6 Steps to a healthier you

If you are looking to improve your overall quality of life, but not sure where to start? Try implementing these 6 tips below into your lifestyle. If you find that adding in all 6 sounds like too much, then pick one to focus on for now and once you have smashed that goal / change, then you are ready to hit the rest.

1. Move Your Body Daily
Move your body every single day…even if that means simply walking for 20-30 minutes, which could be achieved by getting off one train stop earlier or taking walking phone calls. Ideally, you would also be fitting in a sweat session on the majority of the days of the week (meaning at least 4 days). Again, it does not have to be long…15-30 minutes of HIIT is perfectly acceptable. Find a workout you like, works for your situation, and get your heart pumping.

It releases feel good chemicals that reduce stress, put you in a happy mood, and lower risk of depression: Regular aerobic exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, and can help lessen anxiety.

It balances blood sugar & reduces sugar cravings: Exercise helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels by burning up the glucose in your bloodstream and increasing the cells sensitivity to insulin. As your blood sugar levels normalize, you will notice your sugar cravings decrease. This does not have to be extreme exercise a brisk walk each day works well.

It will help to strengthen your ligaments, muscles, and bones: we have always been persuaded into thinking that calcium is the only way to get strong bones. That is not true. Your bone is living tissue, and it responds to exercise by getting stronger. Of course, you still need to consume foods rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K for strong bones, but do not overlook exercise!

2. Don’t obsess over numbers, but on how you feel.
Truly healthy people don’t obsess over numbers, such as weight or calories, but rather how they feel.

Obsessing over the scale leads to unnecessary anxiety. You are more than your weight, but besides that, weight is not always the best indicator of health. How you look and feel, and how your clothes fit is a better indicator, as you can get leaner and fitter, and be healthier, but weigh more than you did when you were more unhealthy!

Obsessing over calories is pointless. Healthy people eat a healthy diet (made up of real, whole foods) and know that they will naturally feel full and satisfied when their body has had enough, without thinking about calorie counts.

3. Plan to get a head
People who eat a healthy diet set themselves up for success by planning. This can mean a few different things:

Choose the restaurant – When going out with friends or co-workers, if you can, choose the restaurant,  or give your own options of places to go so you ensure it has healthy options or can cater to your dietary requirements. Do not be scared to give your opinion. Look for new locations.

Look at the menu beforehand – If you can’t choose the restaurant, check the menu beforehand so you can think about substitution possibilities if necessary.

Pack snacks when traveling – If you know you will be somewhere without healthy options, for example, if you are going on a road trip or a longer flight, eat beforehand and pack food for the trip. Why make excuses when you can make plans?

Meal plan at home– During the week, instead of opting for takeout, consider meal planning and batch cooking, to save you time and frustration, while providing you with easy, nutritious, homemade meals. 

4. Make your plate at least 50 % vegetables at Lunch & Dinner
The simplest change you can make for a healthier life, is simply to eat more vegetables. Dark leafy greens are a must-have in a healthy diet. So, aim to eat them every single day (dark leafy greens- such as kale, arugula, spinach, broccoli) and half other vegetables to fill your daily 50% of your lunch and dinner plate.

They satisfy you, so you end up snacking/eating less, but feel energetic and satisfied. There is not heavy / sicky feeling after.

They provide anti-aging benefits, not just physically, but mentally, too. Plant-based diets or higher volume of veggies have been found to keep your skin looking youthful (thanks to Vitamin C content) and your brain sharp (thanks to a variety of antioxidants).

They help you maintain a healthy weight. When you eat more vegetables, they overpower the more calorie dense yet nutrient poor stuff on your plate.

5. Always keep a bottle of water with you
We all know we should drink water, but many of us are not getting nearly enough each day Try making it a habit to keep a glass or bottle with you at all times. Aim for about 2.2 - 2.5 liters.

It aids in elimination and detoxification, by moving waste through the digestive system.

It provides energy and prevents fatigue, as dehydration can make you tired and inhibit performance when exercising.

It keeps your skin looking hydrated, instead of scaly and flaky.

6. Take Me & Fun Time
Taking enough me time each day is extremely important for both mental and physical health. Most importantly, don’t fear being on your own and in your own company.

This can take many forms, such as a morning practice, in which you set aside 10-60 minutes to meditate, cooking, practice gratitude, exercise, draw, or do whatever your heart desires. This could also be an after work sweat session. Reading a non-work-related book.

Taking fun time, is similar but of course, even more fun. When we are younger, we live for fun and play. As we get older, we tend to push it out of our lives, as we take on more “important responsibilities”. But where is the fun in that?

Maintain your youthful sense of adventure by traveling often, this does not have to be to an exotic, warm country but discovering things in your own area and doing new things regularly. It also doesn’t have to be expensive – that could mean going to a new museum, a free concert, or simply walking through a nearby town that is an hour or two car-ride away

Also, make regular time for your friends – sleepovers with your friends, home cooked meals, and a weekend getaway are some of my favorite things to do. II know this point is hard to do in he current climate but again, these do not have to be expensive. Grab a tent, get outdoors, take a bottle of wine and some food, sleep under the stars and come home. Health and Wellness points right there!

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