Never mind if it’s the millionth time you’re swearing to yourself to get healthy. Swap your old habits for these tweaks and you’re on the road to a healthier you.

1. Swap fast food for fast, fresh food

Still stuck with the daily struggle to forego your go-to fast food meals during your lunch or snack break? Healthy meals and snacks that are available and easily accessible from the office are more common than you realize. Thanks to fresh, ready-to-eat salads and fruit packs available at chain convenience stores these days, getting instant healthy meals could even be easier than your regular fast food. Go for fresh salads and skip the creamy dressing, and to add protein, pop open a small can of tuna to go with your greens.

2. Cheat—the right way.

Going on a diet? Experts say it’s important to have a Cheat Day to keep yourself motivated, but be careful so it doesn’t do more harm than good. The full Cheat Day mentality makes us binge on huge amounts of unnecessary calories. Full cheat days are dangerous to your diet, especially when you have a free-for-all mentality that’ll allow you to eat everything in sight. Instead, cheat with just one meal per week, and train yourself to look forward to it as a reward for a week of dieting.

3. Join a gym!

Congratulations, you’ve decided to make exercise a part of your lifestyle! Don’t be overwhelmed by the many options available, and take advantage of the free trial packages. Find one that fits your lifestyle, location, and budget, and make sure it’s so accessible to you that you’d have no excuse to back out on a workout. Better yet, get a fitness buddy to help keep yourself accountable.

4. Lift to get lean.

Hit the weights room or get yourself some basic equipment and start lifting. Various studies around the world prove that strength and resistance training are the keys to a leaner physique. Whether you decide to hire a personal trainer or follow a fitness app or program, read up on basic exercises, watch videos on proper form, and research different programs. Whatever you do, let go of the notion that lifting weights adds ungainly bulk—in fact, building muscle allows your body to burn fat more efficiently and helps you get that lean, toned physique that many aim for.

5. Color your plate.

Forget those adult coloring books—add color to your plate. Colorful fruits and vegetables give our bodies a huge spectrum of nutrients and minerals, so the more the better. These colors are especially valuable:


PURPLE — Eggplants, grapes, prunes, purple sweet potatoes, cabbage, raisins. Eat these to support retinal health, lower cholesterol, boost immune system activity, support healthy digestion, improve calcium and other mineral absorption, fight inflammation, and limit the activity of any cancer cells.


RED — Beets, cherries, guava, papaya, radishes, red apples, bell peppers, chili peppers, red onions, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon. Pile up on these vivid fruits and veggies to lower blood pressure and support joint tissue.

GREEN — Arugula, asparagus, avocadoes, broccoli, celery, chayote squash, cucumbers, green beans, green peppers, kiwi, kangkong, pechay. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressur and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion,support retinal health and vision, fight harmful freeradicals, and boost immune system activity.

6. Say goodbye to processed meats.

We’ve heard it before but we’ll say it anyway. The link between these deadly delicious meats and cancer are growing more certain. Hotdogs, packaged turkey, ham, sausage, and canned meat are either smoked, cured, or go through a process that enhances their flavor and prolongs shelf life, and it’s these preservation techniques that cause cancer. Carcinogens form when meat is fried, roasted, or grilled at high temps, too. A new report by the National Cancer Institute found that eating 50 g of processed meat per day (think either six slices of bacon, one hotdog, or two slices of ham) already increases your risk of cancer by 18 percent. You can do this: Either quit cold turkey or limit intake to one meal on weekends.

7. Don’t let the coconut fool you.

Research studies suggest that cytokinins in coconut water have significant antiaging, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic (anti-clot formation) effects, as well as electrolytes and amino acids that are great for hydration and muscle recovery. However, many coco water varieties available commercially can be deceiving—if you don’t read the labels carefully, your “healthy” drink could be giving you a lot of unnecessary added sugar and preservatives. Read the label carefully if you’re on a diet.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.

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