The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jeanette Jenkins Headshot

7 Steps to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime Habit

Posted: Updated:

1. Accept the need to change.

You must take responsibility for your present condition and understand that you are not a victim of your past but claim the power to shape your future. No matter what may have held you back (late-night snacking, cocktails after work, no time to exercise, depression, emotional eating, fatigue, poor eating habits or sugar addiction) you still have the power today to change the choices you make for your future. If you want a different outcome then you must accept that what you've been doing up until now is not working, so you must make a change. The only person that can change your life is you.

2. Make the essential connection to honor your mind, body and spirit as a whole.

You are a whole person that consists of mind, body and spirit going through life, craving to feel balanced. If areas in your life such as career, relationships, finances, creativity, home cooking, spirituality, joy, social life, home environment, education, health and physical activity are off-balance then your body will respond. You must learn to listen to your body and take the time necessary to reclaim your balance. If you keep going on auto-pilot, ignoring the signals that your body gives you, then you'll end up sacrificing your health and happiness. Some of those stress and off-balance signals are headaches, migraines, poor digestion, constipation, anxiety, depression, increase appetite, loss of appetite... and the list goes on. Discover the problem -- don't ignore it, or it will develop into a bigger health problem. When you take care of yourself first you will be stronger and more capable of taking care of everyone else.

3. Exercise: Start an effective exercise program, tailored to your needs and goals. You have to move it to lose it!

We first appeared on this earth as hunters and gatherers, with bodies designed to move. We we're not designed to sit in a chair all day. In today's world of efficient conveniences we have to go out of our way to burn calories. If you do activities that you enjoy then you'll be more likely to keep it as part of your everyday life. The options are endless: yoga, pilates, kickboxing, jogging, power walking/running, bootcamp, home workout DVDs, personal trainers, group exercise classes, recreational sports leagues and so much more.

To decrease your risk of disease, be healthy, and look good and feel good then it's time to accept that working out must be part of your daily hygiene, just like brushing your teeth and combing your hair. When you are healthy inside you'll feel great about yourself, be more successful at everything you do and glow on the outside.

4. Nutrition: Learn to eat as though your life depended on it -- because it does! You are literally what you eat.

You must understand that you are literally what you eat. All living cells in your body (skin, hair, internal organs, hormones, blood, muscle, connective tissue, bones, etc.) are made of the food that you eat. If you choose to eat junk food then be prepared to have a junk body.

When it comes to nutrition there's not a one-size-fits-all plan. Some people are sensitive to gluten, so they have to choose their grains wisely while others have difficulty digesting meat and opt to go vegetarian. You're all biogenetically-unique individuals and through education, listening to how your bodies feel after a meal and trial and error you will discover the healthiest meals for you.

Two nutrition suggestions I advise are:

1. Have three servings a day of green vegetables, which have proven to be the greatest healers. They are alkaline at the top of the acid/alkaline Ph scale, loaded with phytonutrients that strengthen your immune system, helping you fight off disease.

2. Moderation. For 80 percent of the time, eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean cuts of meat that have not been processed, and 20 percent of the time eat whatever you like.

5. Educate yourself because knowledge can be converted to weight loss, longevity and a better quality of life.

Knowledge of mind, body, spirit, nutrition, exercise, conventional medicine, alternative medicine and alternative therapies can be converted to weight loss, longevity and quality of life! Build your knowledge through books, blogs, seminars, workshops, classes, newsletters and expert recommendations but always remember that the information is only as good as the source. Always look for references to research and follow the paper trail to find out who is financially supporting that research. Some of my favorite sources, which all have websites loaded with content are MayoClinic.com, Mercola.com, DrWeil.com, UdoErasmus.com, ACSM.org, (American Council of Sports Medicine), WholeFoodsMarket.com, Sustainabletable.org, DoctorOz.com and of course my own site, which links to all of my social media: www.TheHollywoodTrainer.com. The more you learn the greater your healthy tool box will be to help support your healthy lifestyle.

6. Commit and be consistent because excellence is not a single act but a habit that you'll have for a lifetime.

The key to life-changing results is to be committed and consistent to healthy living. You must make healthy living a priority in your life. If it's important to you then you will make it a priority. If you want it bad enough then you will make the sacrifice. It's never too late to get in shape. It doesn't matter if you're 22 or 72, it doesn't matter if you're 150 lbs or 350 lbs -- adopting regular exercise and healthy eating into your life will always improve your health.

If you fall off your program just get back up and get going. Life happens and sometimes you fall off for a few days or a week, but don't let two weeks turn into two months. Reassess your life and get back on track; always make your health one of your top priorities because once it is gone you have nothing left.

7. Create a supportive environment with the people and the space that will encourage and inspire you on your journey.

Your chances of success are higher and you'll have much more fun if you create a network of support. Find what fits into your life and inspires you: a work-out buddy, a mentor, a cooking class, a healthy food delivery service, a Facebook page/Twitter friends for tips and inspiration, a fitness app, faith groups, fitness clubs and much more! You're welcome to follow my exercise, fitness and nutrition tips and daily motivation on Twitter and Facebook to help build your supportive environment -- you can do it!

For more by Jeanette Jenkins, click here.

For more on fitness and exercise, click here.

For more great tips on how to create your own healthy living plan you can also refer to my book "The Hollywood Trainer Weight-Loss Plan" which clearly outlines a 21-Day Meal & Exercise Plan with 4 workouts on DVD, daily motivation and educational tips.

From Our Partners