How To Become Healthier Today
If you’re familiar with my philosophy of fitness, this blog might seem a little against what I normally stand for in that it seems like it’s a way of getting healthy overnight but that’s exactly what it isn’t! This blog is just to inform you about little changes you can make to your daily routine that, if done consistently over time, can have a positive effect on your health.
These tips aren’t just about physical things that you can do either. I believe a holistic approach to health is the best way. Physical health AND mental health make up health itself. Not just one or the other.
Always remember taking care of our health isn’t optional. You only get one shot at this life thing.
This seems obvious right? But notice I didn’t start it with exercise X amount of times per week and that’s because, at the end of the day, activity is what’s most important. If you spend as little of your day as possible sedentary then this will work wonders for your health. Studies have shown just how detrimental sitting can be to our health so by making sure you stay active on a daily basis whether it’s cutting the grass, cleaning the house, or going for a hike. All of these things are considered activity and can be added on top of exercise.
It’s funny how the things our parents told us to do seems to always turn out to be true. As much as you hated vegetables as a kid, you should learn to love them as an adult. Try eating at least a serving with each meal if not more throughout the day. They don’t have to be boring either. There are many ways you can cook them or spice them up to make them taste great. My personal favorite at the moment is broccoli slaw steamed with soy sauce.
Drink Lemon Water
A great way to add some flavor to your normal water is by adding a lemon (or lime) to it. Not only does it taste great but it also has health benefits from naturally detoxing your liver to helping breakdown kidney stones. Instead of using a powder with added calories or artificial sweeteners, here’s a way to add flavor without that. I’ve also found that by adding a lemon, I tend to drink more water which is never a bad thing.
Get a Dog
Aside from the companion aspect that a dog can play in your life, it’s also a great excuse to use for taking a walk. The more exercise the dog gets, the better behaved they tend to be so this could be a great way to get the ball rolling in terms of being more active if you’re having trouble getting started.
Keep a Food Journal
I will say that this might be the most important thing you can do in terms of eating healthy because it allows you to be mindful and also holds you accountable of what you’re eating. If you do it correctly and list every single food you eat that day, then you will have an accurate idea of why you might be struggling to reach your goal. You will also be able to tell if you need to eat more vegetables, eat more protein, or reduce the snacking.
Set a goal in your food journal every week of something that you want to accomplish. Maybe this week it’s to include vegetables with breakfast. At the end of the week you can then assess how you did in regards to your goal and then choose a new one for the following week.
Be Realistic With Yourself
Don’t listen to what you hear on TV. You’re not going to lose 30lbs in 30 days (I actually wrote blog about this titled “Can You Lose Weight Fast and Keep It Off?” that you can read by clicking here.) Why would you want to anyways? Anyone you talk to who has done that never is able to maintain or sustain that rapid of weight loss. Instead, shoot for about 1-2lbs of weight loss per week. Also, tell yourself that this is going to take a long time and allow yourself to accept that. Don’t focus on the end goal, instead enjoy the process and the landmarks along the way of getting to your goal.
Resistance exercise, weight lifting, whatever you want to call it. Try and do this at least twice a week as this has so many benefits on so many different levels. It helps to add muscle and decrease fat, increases metabolism, increases bone density (lower chance of developing osteoporosis), can help reduce lower back pain and can also help to slow the onset of many degenerative diseases later in life.
Use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
First off, salt shouldn’t be avoided unless you have a pre-existing condition. Sodium is a necessary nutrient and if you’re eating a diet void of processed foods, exercising and sweating then you need to replace it by adding it to your food.
The reason pink himalayan sea salt is recommended is that it contains over 80 different vitamins and minerals which gives it its beautiful pink color. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a minute detail in the grand scheme of things but it is something that can build up over time as you consistently use it to benefit your health. Even if it’s .01% improvement to your health, why not use it if it’s as simple as turning a salt grinder.
Drink a Green Smoothie
If you’re someone that has trouble eating a variety of vegetables for whatever reason then adding vegetables to a smoothie is great way to mask the flavor. The easiest additions to a smoothie are kale, spinach, and carrots. Add in a cup of frozen mixed berries, a scoop of protein powder, a cup of almond milk and you have a smoothie that will not only keep you full for a while but that is also packed full of nutrients.
Carry a Water Bottle With You At All Times
One of the most important things you can do to improve your health is to drink a lot of water. And by a lot I mean about 100oz a day. A way to make this easier is by carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go whether it’s going to the grocery store, to work, or to pick up the kids from soccer practice. Just as you would never leave the house without your phone, never leave the house without your water.
Eat Healthy Fats
Nope. Fat does not make you fat. And believe it or not, there are actually essential fats meaning that your body doesn’t produce them so you need to consume them through your diet. These include foods like egg yolks, extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, Omega 3s from fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, avocados, and mixed nuts like macadamia nuts, almonds, and walnuts.
Plan Your Meals Out For The Week
Planning and being prepared are the two most important habits that, if nailed down, can have the biggest impact on your health. By planning your meals out for the week, you’re now able to see how much food you need to buy at the grocery store and then cook and portion it out for each meal. Have a business meeting on Wednesday? Now you know what you’re going to have to do for lunch in advance rather than panicking that day and not making the best decision.
At the end of the week, you can then compare your planned meals to the meals you actually ate to see how accurate you were and then improve on that number from there forward.
Find a new recipe every week
Piggybacking off of my last tip, by finding and cooking a new recipe each week, you can then have a meal to look forward to as well as trying different foods. This prevents you from eating the same foods day in and day out. Boredom due to eating the same foods every day is a major factor for why people fall off from eating healthy. By keeping things fresh with a new recipe here and there can make a huge difference.
Drink 1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar a Day
This is by no means, the most pleasurable thing you will do but I promise you it will be well worth it. Fermented, non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s organic is the best) has so many benefits from soothing sore throats and even curing them if you gargle with it as soon as you feel it coming on to helping with acid reflux. It’s also been shown to lower blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. So many benefits if you can just withstand the very strong, pungent taste. The best way to drink it in my opinion is by diluting it in about 20oz of water and drinking it that way. However, some people enjoy the taste and also use it on their salads as dressing and other foods as well.
Find a Workout Buddy
Exercising is more fun with someone else. In the beginning you might be fine by yourself but after a while it will get old and that’s where the workout buddy comes in. Having a partner will help to motivate you on days you don’t feel like working out and will also help to hold you accountable. Group classes are another great way to not only make friends and socialize, but also to get a great workout as a group tends to create a fantastic environment.
Always Have Emergency Food on Hand
Slip ups happen when you’re not prepared. You have to work late, there’s a wreck on the highway and traffic is stopped, your car breaks down etc. These are all scenarios where, if you’re not properly prepared, it could very easily lead to you eating the easiest and quickest food option you have which is rarely the best. However, if you came prepared, you will never have to worry about this situation again.
I always recommend that people carry beef jerky or protein powder in a bottle, almonds and a piece of fruit like an apple with them at all times so that they’ll never have an excuse again. Plus, these foods are very easy to carry around as they take up little space and don’t have to be refrigerated.
Fruit tends to be better for the majority of people compared to vegetables because it’s sweeter but you should still make sure you’re eating at least 2-3 servings per day. All fruits are packed with different vitamins and minerals, fiber, and different phytonutrients and antioxidants that gives fruit its beautiful colors. The best plan is to eat a variety of fruit so that you can get a variety of nutrients.
Don’t Consume Liquid Calories
This is one of the areas where calories can add up very quickly. Liquid calories from anything such as Gatorade, pop (soda), iced tea, fruit juice, and beer (yes beer has calories too) should be avoided for a few reasons. First, the calories in these drinks all come from simple sugar which will lead to a blood sugar spike and then crash which will leave you feeling hungrier than before.
Also, if you think about food in terms of calories, think about 120 calories from broccoli and then 120 calories from a Pepsi. One can of Pepsi will have that many calories while it would take about 4 cups of broccoli (which is a lot of broccoli) to add up to 120 calories. So by eating your calories rather than drinking them, you’re able to eat more food which will in turn, keep you fuller and prevent you from overeating.
Use a Grocery List
Shopping with a grocery list allows you to see exactly what you need to buy for the following week’s meals. If it’s not on the list, you don’t buy it. This will help you not only save money but also help prevent you from buying any processed foods. Lastly, it will also help save you time as you won’t have to go up and down every single isle trying to remember what you needed to get.
Throw Your Scale Away
A weight scale can be one of the most mentally destructive things that you can own. For some people, it won’t affect them. But for others, it can ruin their whole day if they don’t like the number they see on the scale. And that’s all it is. An arbitrary number that has nothing to do with your morals or the type of person you are so don’t think that a number determines what people think of you.
Also, your weight can fluctuate by 3-5lbs per day from many things such as water, stress, or food that you’ve eaten. Lastly, there are better ways to measure progress such as looking in the mirror, judging how your clothes are fitting, and by seeing if your daily activities are getting any easier.
Oh yeah, I forgot one thing. I’ve actually saw people’s weight go up as they’ve started to look like they’re losing weight. How can this happen? It’s by gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. Muscle is more dense than fat so it takes up less space on the body.
Shop at a Farmer’s Market
There’s nothing better than waking up early on a Saturday morning and going to the local farmer’s market to buy your fruits and vegetables for the following week. The produce there is going to be fresher than any produce you see in a grocery store because they could’ve literally picked it yesterday and brought it there whereas it’s a much longer process for the fruits and vegetables sitting on store shelves.
The longer you wait to eat produce, the more the nutritional value of the food decreases meaning that if you eat something as close to being picked as possible, it’s going to have many more nutrients compared to something a week old. Also, it’s usually cheaper there compared to grocery stores. Lastly, you’re supporting local farmers and the local economy whereas, you don’t always know where the produce is coming from in grocery stores.
Start Your Day With Exercise
For those of you that are morning people, this will be easy for you and you may even do it already but for the non-morning people, this is going to be tough but well worth it. The thought of getting up early to exert yourself never usually sounds good but the feeling afterward is what reaffirms the reason for doing it. The first 5-10 minutes is going to hurt but once you get going you get in the zone and forget what time it is.
After the workout is over and it’s only 7am you feel so accomplished. You got your day off to a great start and now you can keep the momentum rolling throughout your day in terms of productivity. And we’ve all been there. You put off exercising in the morning because you tell yourself you will just do it after work but when that time comes, you get home, sit on the couch and talk yourself out of exercising in the evening then because you’re too tired. Start your day on a positive note and reap the benefits from it for the rest of the day.
Read Every Day
Remember I said that this wasn’t just about physical health but mental health as well. Reading has made one of the biggest impacts in my life in terms of personal development. By reading every day I’ve allowed myself to continue to learn something new. By continually striving to become your best self I feel you often become a much happier person.
In an age where we’re constantly staring at a screen, reading is a nice break from that reality where you can immerse yourself into a book and allow your imagination to come to life. Even if its 10 minutes or 10 pages a day, something is better than nothing. Find a book you enjoy and try it out.
Pick One Day To Prepare Your Food For The Week
As I mentioned earlier, preparation is the most important habit with your nutrition. After you’ve planned all of your meals for the week and went out and bought the groceries, you can then come home and prepare all of the food. This way it’s done, you don’t even have to think about it. You come home from work and it’s already there. No cooking, just heating it up is all. The convenience factor will make a world of difference for you.
Maybe you’re someone who enjoys a fresh cooked dinner. You can always prepare your breakfast and lunch ahead of time and then come home and cook dinner if you have the time to do so. And it doesn’t have to be just one day a week. You can do twice a week, something like Sunday and Wednesday. Whatever works for you. The main point to get across here is just to make sure you’re prepared.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing This
It can be very easy to get caught up in the fast-paced life around you and lose sight of why you’re trying to live a healthy life in the first place. All you can do is keep reminding yourself of why. Write it down on a piece of paper and carry it in your wallet or purse if you have to. There are a lot of temptations out there that will try and steer you off course so staying grounded and true to your “why” can help keep you on the right track (Click here to read my blog about finding your “why”)
To Be Continued…
That’s part 1 for you guys. Early next week I will post part two that will cover tips 26-51!
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