The so-called general rule is that by the time you hit 30, you should have it all together. However, in reality you are probably still trying to balance everything, figuring out what’s what, and looking for the best solution to take care of your mind and body. The good news is that you don’t really need to be a master of nutrition or a fitness instructor to achieve your best life! It’s all about habits – defined as an action being repeated constantly, whether daily or weekly, and not just a one-time thing. Developing healthy habits before your 30s will go a long way to making your life easier. Here are some habits that I have found immensely useful.
1. Portion your food
Figuring out what is healthy to eat can be super overwhelming. The fast changing fads within the world of dieting – from the Atkins diet to the South Beach diet, the blood type diet and (now all the rage) the keto diet – can be downright confusing. Eating right shouldn’t be that hard. A good rule of thumb is to divide your plate into quarters: half should be vegetables ( preferably non-starchy varieties), one-quarter is lean protein, and one-quarter is healthy carbs. Fill your body up with nutrient-rich vegetables and energy-rich proteins, limit your sugar intake and you are good to go!
2. Don’t skip breakfast
Start your day with a good breakfast! Make one that’s packed with lean protein, good carbs and fibre-rich fruits. It’s not everyday you have time to cook an egg white omelette, but even on the worst days choose wisely and go for a blended shake of some frozen berries, yogurt and pea protein. In the meantime, stay away from sugary cereals and croissants.
3. No yo-yo diets!
There is a tendency to follow the latest fads in dieting, and these trends will seem appealing as they promise quick results. However, a lot of these diets are tough to turn into habit, and that cycle of weight loss followed by weight gain is not sustainable. This yo-yoing could cause negative health effects and lead to frustration. The answer is to build sustainable habits and eat balanced meals.
4. Build muscle mass
You might not be thinking about muscle loss yet, but once you hit your 30s, age-related muscle loss will begin to take hold. The solution to this is to consistently eat a good source of protein and to add some weight and resistance training combined with cardio during your workouts.
5. Make self-care a priority
For many women in their 30s, they play more than one role, hence it is so easy to neglect healthy habits and push aside your personal needs for the sake of others. Stress caused by emotional problems or traumatic experiences will cause your nervous system to take action, various hormones to be released, the ‘flight or fight’ response to ignite and a variety of biological symptoms to kick into high gear. There is also a higher likelihood of physical health issues surfacing when someone is exposed to constant stress. It is so important to incorporate ‘me’ time and ‘play’ time into your day so that you can keep your mood regulated and your brain stimulated.
6. Have a good relationship with your body
We all have that moment when our bodies aren’t enough – not skinny enough, strong enough, energetic enough or fast enough. It’s easy to get sucked down the path of self-loathing and hating your own body. Yet by switching your perspective and focusing on intuitive living and eating, you can have a better relationship with your body and appreciate what food does to sustain you.
7. Set your morning routines
Mornings are the best time to include positive health habits. Use your mornings to identify, set and strengthen your goals. Try identifying one goal each month that you want to work on and begin by telling yourself you can achieve it as you get ready for your day. Focus on what you want to grow into, and then work on it.
Born in Penang, Malaysia, Angie Ng is signed to Hong Kong-based agency Model One, as well as directing her boundless energy into teaching boxing and spinning in her spare time. Follow her at @angiengcl.