New Year’s resolution or no, this is the year you should strive for a healthier you. That means you may want to consider trying for a healthier lifestyle and finally settling on a healthy diet. You also may want to consider the mental part of you along with your physical part, because it’s all about ways to improve health. All of it aims to make a healthier you in 2018.
The possible ways of achieving that goal are endless, and it seems everybody is online with a list of things to do. We’ve pored over some suggestions on how to be healthier and boiled them down to 10 healthy lifestyle changes.
1. Healthier Eating
Let’s begin with one you’ll like the most, but don’t ignore the others. This healthier diet stuff isn’t going to happen if you focus on this alone.
Eat chocolate and chase it with lemon or lime water. The chocolate should be the dark kind with less sugar and not white; it’s the flavanols in dark cocoa that improve brain power. A modest amount will dilate blood vessels and let oxygen and blood reach the parts of the brain responsible for happiness and contentment. While you’re at it, drink lemon or lime water. It adds vitamin C for improving immunity and digestion. Choose fresh fruit over most packaged juice to avoid additives (check the label). If your urine is a light color, it means you’re properly hydrated.
Other suggestions include:
- Nutrient-dense foods such as healthy fats and vegetables,
- Fruits, whole grains, and lean meats,
- Lots of protein in general; 24 to 35 grams per meal, especially breakfast.
Also, try supplements to “supplement” the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you get in foods. And don’t forget about CBD’s health benefits.
Look around you. Ours is not a healthy-looking society, and most of it is not just because of the way we eat; it’s that we don’t move around enough. An exercise of some sort is necessary for getting fit and staying that way. You don’t even need a gym; you can lift weights at home. Do bicep curls by with a 20-ounce can of food in each hand, maybe less for women.
Have a desk job? “Deskercise,” says Dr. Gillian Lautenbach of the University of Pennsylvania. Do chair squats by standing in front of your chair and squat until your rear touches the seat. Get a heavy book to exercise your triceps by holding it behind your head with your elbows above your head. Do that hourly, and walk outside if possible, for blood flow and to help you think better.
Psychiatrists say fitness also is good for mental wellness. It helps reduce stress, depression and anxiety symptoms, and aerobic exercises are great for all of that. Just 30 minutes of walking can improve your mental health and decrease your risk of stroke and heart disease. Even a casual “scenic walk” led study participants to eat less and make healthier choices.
3. Maintain a Healthy body
Good hygiene is important for a healthy body. You will feel more confident and comfortable. Just a haircut or manicure could do. But, don’t forget the inside of your mouth. The Wellness Mama notes that 65 percent of the population has “the beginnings of gum disease” that can cause problems far beyond the mouth. She advises supplements and lifestyle changes.
4. Take it Easy
Here’s more welcome news for getting and keeping a healthier you: sleep, and when you’re not sleeping, sit. Or, be lazy.
Another psychiatrist advises getting seven to eight hours of sleep. If you can’t, fudge a bit each night and commit to getting a few minutes more. The University of Minnesota’s Traci Mann, who gave us some healthy-eating advice, also gives us an excuse to be lazy. She says that if you can’t fight the urge to reach for a piece of candy, move it out of your reach so you have to get off the couch to get it. And, put other tempting food in hard-to-reach places, such as the back of the refrigerator. The advice to simply sit down is not for all of us. It’s aimed at the type A’s among us, the ones who do too much multitasking. Give it up sometimes; sit down and rest for awhile.
5. Pamper Yourself
Get a massage along with that haircut and manicure to improve your mental health. It’s all about that healing touch, and you don’t need any more than 10 to 15 minutes of it. And, get a friend or someone else who’s close to you to share those healthier things along with.
6. Respect Your Scale
A study explodes the myth that weighing yourself a lot can discourage you give up trying to lose. Not so, says a Cornell University study. Its lead author said those who weigh themselves daily tend to lose more weight than those who do not, and they are more likely to keep it off. “Stepping on the scale affects your decisions through the 24 hours that follow” by serving as a reminder of your intent to lose weight, he said.
7. Get Out!
Try spending just 10 minutes (the RDA) bathing in the sun’s light and warmth without protection. It’s the best source of vitamin D, which in turn protects against some types of cancer. Otherwise, do protect yourself if you’re going to be in the sun for a long time.
8. Avoid Chemicals
You’ve heard about the dangers of pesticides in foods, but there also are many other chemicals to avoid. The most common ones are household cleaners, many heavily laden with toxins. Try microfiber cloth (which does not require harsh chemicals or even soap to get most jobs done). You can even try making your own cleansers. Katie, the Wellness Mama, has recipes.
9. Make a List
There are lots of things you want to do that can make you feel good. They can be as simple as reading a book, watching a favorite television show, luxuriating in a bath or sipping tea. One dietician recommends making a list of 10 things besides ingesting calories that make you feel good. Writing them down provides a reminder to do them.
Talk yourself into good health. It’s not all that far-fetched. Medical studies have shown it to be effective. And, Katie says attitude is everything; that maintaining the right outlook can do great things for easing stress. Just feeling happy, she writes, can help defeat the stress that disrupts our hormones and affects our ability to sleep, adding other health problems.
Can do, not can’t do, is another great attitude to have. Dr. Donald Hensrud of the Mayo Clinic advises people to pig out if they want to because it is “psychologically powerful to do so.” Just make the pig-out on fruits and vegetables. “It’s better to eat 800 calories of healthy food than 600 calories of junk food,” he says.
Other advice is to set personal goals for improving your health, but make sure that even the simple ones are achievable. Once you get through those, you can set higher ones and get all the satisfaction of achieving those, too.