5 Crucial Tips to a Healthier 2017
As we move into February, continuing with 6 more weeks of Winter, we find ourselves slowing letting go of our New Year’s resolutions. Some of the strong few are still going strong, but for those of us who just don’t have the time to really commit to a complete lifestyle overhaul might find these five tips helpful in changing your over all health, ultimately pushing us all into a healthier lifestyle.
Gorge On Natural, Fresh, Whole Foods
Committing to a complete diet change may be difficult. Cutting out sugar, or dairy, or if you’re thinking about going vegetarian or vegan, you might be in for a more difficult change. One way to really make an impact on your health and well being is to cut out all the processed crap you’ve been eating. I’m not talking about the delicious cheeses, or the raw honey, those have a time and a place. I’m talking about the TV dinners, the frozen foods, the Cheetos that might actually only be like 50% real food. Let’s get rid of red dye # 3, and replace it with mother nature made nutritional goodness. Just simply cutting back on the foods containing preservatives will drastically improve your health; you’ll see results within 30 days. Your skin will seem brighter, your energy will be up, and you’ll find yourself to be more regular in the bathroom. Try new recipes that involve real ingredients. Ditch the boxed mac and cheese for a homemade version. You could even use the microwave to speed up the process when you don’t really have the time to use the oven. Whatever your method may be, making a small change will make a bigger difference in the long run.
Reevaluate Your Hydration
You would think with all the new age water bottles, and office water coolers, that people are consuming the right amount of water in a day, but studies show that most Americans actually consume less than 2 glasses of pure water a day. The ISSA recommends that we consume 8-12 glasses of water daily, and an additional 16 ounces per pound of weight loss. Most people quench their thirst with sugary sodas, juices, and sometimes alcohol.
The problem with alcohol is that it is full of empty calories, and can even lead to further dehydration. Alcohol is also known to block the bodies ability to absorb important vitamins such as B12, which is vital to our energy and exercise performance. Just as replacing manmade foods will effect your body within a matter of 30 days, if you focus on consuming recommended amounts of pure water, you will see results in as early as a week. For the first week you may notice that your skin is patchy and gross, but that’s your bodies way of releasing the toxins that have built up. After two weeks, you should begin to see the positive results to proper hydration.
Stop Playing the Comparison Game
Being healthy is not just a physical commitment, but it is also a mental commitment. You need to focus on more than just the size you maintain, or the numbers on the scale, or the progress photos you take. There are any number of reasons why one person will see changes at a different rate than another person, and focusing on those differences is not going to get you to where you want to be.
Sure, your favorite Instagram athlete might have their meals prepped by Sunday afternoon, or they might have a fiercer, leaner set of abs, but that does not mean that you have to, nor does that have to be the standard you set yourself to. Many of those athletes look the way they do, because it is a part of their jobs, and that means they have the time to truly commit. That also doesn’t mean you can’t get there someday. Stop comparing yourself to the celebrities or even the person next to you in the gym. Start living your fit life as if its more than just a progress date, or an Instagram post. Find time to decide why you are choosing to make healthier decisions, and stick to those choices for the right reasons. Do you want more energy so you can keep up with your kids? Do you want to be able to experience life to the fullest and you feel a little sluggish? Ask yourself these questions, and answer them for yourself. Not everything needs to be shared with the world. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself, but don’t be so hard on you, health is a process not an overnight change.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Sleep is crucial to being at optimal health. Most of us live busy lives and we are looking for all the ways around feeling groggy during the day, but not all of us go to bed early enough to get a full night’s rest.
Sleep influences every part of your day to day life. If you don’t get enough one night, it will effect more than just the next day of your life. Lack of sleep can increase your chances of heart disease, decrease insulin sensitivity, increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, lower testosterone concentrations (this is important for both men and women) and delay exercise recovery. If you had a fairly intense workout followed by not enough sleep, you will probably wake up far more sore that you are used to.
Studies show that you should be sleeping at least 7 hours per night, but that if you can be aiming for 8 or even 9, you are going to be in much better all around health. If you think you can forego full night’s rest by sleeping in on the weekend, you should know, catching up on sleep is a myth. It’s not like making sure that you punch 40 hours a week at work, your body keeps no such track of your weekly hours, in fact sleeping in on the weekends can actually lead to performance deficits during the week. It only makes it harder for your body to go back to any weekly regularity.
Having trouble falling asleep? Try decreasing the temperature in your room at night, blacking out all of the lights, and refrain from using electronics in the hours leading up to bed time.
Lift Heavy Weights Regularly
No matter what your health and fitness goals are, adding weight lifting to your routine can only benefit your health. No other form of exercise offers the benefits of resistance training. Not only will it keep the weight off but it helps to boost energy and mood, while also improving coordination and flexibility, not to mention protecting bone health. This is important for women as well, if you are concerned about bulking up see our article The Myths Women & Weight lifting: Debunked. This also does not mean you have to change your current regiment, just that its important and beneficial to commit 1-2 days per week to increasing the amount of weight you are lifting in order to find a stronger healthier you.
Be good to yourself today, My friends!