Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could snap our fingers and have the body of our dreams or the health of our youth? Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. However, making small, consistent changes can help a tremendous amount.
Think about it. If the current bad habits you have are causing a 1% decline in the quality of your life each week, by the end of the year that adds up to a 52% decline! Imagine if you created some new, healthy habit that contributed to a 1% INCREASE in the quality of your life each week. You still get that 52% but now you feel and look better at the end of the year. Maybe you’ve even increased your lifespan. Maybe your pain has decreased by half. Perhaps you feel better than you have in years!
So what are those new habits that can produce this new, improved health and wellbeing? Let’s take a look:
1) Veggies: It always surprises me how often clients “forget” to have their veggies each day. Most clients who are overweight and have chronic conditions or pain are not vegetable eaters. What’s the connection? Vegetables help to lower inflammation. They supply our body with the nutrients we need to keep all systems working properly. Do you know without adequate iron, iodine, and vitamin A your thyroid will not work properly? That’s just one example of the importance of vegetables.
Creating a new habit around this is easy. Just make sure that half of your plate has non-starchy veggies on it. Eat a salad for lunch rather than a sandwich. Also, try a frittata with veggies for breakfast.
2) Water: Water is super important for many reasons. Just being well hydrated will give you so much energy. You need water to help flush out toxins and prevent constipation. Being dehydrated makes you hold onto water…in the form of WEIGHT! When clients create the habit of hydration they often have what’s called the whoosh. That’s a good 3 to five pounds of bloating, gone!
Create this new habit by starting every day with a large glass of water BEFORE the coffee or breakfast. Have another glass before each meal. Lastly, any time you’re hungry, try a glass of water before you go for a snack. Sometimes thirst feels the same as hunger.
3) Sleep: We all live busy lives, feeling like there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Sometimes we find ourselves staying up late and sacrificing our sleep to finish the laundry or just get some down time. Do you know that a lack of sleep will increase your appetite for high-calorie dense foods? It’s true! Just try releasing carbs after a poor night of sleep. It’s almost impossible.
Having good sleep hygiene is the key to sleeping well. Stop all screen time at least 2 hours before you plan to go to bed or wear blue-light blocking glasses. Take a warm bath if you have a hard time relaxing. Make sleep a priority. Save the chores for tomorrow and get some extra sleep tonight! You’ll be much more efficient with your time if you do!
4) Exercise: It is known than inactive people will lose about one-third of a pound of muscle every year after the age of 35. That’s over 3 pounds of muscle loss within a decade, and that number will keep growing over time unless you make a change. The older we get the harder it is to put those 3 pounds of muscle back on. With less muscle, we burn fewer calories at rest and that’s one of the ways we gain weight as we age.
It’s important to be active but it takes more than just walking the dog. Make your fitness a priority by joining a gym and getting professional help from a personal trainer to get those muscles pumping! Commit to weight training 2 or 3 times per week in addition to your cardio exercise and aging will be much easier!
5) Stress: I saved the most important for last. You know that stress is a killer…literally! We have so much on our minds and tons of responsibility in our lives that it’s no surprise how stressed we are. Stress is not good for any part of us. It causes, pain, anxiety, heart problems, sleep problems, stomach upset, the list goes on and on. Being good to yourself by reducing stress also means being good to the ones you love. You’ll be around for them much longer!
The best most efficient advice I have for reducing stress is meditation. It costs nothing and can be done 5 minutes a day. This is how I start every day and it has made such a big impact on my health and life overall. It’s simple. Just get comfortable, close your eyes and take deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. When those thoughts come in, and they will, just bring your attention back to the breath. Before you know it, those 5 minutes will turn into 15 and you’ll feel all that stress melt away. Namaste!