Constructing a major overhaul of your life is not the easiest way to get healthy. Just like going all out in the gym after a long hiatus, having lofty goals will overwhelm you. However, if you can live by a few simple, healthy mantras, you can start making a habit out of living better. Here is a list of some of my favorites, grab a couple that work for you and become a champion of simple, healthy living.
1. Add extra movement to your day.
Staying active is always high on my list. That doesn't mean you have to spend two hours in the gym every day. Instead, get a pedometer and strive for 10,000 steps a day. One study found that meeting this number can help to reduce your blood pressure. Another study found increased health benefits for individuals who walk between 6,000 and 8,000 steps a day. A pedometer will help to motivate you and give you a clear understanding of how active you really are.
2. Drink water.
Feel better, look better and have your body perform better — all from drinking a lot of water. Shoot for half your body weight in ounces every day (150lbs/2 = 75 ounces). The Institute of Medicine recommends 2.2 liters a day for a woman. Since this gives one amount for every woman, using your own body weight is a much better estimate and easier way to determine how much you need!
3. Smile more.
Hey, it’s contagious — it also helps to reduce stress, puts others at ease and releases endorphins from your brain.
4. Don’t diet.
Healthy individuals know that a short-term diet to reduce your weight is just that: Short term. Here are some tips that can aid in weight loss that are not a diet:
Cut starches at night (starches are your energy source, why eat them when you’re going to sleep?!).
Eat off of a smaller plate (studies show that it makes you eat less).
Eat an apple or a serving of almonds before going out to eat, to help curb hunger (fiber and protein have been shown to make you feel full).
If you put veggies and a lean protein on every plate, you’re doing great!
5. Prioritize your sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation says adults should aim for seven or nine hours of quality sleep to help your body recover. Sleep debt isn’t recovered from one good night. Make sleep a priority and set regular bedtimes and wake-up calls. By the way, having trouble getting to sleep? The more active you are, the more your body is going to want to sleep.
6. Prep food.
With healthy food made ahead of time, how can you lose? Take time on Sunday night to pre-chop any veggies you'll be using for salads or dinners and write out a meal plan for the week.
7. Eat more green food.
Kale and spinach are obvious! They're nutritional powerhouses and you should work those leafy greens into as many meals as you can. Don't be someone who claims they NEVER eat anything green.
8. Pack your lunch.
Even if part of your job is to meet clients for lunch or dinner, that does not mean that you have to eat out yourself. Control what you eat and you'll take control of your health.
9. Socialize with new people.
Meeting new people is scary and hard, but it's great for you! Expanding your social circle will inflict new life into you. Try sites like MeetUp.com or join a gym, start taking classes and make friends that way.
10. Rescue an animal.
A loyal pet can really brighten your day, help to prevent depression (there are depression dogs!), make you create solid healthy routines (you have to take dogs out for walks) and just make you smile!
Whatever simple thing you do today, do it for yourself — and try to stick to it.