Updated: Jul 5, 2022
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Our health is one of the biggest factors that effects our quality of life. I hadn't realized this, but my roommate was telling me a couple of weeks ago that 70% of the Serotonin (the happiness chemical) in our bodies is created in our gut, not in our brain! Of course, I had to verify with some research, but he is right. Our emotional health is more closely tied to our physical health than most of us realize. That's why it is so important to make healthy life choices, and teach our kids to do the same! Here are some things that I do regularly to create a more healthy lifestyle.
If you are just starting to get healthy, or like me, trying to lose the "COVID 20", be sure to take things slow right at first. Don't try to make yourself go vegan or run a marathon overnight, because pushing yourself too hard can quickly lead to burnout. Set easy goals one week at a time, and gradually push yourself to go harder. This helps your body build up strength and endurance, instead of just making you really tired and frustrated.
When we set goals that are too hard, or start too many new habits at once, we are likely to fail and give up. Have you ever set new year's resolutions? It is kind of like that.
Setting one small, achievable goal at a time helps to make them more attainable. That way we are able to build on successes week after week, and those successes will push us forward to keep achieving more.
According to research studies, it takes about a month of repetition to make a new habit stick. So, think about what is most important to you, and start with that. Then, when your new habit has become a routine, you can add another healthy habit!
One of my favorite healthy things to do for myself is yoga. I started with some super easy, 10 minute videos about 2 years ago, and I love it! Originally, I started out because I read that some of the best ways to cope with stress are to do meditation and exercise. But I was a busy mom with a toddler, and doing both of those seemed pretty impossible. So, I figured that Yoga combined the two and I might as well kill two birds with one stone and try it. I did, and here I am still doing Yoga every day!
In addition to providing physical exercise, and helping to reduce anxiety, Yoga can have many other health benefits as well. According to Johns Hopkins some other benefits include:
Improved strength, balance and flexibility.
Helps with back pain relief.
Can ease arthritis symptoms.
Improved heart health.
More energy and brighter moods.
Provides connection to a supportive community.
Promotes better self-care.
With all of these positive benefits, yoga might be something you would like to try for yourself! Plus, it is easy, fun and free to start. The only equipment you may need as a beginner is a yoga mat and access to a TV with YouTube.
Another one of my favorite things to do is to start off every day with a protein smoothie. Until I got pregnant with my toddler, I probably hadn't eaten breakfast since I was in about the 8th grade. My top priority in the morning was to sleep as long as possible, so I had the shortest morning routine possible. When I got pregnant, I started to be SO hungry in the morning that I needed to put something in my stomach. So, that is when I started on my protein smoothie kick. I like them because they are nutritious, delicious, and fast!
If you want some tips on how to make your own protein smoothie, check out this video!
Besides starting your day with protein, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is also important. If you are trying to lose weight, there are many types of diet plans out there that you can follow.
In general, to eat healthy, it is important to eat a larger quantity of fruits and vegetables than anything else.
According to the USDA, "Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Try to choose whole or cut-up fruits without added sugars, and vary your vegetables; try different types as well as cooking them in different ways (raw, steamed, roasted, sauteed). However, try to avoid fried vegetables. Try to choose a variety of colors when picking out your vegetables.
Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy options. Lactose-free or fortified soy versions are also recommended.
At least half of your grains should be whole grains. Look on labels for the word “whole”– not multigrain or seven-grain. Brown rice and whole-wheat pasta also count. Try to stay away from grain-based desserts and snacks, such as baked goods.
Vary your protein. Try different types, such as seafood, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts, soy products, lean meat, and poultry.
If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation. Limit your intake to 2 drinks or less a day for men and 1 drink a day or less for women.
Limit added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat."
These basic tips will help you with healthy eating in general, as long as you don't have any specific dietary restrictions.
Take a Multi-Vitamin.
Even when we try to make sense out of nutrition facts, and the things that we should or shouldn't eat, it can be hard! I have always taken a multi-vitamin since I was a kid, and it's even easier now since they make them in gummies!
You may want to check with your doctor before you begin taking any additional supplements, but as women, in addition to a women's multi-vitamin, it can also help to take calcium to help with bone health. This is especially important if you are pregnant or nursing, since your little one is using part of your calcium supply as well. Calcium intake can also help to prevent osteoporosis as you age.
Personally, I also take Vitamin C to boost immunity, Iron, and Melatonin for sleep. My grandma swore by taking fish oil for her arthritis, and many people also take probiotics to help with digestion.
Whatever your focus is when it comes to your health, taking the vitamins that you need can help you make up for what may be missing in your diet as a whole.
If you are looking to get some discounted vitamins, check out HerbsPro!
Drink More Water.
The first time I was trying to lose weight, years ago, a friend of mine told me, "just drink water until you don't feel hungry." At the time, it sounded about as stupid to me as that diet from The Devil Wears Prada where the one girl says, "I wait until I feel like I am about to pass out and then I eat a cube of cheese."
My friend was partly right though. Sometimes we eat more because our body is mistaking thirst cues for hunger. So if you feel like you are going for that chocolate bar, or late night left-over pizza, drink a glass of water first.
According to The Mayo Clinic, women should be drinking about 91 ounces of water per day. This is important since our bodies are made up of more water than any other substance, and it can help prevent dehydration.
The amount of water you need on a daily basis may vary also depending on the weather where you live, how much you exercise, and if you are pregnant or nursing.
Having the proper amount of water can also be important if you have any kind of Anxiety, as dehydration can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Wake Up Earlier.
These days, I try to get up at least an hour before my toddler so that I have time to do yoga and take a shower before she gets up, though she actually does like to do yoga with me on the weekends! Sometimes she will do the whole routine in line with the video, others, she will just climb on top of me when I do any pose that is sitting down. My oldest doesn't really get into yoga, but she does enjoy watching her sister's antics!
In addition to providing some alone time to start the day, there are other health benefits to getting up earlier.
According to Gento these benefits include:
It gives you added time to exercise, which lowers stress levels.
Increases brain activity and focus.
It improves your sleep cycles.
Effectively enhances your daily productivity.
It promotes over-all positive mental health and well-being.
For some MORE easy health hacks you can start today, check out this video!
Take care mommas, and talk soon!
Are there other health topics you would like me to talk about? Any tips you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!
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