Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, to stop drinking or to join the local gym. While it is common to set lofty goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could enable us to have better results.
“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”
As Jim Kwik says: “inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is too hard”
Here are seven steps to take to improve your health:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Our bodies need plenty of water (about two-three litres per day) to function at their best. Water is like a magic potion that relieves fatigue, clears skin, detoxes your body, improves digestion and prevents cramps. Yet we often forget to hydrate sufficiently causing headaches as a result. We also lose water through vital everyday functions such as breathing, sweating, urination and bowel movements and this needs to be replaced to avoid dehydration. It’s important to sip on water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Ask yourself: How much water are you drinking daily
2. Stick to eating wholefoods
Whole foods fill you up and fuel you, whereas the white stuff, like sugar, pasta, bread, crackers, high fructose corn syrup, flour and cereal, depletes your energy and makes it difficult to keep your blood sugar levels stable. When your blood sugar is too high or too low it will cause cravings and may also cause symptoms like irritability and fatigue. This will make staying on a clean eating plan more difficult. While it is completely okay to indulge in a favourite comfort food once in a while or bake some cookies to feel all warm and fuzzy, it is important to remember what our bodies need.
Did you know that we have 37 billion chemical reactions happening in our bodies every second? These can’t happen without vitamins and minerals in our bodies and that’s why a diet that’s rich in whole foods, that’s packed with vitamins and minerals, is essential for our health.
3. Cut out snacking
The more you eat throughout the day, the more you spike your blood sugar levels. Instead, focus on eating three balanced meals a day and drink water or herbal teas in between.
4. Downsize your plates
When eating on a small plate your brain will be tricked into thinking that you are eating more because the same amount of food will look larger on a small plate compared to a bigger plate. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.
5. Move, move, move
Exercise comes in all forms, in all varieties, in all speeds and intensities such as walking, yoga, stretching, jogging, push-ups, jumping jacks. If you find yourself with a spare five or ten minutes, dance or do something with your body to re-energise it, instead of checking your social media. If your body is moving, your muscles are receiving fresh blood and oxygen that will rejuvenate you and release happy hormones.
These days, most of us are glued to our smartphones or tablets and don’t take much of a break from them (or at all, in a lot of cases!). According to research, the average person checks their phone up to 10,000 times a year.
Being so connected to the digital world can cause stress and anxiety, especially if it’s not possible to get online. It’s often the case that we feel that we need to be in constant contact with technology and that we’re not really in control of this.
Weaning yourself away from technology gives you back the control over when you use it and puts you in the much less stressful position of choosing to use it, rather than feeling compelled to.
A digital detox of 24 hours (or longer) can have many wellbeing benefits. Lower stress levels, better sleep and a stronger focus are just a few examples of the mental perks you’re likely to gain from switching off completely from your digital life for a day or so regularly.
7. Get a good night’s sleep
“Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep.” – Dr Michael Breus
Having a bedtime routine that relaxes you and gets you in the right frame of mind for sleep is a big part of sleep hygiene. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep regularly. Getting adequate sleep (7-9 hours) will help to keep your heart healthy, reduce stress and inflammation, improve your memory, may help you to lose weight and it will allow your body to detoxify, heal and repair itself.
Ask yourself: Are you sleeping enough?
Remember: Don’t try to implement all of these suggestions at once, that can be overwhelming for anyone. Just choose one step to institute initially and then maybe add a second one when you feel ready to continue to make changes. In a few months from now, think of how your body will be thanking you for giving it the attention it deserves.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages.