Growing up, it’s probably safe to say we’ve all heard the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. Remember that? Well, if not, the moral of the story was basically, “slow and steady wins the race.” Okay crazy lady, what does this have to do with basic health tips? I’ll get you there, I promise.
Oftentimes when I want to start being healthier, feeling better or shed some pounds, I feel the need to make overwhelmingly drastic changes to accomplish my goals. The problem with that is I start ignoring simple, foundational, everyday healthy habits and instead try to accomplish a huge goal as fast as possible.
When I don’t see results as quickly (really instantaneously) as I’d like, I end up right back where I was or worse off. My clean, healthy, determined self becomes completely derailed and eventually back at square one, which is all the more frustrating.
The primary problem is that I’m the hare in this situation. I’m rushing, a bit distracted, not sticking to any of the basics or focusing on the long-term goal. I veer off my path and end up losing in the end.
Instead, when you find yourself struggling, it’s important to wipe your slate clean and go back to the basics. Focusing on the little, accomplishable tasks that win the race and ensure long-term health and goals stay intact is the easiest way to feel better and maintain health.
So before you make anymore major health goals or lifestyle changes, make sure you’re doing these foundational basics every single day. Many times the answer to common health problems like difficulty sleeping, adrenal stress, mental fog, constant tiredness and more can be solved by making these simple health tips a part of your daily routine.
1. Drink Half Your Body Weight In Ounces of Water
It’s the number one thing everyone hears in regards to their health: drink more water. Eye roll. But seriously, just try drinking the actual amount of water you should every day because its benefits to how you feel and how your body functions are pretty amazing. Water boosts your caloric burn–every time you drink, your body burns calories. Drinking a glass of water 10-20 minutes before meals can also ensure you don’t overeat. The same concept can be applied when you’re constantly feeling like you need to snack: drink a glass of water and see if you still feel as hungry after it settles. A few other helpful benefits from drinking the right amount of water everyday include healthier skin, more energy, better circulation and less fatigue. When I personally started measuring and drinking the right amount of water every day, the change in the way I felt was phenomenal for such a simple task.
2. Get 7,500 to 10,000 Steps In
The biggest complaint I hear from moms (and that I personally echo) is that there’s not enough time to get everything done in a day. And a lot of times that means a workout doesn’t happen. I know, priorities, but unfortunately not everyone can or does have the same priorities. If you’re just not able to do an hour or two at the gym every day, I get it, so at least make sure to get in 7,500-10,000 steps. My job requires I sit most of the day, and at first, it felt difficult to get in steps, but in reality it’s not. It may take a few minutes extra of effort on your part, but those few minutes can be put to good use multitasking. You can go for a walk with your kids or dog around the block a couple times or get up and do some extra things around the house that require you to walk. And if you’re like me, sitting most of the day, set a timer to get up and do a lap every 30 minutes or couple hours. The average person gets between 3000-4000 steps in a day, so pushing yourself just a little to get those extra steps in can have a ton of benefits like losing weight, sleeping better, reducing heart problems, improving mentality and so much more.
3. Eat Veggies, Seriously Though
According to this lovely Romper article, USDA Dietary Guidelines suggest people need to eat at least three to five servings of vegetables per day. And a serving of vegetables is roughly .5 to 1 cup. I want you to stop and think about the last time you actually ate even two servings of vegetables in a day. If you can say that was today, that’s awesome! Now, think about the last time you ate three to five servings several days in a row. For most, it probably doesn’t happen daily like it should. Vegetables are literally the healthiest thing you can put into your body. Making a conscious effort to eat at least 3 cups of vegetables a day isn’t hard, and it’s going to positively affect the way you feel. Don’t let this simple health necessity fall by the wayside.
4. Get More Zzzs
I know, again, eye roll. Get more sleep is another thing people hear all. the. time. But, you know what? You probably hear it all the time because it truly makes that big of an impact on how you feel and function. As I get older, I can tell the direct effect not getting enough sleep has on me just from one night of only getting 3 hours of sleep. My stress and anxiety go through the roof, I feel like I’m all over the place mentally, and I’m obviously dragging. If you feel yourself getting stressed all the time or needing coffee after coffee to get by, stop and take a look at how much sleep you’re getting every night. Finding a tracker that tracked my sleep was one of the best decisions for me personally because I didn’t realize how much under that 8-hour mark I was every night. One of my favorite sleep advocates is Ariana Huffington. Through her own personal struggle putting off sleep for far too long, she had a pretty big health incident that forced her to realize how big of a deal sleep is to health and success. Just watch her TED Talk to find out why. Additionally, make sure you’re not working where you sleep. Your bed (or bedroom) should be a sanctuary for rest, and if your mind is associating work with your bed, you may find yourself restless.
5. Stop Eating After 7 p.m.
Hmmm.. that seems odd. Why exactly would I give up my late night snack? Well, for a couple reasons. First, if you’re struggling to get 8 hours of sleep at night (via the previously mentioned tip), going to bed earlier is going to curb that snacking urge. Therefore, you have incentive to sleep more and eat less. Second, the closer to bedtime that you’re eating, the less active time you have to work it off. Essentially you’re taking in a bunch of calories and then going to lay down, which is doing nothing great for you. But that’s not all. According to health educators at Columbia University, “Waiting to eat could lead to consuming larger portion sizes.” So, if you’re waiting until later at night to eat dinner, chances are your eyes are going to be bigger than your stomach. If instead you’re snacking late at night, you’re just unnecessarily adding to your daily calorie intake. Even if it’s not 7 p.m., setting a cut-off time is a great way to manage additional calories and ensure you’re not mindlessly snacking.
6. Drive On Past Drive-Throughs
Your eyes have probably rolled out of your head by now, but come on. You and I both know why this tip is on the list. Unless you’re opting for a salad, you’d be hard pressed to find a meal at just about any fast food restaurant that didn’t come close to or exceed an entire day’s normal calorie intake. Fast food, plain and simple, is just not good for you. It’s filled with carbs, salt, sugar, processed ingredients, calories, fat and just about everything that is the epitome of what any person should not ingest. Fast food causes insulin resistance (i.e. diabetes), high cholesterol, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart problems, difficulty breathing and more, according to Healthline. If you need some more convincing, just watch Supersize Me. So next time it seems easier to hit up the drive through, just keep driving. Make something at home or stop somewhere with healthier options because fast food is not going to do anything good for your body or how you feel.
7. Focus On Mentality
Whether it’s meditating, playing music, listening to podcasts or using mind games on your phone, don’t forget to focus on yourself mentally every day too. It’s important to view your brain as a muscle, and remember that keeping it fit is also a necessity to function well. Stimulating new parts of your brain, perfecting skills and continuing to learn keeps your brain sharp. According to Brain MD, there are several things you can do to strengthen your brain and even more reasons you want to make sure you’re doing it every day.
8. Consider A Morning (Or Evening) Regimen
In the morning, my regimen includes oil pulling for ten minutes with coconut oil. Then it’s Green Superfood powder, apple cider vinegar, lemon and baking soda mixed in a big glass of water with a magnesium supplement. Stretching is generally included in my morning as well. Some of the most popular ways people like to start off their day include lemon water, a healthy smoothie concoction, a run and so much more. In the evening, I often do a chamomile tea, some sort of meditation and lavender scents. Whatever you do, find something that adds health and value to your life or body and use it to your advantage every day. There are endless ways to start or end your day with healthy habits, energy, relaxation and more.
If you’re wanting to feel better every day, I can’t stress enough how often it comes down to implementing the basic foundational health essentials in order to do so. Adding these eight musts to your daily routine is so easy and takes up vey little extra time, especially in comparison to how beneficial it is for you. Add in these tips and I guarantee you relieve some stress, shed a few pounds, sleep better, feel better, have more energy and so much more.