies need to move. Make exercise a priority in your day, and try to resist those excuses to skip it. Remember that being active helps boost your mood and reduce stress, and keeps your body functioning at its best.

So don’t hit snooze when the alarm goes off. Invest in a good weatherproof jacket and you’re ready to go rain, hail or shine. Have your active wear laid out so there’s a seamless transition from bed to bootcamp.

And the best way to make exercise a habit? Find something you love doing. Walking, running, cycling, kayaking, dancing, yoga, tai chi, tennis – there are so many ways to get active. Try a few different things and you’re sure to find at least one activity that makes you feel good.

4. Lifestyle

We all get stressed and emotional at times – it’s part of life. But if you can find positive ways to get through those tough feelings (without chocolate biscuits, potato chips or a big glass of wine!) you’ll feel much better. Try meditation, calling a friend, listening to your favourite podcast, or sweating it out with a workout. And don’t forget the value of getting enough sleep.

Take inspiration from your healthy lifestyle role models, and learn to create habits that bring more energy and nourishment into your daily life.

Recommended reading - Issue Five Spring 2013

Experts

Natural alternatives to sugar

Enjoy sweetness sans the sugar. Practitioner Katie Molloy shares the top natural alternative.

Read more
Lifestyle

How to keep your pet cool in summer

Here’s some safety tips to care for your pet on scorching (and potentially deadly) summer days.

Read more
Lifestyle

7 ways to cool down this summer

Feel refreshed with these simple tips for beating the heat.

Read more
Community

Run faster Mr Hale!

PE teacher Nathan Hale's motivational marathon journey.

Read more
Community

The journey to IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns

Documenting the physical and mental preparation for a half ironman.

Read more
Experts

Is it time for reading glasses?

Ophthalmologist Darryl Gregor explains why objects up close become more difficult to read as we age.

Read more
Community

Why the Mediterranean diet is so good for you

Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos explains why eating Mediterranean-style can make you healthier.

Read more
Community

5 ways with a foam roller

How to use foam rollers to keep your muscles limber, especially after running and weightlifting

Read more
Community

Brighton Icebergers

“Swimming in the morning is just fantastic; it leaves you exhilarated,” – Timothy Lynch, Iceberger.

Read more
Travel

Travels on two wheels

Swap the gym for the open road and make your next holiday a cycling adventure.

Read more
Community

Five tips for the aspiring runner

Lightning quick Liam Adams offers a word of advice to aspiring runners.

Read more
Experts

How Chinese medicine can help boost fertility

Spring is the season of new life. What better time then, to discuss our own reproductive health?

Read more
Experts

How exercise can transform your child’s life

Establishing good health and activity habits early may have long term learning and health benefits.

Read more
Community

Healthy mum, healthy baby

A new resource provides a wealth of information on healthy weight gain and pregnancy.

Read more
Experts

The multivitamin dilemma

Should you supplement your diet or not?

Read more
Recipes

Baked sardine recipe

These sardines can also be served as a meze. A tasty way to get a boost of omega-3 fats on a budget.

Read more
Recipes

Baked eggplant recipe

Serve this dish warm or cold with a side salad of cos lettuce, cucumber and spring onion.

Read more
Experts

Myth busting obesity

Seven prevalent obesity myths are put under scrutiny, with some results belying conventional wisdom.

Read more
Travel

Meet my city: Los Angeles

Fitness fan Amanda Grandinetti shows us the healthy hotspots around her city, Los Angeles.

Read more
Recipes

Healthy fish tacos recipe

Babes on Grill’s Alicia Twohill shares a delicious and simple way to make healthy fish tacos.

Read more
Experts

Easing the burden of cancer treatments

Medical oncologist Dr Ross Jennens explains how cancer treatments can be done in patients' homes.

Read more
Community

5 tips for mindfulness at work

How the practice of mindfulness can introduce awareness and acceptance to our workplace.

Read more
Guides

The relaxation response

How to combat stress with one simple concept – ‘eyes closed silence’.

Read more
Recipes

Chilli duck salad recipe

Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy of the Three Blue Ducks café share this delicious duck recipe.

Read more
Experts

Depression and dementia risk

It is not widely recognised that depression increases the risk of late-life dementia.

Read more
Lifestyle

Carrot and lentil salad recipe

Brighten your day with this hearty salad

Read more
Travel

Summer in Hong Kong

Things are heating up in Hong Kong as the city gears up for summer.

Read more
In Brief

Kids who bike or walk to school

Boost children's concentration by encouraging cycling or walking to school.

Read more
Lifestyle

Ducks with a difference

“We want to eat real food, from good, ethical sources…” Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy.

Read more
Community

Girls’ Night In

Swap a night out for a Girls’ Night In this October to support women with cancer.

Read more
Lifestyle

Innovative ways to achieve good health

A round up of what’s hot in the health gadget world this spring.

Read more
Lifestyle

Health Shelf with Ash Hart

Green smoothies, laughter and yoga are key ingredients in Ash Hart’s life.

Read more
Community

The final countdown

We hear from Alicia Loxley, female ambassador for the Medibank Melbourne Marathon Festival.

Read more
Lifestyle

Back on home turf

It’s bye bye Bani Yas as Nick Carle returns home.

Read more
Experts

Powerful proteins

Professor David Cameron-Smith delves into why protein is such a vital component of a healthy diet.

Read more
In Brief

Yousli

Yousli lets you pick and choose exactly what’s in your breakfast bowl.

Read more
Community

Libby looks back

Recently retired Olympian Libby Trickett reflects on the highs and lows of her decorated career.

Read more
Community

No stopping Matt Cowdrey

With a Paralympic medal haul of 23, Matt Cowdrey isn’t slowing down.

Read more
Community

A star from her marathon debut

With a rower, a footballer and an Olympic runner, sporting prowess runs deep in the Trengove family.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation

Health industry leaders offer their thoughts on the health of Australia, today and into the future.

Read more
Community

Cairns 70.3

Always had it in mind to complete a long distance endurance event?

Read more
In Brief

Medibank members are flying high

Medibank members are racking up flybuys points for making healthy choices at Coles.

Read more
Lifestyle

Health blogger – Dr Ginni

Sydney GP Dr Ginni discusses health issues at drginni.com.au

Read more
Lifestyle

Health blogger – Emma Stirling

Accredited Practising Dietitian Emma Stirling shares nutrition news at scoopnutrition.com

Read more
Lifestyle

Health blogger – Stacey Roberts

Parenting and vegetarian food are on the agenda at Stacey’s blog theveggiemama.com

Read more
Community

Open Gardens Weekend 2013

Spring has sprung and with it comes a very special time to be out amongst the blooms.

Read more
Community

Tips to achieve optimal health

Physiotherapist Jason Smith believes we need to adopt a new approach to health and wellbeing.

Read more
Lifestyle

Health blogger – Cassie Mendoza-Jones

Naturopathy and natural medicine are explored in Cassie’s blog elevatevitality.com.au

Read more

be. magazine spring 2013

The spring edition of be. magazine is now in store.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – Jerril Rechter

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – Manny Noakes

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – Steve Hambleton

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – Warwick Anderson

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – Janina Nearn

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

Read more

Bringing you Bared

Ensuring comfort is the number one component of great looking shoes.

Read more
Community

playgolfWEEK

playgolfWEEK is an initiative of Golf Australia and Golf South Australia.

Read more
Community

R U OK? Day

Thursday 12 September is R U OK? Day, a reminder of the life-altering impact of a conversation.

Read more
Community

Health of the nation – George Savvides

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six Australian health organisations.

Read more
Community

A flexible approach to activity tracking

A look at how the latest offering from Fitbit stacks up.

Read more
Lifestyle

Dogs on show

The Royal Melbourne Dog Show showcases obedience, agility and responsible dog ownership.

Read more
In Brief

Sunscreen works in more ways than one

A new study by the Queensland Insititute of Medical Research gives us more reasons to use sunscreen.

Read more
In Brief

Coffee Encounters

New book Coffee Encounters encourages reflection on the origins of our morning brew.

Read more
Community

The power of generosity

Social experimenter Shanaka Fernando on life, lentils and how to achieve better health.

Read more
Community

Personal best

If you're aiming for more than just the finish line, Sports Dietitians Australia is here to help.

Read more
Community

Connecting with those around you

Wendell Sailor supports R U OK? Day and wants more men to ask for help when they need it.

Read more
Community

Tough mudder

Group exercise, the hardcore way.

Read more
Community

On the med school road

The journey to becoming a doctor requires dedication and commitment to a lifetime of learning.

Read more
Community

The ritual of tea

The health benefits of a humble cuppa.

Read more
Community

In it together

Prostate cancer is now the most common male cancer in the western world, excluding skin cancers.

Read more
Community

Big Red Kidney Walk

This September, you can help support Kidney Health Australia.

Read more
Community

Giving back

Joining Medibank has helped Simone Spry give back to those that assisted her with her studies.

Read more
Travel

A weekend of discovery

Simple ways to empower others with the tools to improve their quality of life.

Read more
Community

Kirigami – the Japanese art of paper cutting

Simplicity, focus and creativity come together when bringing paper to life.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.