Spoiler Alert: Healthy habits – not January resolutions – but actual healthy lifestyle habits can be easier to cultivate than you may think. But there is a bit of a trick. Everyone packs the gyms in January and they’re out by Valentine’s Day and this is why. Whether you want to focus on your physical health and lose weight, start a healthy diet, begin strength training, or work to reduce your stress – this idea is the same. There is no magic pill, but if you start small and are consistent, that’s the trick to getting the results that you’re looking for. These are 5 small steps you can take that will dramatically improve your health and well-being right away.
I’ve been thinking about a few healthy lifestyle habits that are so easy to incorporate when compared to the benefits that result. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve slacked off of the things I know I need to be doing.
And so I wanted to share these five terrific healthy lifestyle habits that really aren’t hard to adopt – but consistency is key.
So, if you want to improve your overall health, you can make one or more of these simple changes and feel the results quickly! These are simple things that I know work – but that I’ve let slip. I’m reinstating these for myself right now. I’d love to have you join me.
Staying Well Hydrated May Be The Most Important Healthy Lifestyle Change
Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to improve your health. Sufficient water provides you with energy, flushes toxins from your system, improves the appearance of your skin, maintains your immune system, prevents headaches, and so much more! (cite)
So the hardest thing for me about staying hydrated is that I insist that my water is cold. And I don’t want bottles with plastic components, I prefer a safer material like stainless steel. The Klean Kanteen Classic Insulated 32-Ounce Stainless Steel Bottle With Loop Cap
Once you start drinking more water, you’re likely to to discover that you have actually been thirsty at times when you thought you were hungry!
Start Some Daily Movement
I know you think I’m saying “exercise,” but really I’m not. Exercise is terrific – and we should all exercise. Weight training, in particular, is important.
But you can still make significant changes even if you can’t find time for the gym.
Another great healthy lifestyle habit is simply to move more. Don’t put off going upstairs. Park further away from the store. Play chase with your children while dinner simmers. Play catch with your children. Not only will you move more, but you’ll get a little quality time in with the kids!
One of my favorite ways to keep me accountable for moving every day is a step tracker. I got a fitbit for my birthday in September and it definitely holds me accountable!
You’ll want to aim for at least 10,000 steps per day.
On a day that you’re out for a walk, go for a run, or hit the gym – you shouldn’t find this a difficult goal. On days that you don’t get your exercise in, you may have to get creative! I’ve found myself pacing circles around the house while brushing my teeth at night!
Healthy Lifestyle Habits Mean Planning Nutritious Snacks
One of the hardest things for me is grabbing nutritious snacks throughout the day. I’m usually running errands, picking up the boys, just basically doing all sorts of things that make it hard for me to take the time to prepare a healthy snack.
When I don’t do this, then I go way too long during the day without a snack and then I’m just plain hangry. Hangry never leads me to good food choices.
So I need a couple snacks throughout the day.
Blanching veggies is one of the fastest ways to cook them – it takes only about 5 minutes. Another plus – once you’ve blanched them, they will easily hold in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. To keep them as fresh as possible, I line a glass container with a thin kitchen towel or a couple of paper towels to absorb moisture.
My favorite vegetables to blanch are asparagus, sugar snaps, green beans, and snow peas. The beauty of these selections is that none of them need any prep making the process even faster. They are easy to keep and grab for a snack whenever you want them.
What Makes a Nutritious Snack?
So here’s a bonus tip about snacks… Each “snack” or “meal” during your day should include each of the macronutrients – protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates.
To add to your veggies, a dip with healthy fats and protein is perfect. Bean dips with coconut, walnut, or olive oil are terrific. Hummus is terrific. Guacamole is virtually the perfect choice. Make sure when you’re choosing a recipe for a dip, you include some healthy fats.
I also like blanching or steaming spinach. It’s not really a grab and go snack, but I love having it on hand to throw into whatever else I’m eating – think: soups, stews, scrambled eggs, omelettes, you name it. It will up your nutrient game.
Make Your Gut Health A Priority
We can’t talk about healthy lifestyle habits without discussing your gut health. The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens and microbes are kept out. So it’s directly linked to our overall health.
Many diseases that seem totally unrelated to the gut, such as eczcema, heart disease, allergies, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis or arthritis, are actually caused by gut problems. By focusing on your gut you can get better, or show improvement. (cite)
Other Posts To Jumpstart Your Journey To Heal Your Gut
One of my struggles has always been sweets. And studies are showing connections between gut health and eating too much sugar, specifically processed sugars.
Click HERE to check out even more about sugar addiction and sugar cravings!
What Does My Gut Do?
Your entire immune system (and your body) is protected from the toxic “goo” in your the gut by a layer only one cell thick!
This thin layer covers a surface area the size of a tennis court—yet it’s basically containing a sewer. If that barrier is damaged, you will get sick and create an overactive immune system, producing inflammation throughout the body.
And then there is your second brain, your gut nervous system. Your gut has more neurotransmitters than even your brain. Your gut and your brain constantly exchange messages back and forth. When those messages don’t work – either from the brain to the gut or the gut to the brain – your health will suffer.
Your gut also has to get rid of all the toxins produced as a byproduct of your metabolism. Your liver dumps these toxins into your gut through bile (the yellow stuff). If this process gets backed up – your body will become toxic.
And then, your gut also breaks down everything you eat into its individual components, pull out the vitamins and minerals and get them across that one cell thick layer into your bloodstream for your body to get their benefits.
Healing Your Gut
Gut health is both hugely important to your overall health and complicated. However, your can heal your gut and improve your health.
Healing your gut is a two step process.
First, remove things from your diet that you are sensitive to (the usual suspects are wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, corn, or soy).
Second, you can take simple steps to add in healing foods: adding bone broth to your diet (it’s perfect soup weather) is one of the easiest! I love having bone broth around – I use it in soups; sauces; in place of water to cook rice or quinoa; and even a bit to steam spinach.
Other great gut foods to add in are small amounts of fermented foods (homemade sauerkraut, pickles, kefir, kombucha, etc.) which keep your body at a health pH level.
Also, keeping your Omega-3 levels high and supplement if necessary, and consume short and medium chain fatty acids – like grass fed butter and coconut oil. (Paleo Mom)
I’ve been lucky enough to be a patient of one of the world’s foremost authorities on gut health: Dr. Tazneem Bhatia. The 21-day plan she puts forth in her book, The 21-Day Belly Fix: The Doctor-Designed Diet Plan for a Clean Gut and a Slimmer Waist, can be challenging – but the results are worth it!!!! I love her book and highly recommend it!
Add In Some Healthy Fats
Adding at least one healthy fat in at each meal or snack can help improve your health. Healthy fats can actually help improve your blood lipid profile. Healthy fats help you stay full longer. Here’s where you need to hold on and be prepared to un-learn the conventional wisdom that has been hammering us for several decades. Short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids are healthy fats.
Saturated fats – from coconut oil, grass fed meats, and avocados are beneficial. Omega-6 fats are beneficial fats and are found in fatty fish (think: salmon), nuts, seeds, and some types of algae. Try adding a source of healthy fat into your diet at each meal.
Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Habits For Good
Any one of these simple healthy lifestyle habits is likely to have you noticing a difference within the first couple of days.
You’ll be better off today than you were yesterday – even if you adopt only one of these healthy lifestyle habits. See if you can add in one each week.
Remember that taking it slow is the best way to form new habits that will improve your overall health slowly but surely!
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