We’ve all taken shortcuts at one time or another in our lives that negatively affected our health. You ate that greasy burger because you were too lazy to cook a meal. You didn’t sleep enough because you wanted to spend some extra time on the assignment due soon. That daily hour at the gym wasn’t worth it because the show on Netflix was more interesting.
It’s a common occurrence in us to want to skip the steps which maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes, it can be downright difficult to achieve your goals. Because of my metabolism, it takes me about two months to shave off the weight I gain in a few days. When results aren’t instant, some of us lose hope.
My issues weren’t so much concerned with weight loss, however. I used to suffer from drug and alcohol addiction. That was my vice which harmed my body in such an aggressive way that I was told I had around 2 months left to live by the time I went to rehab.
What I learned while I was recovering were the many ways that I should have been taking care of my body. I’ve been sober for 9 years now, and my health has become my number one priority. Now that you know part of my story, I’d like to tell you about 5 tips that helped me stay healthy during my recovery:
1. Stay Away From Alcohol And Drugs
Yes, this one needs to be right at the top of my list. According to the WHO, 3.3 million deaths occur worldwide each year due to alcohol consumption. That means it represents 5.9% of all deaths.
Luckily enough, all the damage I had inflicted upon myself was reversible in the end. Other cases are not so fortunate. excessive alcohol intake, drugs have adverse effects on your body. You’re more susceptible to lung and cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illnesses and stroke.
When it comes to doing drugs, just omit them altogether from your life. Alcohol can be enjoyed in small doses, but if it starts to become a problem, it needs to be cut out as well.
2. Exercise Regularly
As you can imagine, I was out of shape when I first started to exercise. My sponsors had recommended I pick up a sport as a hobby so that I could keep my mind away from relapse, and to replace my artificial highs with natural ones. The way it works is that our body creates endorphins when we exercise, hence the happy feeling.
Not only that, but more research has suggested that physical activity can reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis.
Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to get right into it and start pumping weights every day. I had to slowly build a routine and set goals for myself to make exercising part of my life.
3. Eat Healthy
Since the 1970s, the number of fast food restaurants in the United States has doubled. Those numbers are astounding. That means there’s double the temptation to grab a quick bite instead of cooking your own meal.
When I was using drugs, the only time I ever paid attention to my stomach was when it was practically screaming for some kind of food source. Then, I would typically walk into the closest McDonald’s and get something made for me then and there.
The Eatwell Guide was heavily referenced during rehab. It was easy to keep track of what I was eating because it was neatly organized in chart form.
I managed to keep check of what I was eating by keeping a food diary. It served as a reminder of what I was eating throughout each day. By doing that I was able to analyze why I felt more tired or bloated on some days rather than more energized on others. I fine tuned my diet until it was exactly the way I needed it most.
4. Get Checkups Regularly
I’d like to start off by saying that you should never, ever, look up diagnoses on the internet. There is a sea of misinformation out there that should not be trusted. It comes from obscure sources, and it’s not worth giving yourself a scare for nothing.
Whenever you feel sick or something doesn’t feel right, get checked by your doctor. A doctor can catch a disease in its early stages, before it starts affecting your life. You should never feel embarrassed about asking your doctor if you are feeling off. They are there to help.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping less, for me, used to mean more time to enjoy getting high. I didn’t usually feel the effects of what lacking sleep did to me because I was on drugs or drunk day and night. During my recovery, I had lots of trouble sleeping because of my detox.
That’s when I started to notice how it made me feel; tired, unable to focus, irritable, and stressed. I wasn’t a fun person to be around, and that needed to change. Not to mention, those were only the short term effects.
In the long term, lack of sleep has been linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and mood disorders. To get into the routine of sleeping well, you can try setting your biological clock. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Don’t drink coffee, and don’t exercise before you hit the hay.
In the end, that’s how my recovery showed me how to live a healthier life. The way I feel and the energy I have nowadays is incredible in comparison to my days as an addict. I’m now motivated to make the most of my day, and I feel more self-confident. Even though you might have that voice in the back of your head, telling you to relax and do nothing, ignore it. Get out there and live healthy.
How have these tips changed your lifestyle? Let me know in the comments!