Diets are hard. They're restrictive, they're harsh — they're no fun. Is that any way to live? I don't think so. Here are ten small changes that you can incorporate into your everyday life that will bring you long lasting health, balance, and peace.
1. Increase your water intake.
This step alone will likely clear up many of your health issues. Tired at work? A cold glass of water can quickly revitalize you. Headache? Try drinking water before popping an aspirin — you may just be dehydrated. Think about how refreshed you feel after drinking down a tall glass of water.
2. Invest in a blender.
My health completely turned around after I bought my blender. I lost more than 30 pounds and took my running to a whole new level. I love experimenting with fruits, vegetables, and superfood add-ins I've never tried before. I also use my blender to make my own soups and hummus. I highly recommend a good-quality blender for any healthy kitchen.
3. Team up.
Healthy living is so much more fun when you have someone to do it with! Grab your friends and sign up for a 5k together. Find a co-worker to share healthy snacks with. Swap recipes with your friends or join a Facebook group for support. Whatever you decide, it's always better to have company on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
4. Cook at home.
Last week I was craving soup, so I stopped on the way home at one of my favorite eateries. It didn't taste quite right to me, and I found myself thinking that it would have taken no time at all to make the same soup at home, and at least then I wouldn't be wondering what was in it.
When you eat out, you run the risk of not knowing how your food is prepared. Plus, it's way more expensive! Get in the habit of cooking at home. Use quality ingredients, try out different fresh foods, and watch your waistline shrink and your wallet grow.
5. Revive your social life.
Many people don't realize this, but a well-balanced lifestyle is about more than just the food you eat and how much you exercise. I would be nothing without my support system. No amount of broccoli can give you the support of your best friend, your mom, or your significant other. You could eat all the greens in the world but if you're in a constant state of stress or loneliness, your health will suffer.
6. Break up with sugar.
Think of sugar as a highly addictive drug that you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. OK, maybe you don't need to be THAT serious, but throughout your day be mindful of when you're eating added sugar. Read labels, or even better, increase your intake of food that doesn't HAVE labels! Your future self will thank you.
7. Mix up your workout routine.
If you're one of those people whose resolution to exercise more is a distant memory by January 3, this one is for you. If your workout routine is stale or bores you, you're not going to keep it up. Stick to things you like and mix it up often to keep it interesting and work out different muscles.
8. Indulge in self love.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Love yourself as much as humanly possible. If you don't take the highest level of care of yourself, how can you give your best self to others? If I'm having a bad or stressful day, I don't accept that. I figure out what I need to do to feel better and I do it. If it's a cup of coffee, I go get it. A walk around the block, a hot shower, done and done. If you can't do it right away, figure out when you can.
9. Create an at-home oasis.
Your space should be a reflection of you. It should have a calm, inviting energy, free of clutter and stress. Close your eyes and picture what your happy home looks like, then do what you can to create it. Maybe your oasis is full of lush green plants, or lots of natural light. You might have pictures covering your shelves or art covering your walls. Maybe you have splashes of bright color everywhere. You can create that environment now with just a few small changes.
10. Reward yourself.
What fun is it getting anything done if you don't reward yourself a little? Whenever you're setting a goal, plan a treat for yourself at the end. It can be as big as a vacation or as little as a new pair of jeans. There's nothing wrong with a little incentive! You are amazing. Celebrate yourself!