Many people, when they think about getting healthy, have nightmarish visions sweaty gyms, being started down at by muscle-bound hulks or being laughed at by wonder women. Some people might imagine going out for a jog and constantly having to stop for being short of breath, while neighbors peer out and snigger behind their curtains and little children scream and run away, as if they fear being trampled by a giant tortoise.
Some people are afraid of getting their legs pulled as they ask for the healthy option in the supermarket – “Excuse me, could you tell me which aisle the soy milk and the kale are on?” has been known to raise a few eyebrows in many a town.
But taking care of your health doesn’t have to mean making a public display. In fact, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home. Starting with your diet, you can have your food delivered. No, I’m not talking about the pizza company. In fact, if you’re serious about improving your health, you should burn that pizza menu right away. Have your groceries delivered so you don’t have to suffer your neighbors staring at your basket, piled high with cashew nuts, gluten-free options and rough oatmeal as if it were a briefcase filled with bags of white powder and syringes.
Order plenty of raw vegetables and fruit, lots of grains and a small amount of fish and white meat. Don’t bother with the six packs of beer, cigarettes, microwave lasagne, potato chips and instant ramen. You won’t be needing those ever again. Get a blender and make yourself a couple of smoothies every day using a mixture of raw vegetables and fruit. Have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Eat it with soy milk if you prefer. Drink plenty of water and when you fancy something different to drink, take a bite of a juicy orange or a peach. Even better, hack the top of a coconut and guzzle the water inside. Eat five small meals a day, rather than three large ones. If you feel the need to snack, grab a carrot, a stick of celery or a pear. Eat meat or fish and grains for at least one of your meals. That’s the only meal you’ll really need to spend any time preparing, so this diet isn’t too much effort to follow. Keep drinking water all day long.
Wake up at dawn, get out of bed and go outside. Take a hot mint infusion outside with you if it’s cold. It’s important to feel connected to the environment around you and dawn is one of the most interesting and beautiful times to be outside. You should really aim to be outside at a minimum of two hours each day – if you don’t, you’re getting less sunlight than federal prisoners. You can achieve this by taking long walks. This counts as exercise, too and can be great fun if you have a dog.
As your body begins to feel better, you should start thinking about pushing yourself a little harder. Investing in some home gym equipment is a great way to work on your health at home. Instead of kicking back on the sofa and watching TV, you can do it on the rower, treadmill or elliptical trainer. Start doing push-ups, pull-ups, and perhaps using dumbbells, too, to build your strength. At this point you should be feeling pretty good and looking much better for it.
Being healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in boredom. You need to work out your brain, too. Do your tax returns with a pencil and paper instead of a calculator. Read some classic books on philosophy, mathematics or the natural world, writing your own summary of each chapter. Avoid watching canned pop T-shows. These are the equivalent of junk food for the brain. Switch over to a documentary or debate show. Sign up for an online course or teach yourself a useful skill such as woodworking, keeping bees or growing your own vegetables. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling healthier and fitter than you’ve ever been.