Simple Strategies to Start Now
Becoming fit, feeling healthier, working on your wellness…it can be overwhelming no matter what approach you take towards increasing your health. We all know that making a change can feel overwhelming–especially with the abundance of information available to us at our fingertips. So why not start with some easy to employ tips that are simple enough for anyone to commit to right now?
- Eat fat. Fat is good. Fat, specifically saturated fat, has gotten a bad reputation over the last 20+ years or so. Low-fat foods have taken over our supermarkets, and it’s been incredibly tough to undo the damage that the low-fat craze has caused. When fat is pulled out of a food (take milk for example), something has to replace the fat. And what is best filler? Sugar. So most of your naturally full-fat foods that have been turned into low fat foods, are full of sugar instead of the already great energy producing fat that we need. Saturated fat is no longer linked to heart disease and obesity–excess sugar and carbohydrates are.Fat makes you feel full and provides energy. Saturated fat is good. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good. So avocados, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, nuts and nut butters, seeds, beef, bacon, eggs (not just egg whites anymore!), and whole fat dairy–it’s all good! The ONLY fat that isn’t good is “Trans-fat” and by law these are required to be on the nutritional label, so lucky for you, they’re easy to spot. They’re typically found in foods designed to “live” on the shelf for several years. Think prepackaged processed foods and hydrogenated oils.So don’t fear the good fats–instead fill up on them instead of sugary, processed foods. This doesn’t mean it’s ok to eat three packs of bacon a day and a whole jar of almond butter–fat is high in calories so still practice moderation of these foods. But if you incorporate a little bit of good fat at each meal, you can make a world of difference in your health.
- Never let more than three days pass without working out. This is kind of like “Never Miss a Monday” but even better. We all know life happens. We’re busy. We have kids, jobs, families, commitments, and other priorities. By ensuring that you’ll never let more than three days slide, you’re committing to NOT letting your health slide. And the best part of this rule is that it keeps you from getting into a “slump.” If you miss three days, that’s fine. If you miss four? Four is really easy to turn into five which turns into one week, which spirals into, “Man, I haven’t worked out in a month!” So if you stick to the three-day rule, you’ll be much more likely to balance life AND keep your health in check.
- Walking is a workout. Walking may be the most underrated workout a person can do. It’s the ONLY workout that burns fat without weights or intense cardio. Plus, it’s the only steady state cardio that uses fat as fuel. Most steady state cardio breaks down muscle. Walking is perhaps the dream workout. It’s easy on the joints, everyone can do it, and it burns fat. You need zero equipment other than a good pair of shoes. All you need to do is build a walk into your schedule 3-5 times a week, and keep your heart rate between 100-120 beats per minute. (Figure this out by counting your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6.)Remember the rule of never going more than three days without working out? Well guess what? You can almost always squeeze a walk into your day if you can’t get to the gym. Join step challenges with your friends, bet your husband dinner that he won’t beat you in steps for the day, vice versa. There’s always a way to walk more and walking should be the forefront of your fitness. Especially if you live a busy life or can’t afford a gym membership.
- Eat protein and vegetables at each meal and snack. Many people struggle with “healthy eating,” but if you can ensure that you are eating protein plus a veggie at every meal and snack, you’re going to be ahead of the wellness curve.For breakfast, try an omelet with veggies like mushrooms, peppers, onions, and spinach. Most veggies go really well with eggs. Not a huge veggie fan? Have eggs and bacon and saute some veggies in a little bit of the bacon fat. And you don’t have to eat typical “breakfast” foods if you don’t want. You can eat steak and grilled zucchini for breakfast if you want.Lunch and dinners are pretty easy to figure out–chicken, fish, pork, turkey, seafood, beef…all proteins are a go. Any veggie is a yes. Feel free to get creative and use Pinterest if you need recipe ideas.Snacking, however, is probably the hardest way to figure out high protein meals with veggies. An easy go-to high protein snack is Greek yogurt (plain), add a Greek seasoning to the yogurt, and use your favorite veggies for dipping! Another high protein snack is cottage cheese (full fat), and you can top it with your choice nuts, seeds, or fruit for extra flavor while adding a side of steamed or sauteed veggies to round out your mini meal. Hard boiled eggs make great snacks, and so do mini egg muffins stuffed with your favorite cheeses and veggies. To get even more veggies into your snacks, try dipping peppers into guacamole; or carrots, celery, and snap peas into hummus. Want to be super creative? Make your own hummus out of green peas and then use cucumber slices for dipping.If you focus on eating protein plus veggies, every time you eat, you will undoubtedly increase your health and overall wellness.
- Make water fun. Drinking water is beyond one of the best things we can do for our health. In fact, hydration is sometimes masked as hunger and oftentimes we can curb our appetite just by drinking a glass of water. Moreso, water is essential to our wellbeing.Water helps control your caloric intake, provide energy throughout the day, prevent muscle cramps and sprains, protect your skin, flush toxins from the body, aid digestion, prevents and relieves backaches, headaches, and fatigue.
Unfortunately, many Americans are lacking sufficient water intake and even a 2% drop in hydration levels can cause memory problems, difficulty with basic math, and difficulty focusing. And scarily, chronic dehydration can lead to:
- Heart Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Stomach Ulcers
- Multiple Sclerosis
How much water do you need? The easiest method of figuring out your water intake is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day.
How do you make water fun? Try some of these methods:
- Buy a fun water bottle! From stainless steel to BPA Free Plastic, straws, no straws, 64 oz growler bottles and cute glass bottles wrapped in silicone sleeves…you can find something fun that will entice you to drink up!
- Add fruit and/or herbs. Add lemon, lime, cucumber, mint, it doesn’t matter! Create your own combo of your favorite fruits and herbs, and change it up each day! Monday is cucumber and mint, Tuesday is strawberry basil…whatever makes you happy!
- Try seltzer. Need a little fizz? Fill a water bottle with half selzer, half regular water, and add a splash of lime or lemon (or both).
- Add ice. Many people drink more water when it’s cold.
- Add a straw. It’s almost as if you can sip water without even thinking when you have a straw–especially if you have a long commute!
- Play games. Can you drink 8 oz every hour on the hour all the hours that you’re awake? Can you meet your daily requirement by 7pm every day? Every time your boss says something annoying, drink 10 oz! Whatever you need to do, do it!
For more information on hydration, nutrition, exercise, strength, stamina, walking, energy and time management, stress reduction, and confidence building, make sure you check out our newest book, REVAMP Your Health! The .PDF is on sale right now for only $8!
Walker, Stephanie. REVAMP Your Health. 2017