The key to better health is sustainable lifestyle changes. Start small and incorporate one change at a time. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I’ve heard stories about people losing weight by simply giving up soda or taking daily walks. Set small goals for yourself and soon you will be feeling more energetic, healthier and even your emotional well-being will improve.
Here are 10 small changes you can make to your lifestyle which can have a big impact.
1. Drink more water.
There are a few ways to make sure you drink more water. Some people simply aim to drink a gallon a day. Others fill up a big bottle multiple times per day. One rule of thumb that may work for you is to take your weight and divide it by 2 and that’s the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink each day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds then you should try to drink at least 60 ounces of water per day.
2. Don’t drink your calories.
This is simple. Stop drinking sodas, juices and sugary drinks. These drinks are loaded with calories and sugar which is not good for you. Just drinking a lot of soda is enough for a person to develop type 2 diabetes. Most days I only drink a cup of coffee in the morning, water throughout the day and a cup or two of herbal tea. Drinking your calories can add up and I would rather save my calories for food.
3. Walk more.
Every little bit of walking you add to your daily routine can make a difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away when you go to the grocery store. Take your dog for a walk. If it helps, buy a Fitbit or activity tracker to find out how many steps you are taking each day and set a goal to increase that amount.
4. Get better sleep.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Try to go to bed and wake up the same time each day so your body gets used to it. Avoid caffeine about 5 p.m. Getting a good night sleep can make a big difference in your productivity.
5. Limit processed foods.
When you go grocery shopping, reads the ingredients list and if the ingredients are hard to pronounce or if the ingredient list is long, avoid the product. I try to purchase mostly from the outer aisles of the grocery store which include the produce and the meats or proteins.
6. Eat a big, protein packed breakfast.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”? Well, it’s true because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Proper nourishment in the morning will help keep your brain focused and your productivity high. Eating a good amount of protein at breakfast will give you energy and keep you full for hours. Eggs are a great source of protein. If you don’t like eggs, oatmeal is another great source of protein.
7. Limit high risk behaviors such as smoking, heavy drinking or drug use.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that smoking increases your risk of cancer, heart disease and emphysema. It’s expensive and makes your teeth yellow. Nicotine is very addictive, so quitting isn’t a cake walk, but it can be done. Drinking in moderation won’t hurt you, but excessive drinking can damage your brain, liver and even increase your risk of getting cancer.
8. Drink herbal tea.
Drinking herbal tea has countless benefits. It can improve your moods, your metabolism, reduce inflammation and even decrease your risk of cancer. My favorite types of herbal tea include chamomile tea, peppermint tea and green tea. Green tea has a lot of health benefits, but can be a bit bitter, so I usually look for a green tea and fruit combination such as green tea and blueberry or mango. Add a small amount of raw sugar, stevia or honey for some added sweetness.
9. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
There are so many ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your diet. Make smoothies, make a salad, saute or grill vegetables, make a fruit salad or make fruit infused water. An added bonus of incorporating fruits and vegetables is that a lot of them have a high water content.
10. Schedule yearly screenings
Stay on top of your preventative health care screenings. Go for an annual physical once a year. Women should go to their OB/GYN at least once a year. Women over 40 should schedule annual mammograms. Men and women 50 and over should have annual colonoscopies. These exams aren’t exactly fun, but it is better to stay on top of your health because early detection can be the key to saving your life.
What do you think of this list? Did I forget anything? Leave a comment below!