Until early last year, my physical and emotional wellbeing was nothing to be admired. I was working long hours, eating a lot of fast food and spending all my free time binging Netflix in total isolation.
One day, as I stopped to catch my breath after going up just one short flight of steps, I realized that if something didn’t change soon, I’d be in for some steady suffering.
I’ll spare you the suspense, in 12 months’ time I was able to completely turn my health around.
We’re talking weight loss, clearer skin, the best physical shape of my life, and a much more positive attitude. I’ll tell you the series of small changes I made that helped me get healthy and stay that way after years of fad dieting, unnecessary illness, and several bouts of mild depression.
I promise there’s not a “quick fix” in the bunch, but if you commit to making one small change at a time, you’re going to see the same positive transformation I did.
Drink More Water
I put this tip first on purpose. Did you know that well over half the population is walking around dehydrated at any given time? Adequate water intake is essential to healthy organs, glowing skin, a strong immune system and so much more. The debate about just how much water you need is never-ending, but a minimum of 8 glasses a day is for sure a necessity. I like my water extra cold so I started taking an insulated reusable water bottle with me where ever I go. I like this sleek, modern-looking one made by Kool8. It keeps my water ice-cold for hours and reduces my reliance on single-use plastic and that makes me feel good.
Eat More Fruits And Veggies
An easy way to satisfy hunger without snacking on junk food is to go all-in on fruits and veggies. The more color from fruits and vegetables in your diet the better. In fact, the darker red fruits and leafy dark green veggies are the best for you. If you love fruit but don’t enjoy raw veggies quite as much, here is a list of ways you can easily sneak some veggies into a great tasting smoothie from Food.com. Add a smoothie with raw green veggies in it to your daily diet.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The majority of the sugar in your diet should come from fruits and some veggies like carrots. What you don’t need in your life is all the added sugar found in cereals, sodas, condiments, desserts, and processed snacks. If you stick to foods without added sugar, you’ll find that your calorie count naturally reduces. Stick to fresh whole foods that come straight from nature as much as possible. I can’t say that I never took another bite of birthday cake, but I did manage to stick to my clean eating diet around 80% of the time. It’s called balance.
Be Mindful Of Calorie Intake
You can call it anything you want; keto, Atkins, Mediterranean, etc, but all fancy fad diets do is rearrange calories and eliminate food groups to reduce calories. The science behind getting to and maintaining a healthy weight always boils down to calories in versus calories out. If you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight. You can eat a balanced diet without bizarre restrictions if you stay mindful of how many calories you are eating and burning each day. Use a free app like MyFitnessPal to track your food and exercise. I found it easy to use and because it was on my phone, I could take it anywhere so there were zero excuses not to use it.
Take 10,000 Steps
Exercise doesn’t come naturally to me. Do you know those people that wake up at 4:30 AM to go running? That’s not me. I knew I had to start small, so I started by simply taking more steps each day. If you have an office job then most likely you aren’t moving around enough, it’s recommended that you take at least 10,000 steps per day for good health. A pedometer is a simple wearable device that counts your steps. If you don’t want to invest in a more expensive health monitor to start with, the old school pedometer is at your service. Healthcare Weekly compiled a list of the best pedometers on the market for your convenience.
Learn To Meditate
The totality of your wellbeing doesn’t come from diet and exercise alone. Your mental or emotional health plays a huge role in your physical health as well. Meditation is a practice that combines mindfulness with breathing exercises that help calm and relax you. It can also improve your focus, and help you get a better night’s sleep. You can meditate through journaling, quiet reflection, or guided meditation.
Add Some Yoga To The Mix
Think of yoga as a physical form of meditation. Practices for thousands of years, yoga can help you build strength, gain flexibility, and learn mindfulness. An article by Harvard Medicine sites yoga as a tool to improve heart health, lose weight, and improve your body image. You can practice yoga at home with a video or as part of a group exercise class. I not only gained strength, clarity, and insight from taking yoga classes at a local gym but also made some great new friends who were also interested in the same health goals I was trying to achieve.
Put Yourself Out There
Once I started leaving the house to exercise, buy fresh produce all the time, and engaging in new more active hobbies, I noticed that the life I was living prior to getting healthy was full of isolating behaviors. When I was overweight and out of shape, I was unhappy and feeling sick all the time. I spent too much time alone watching TV or in front of my phone. Tuning in to the world around me had a tremendous impact on my health and happiness.