Healthy Habits to Start Right Now
according to a INTEGRATIVE health coach + functional NUTRITIONIST
Like most people, “getting healthy” starts with an earnest declaration on a Sunday night, great intentions on Monday morning and then an abrupt halt around Wednesday afternoon, when you’re sick of eating salad everyday!
If this sounds like you, you are definitely not alone. As a Nutrition and Health Coach, I find that the majority of my clients are unable to keep healthy commitments because they commit to too much at once:
Meal prepping 21 meals
Going to the gym 5x/week
Getting 8 hours of sleep
Drinking your body-weight in water
They are all good, but to start doing this from zero can result in overwhelm and then immediate abandonment of said healthy habits.
I’m continuously and pleasantly surprised that the most basic habits can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. So, I encourage my clients to start small. Pick one thing that you can achieve, make it a habit, then add the next thing. Anyone can start adding small habits and changes that lead to big results. Here are a few of my favorite habits that make a huge impact:
1. Water Before Anything Else.
The first thing I do in the morning is walk straight to the kitchen sink and fill up a glass of water and drink it. Yes, before showering and before coffee. Everyone knows hydration is key to a healthy body, but not everyone does it. You would be shocked to see that adding in that extra morning glass of water can help with your digestion, energy levels and appetite.
2. Always Add A Vegetable.
Veggies are the most important food group to incorporate into our lives, and we don’t eat nearly enough of them. Vegetables help to create a healthy microbiome, add in fiber for digestive health, keep you feeling full, keep your skin bright, help to achieve a healthy weight, and nourish your cells. No matter what I am making I always add a vegetable to it. Making pasta? Throw in some broccoli. Making a meatloaf? Chop up some spinach or zucchini and add that to the mix. Having an omelette? Add in peppers, onions and herbs. Get creative!
3. Don’t Check Your Email 2 Hours Before Bed.
Lack of quality sleep may lead to all sorts of health issues or just feeling like crap the next day. We often don’t get enough quality sleep because we are spent tossing and turning all night worrying about the email our client just sent or all that we have to do tomorrow. Allowing yourself 2 hours to unwind before bed can be key in getting the quality sleep you need to crush the next 8 hours and the next day.
4. Don’t Work on Weekends. Really.
I got into a bad habit of saying, “I’ll just finish that on Saturday”...every.single.week. When I cut working on weekends from my life, I got more productive during the week and felt like I had a more fulfilling life on the weekends. The time off really allowed me to feel rejuvenated and dive back in Monday morning.
5. Fruit For Dessert.
If you’re trying to kick sugar to the curb start small. Instead of having ice cream or cookies for dessert, replace with some fruit. You will still get that sweet satisfaction, but with the added bonus of nutrients and antioxidants.
6. Take a Deep Breath, Relax Your Jaw + Drop Your Shoulders.
Stress and anxiety can definitely get the best of us. But it’s amazing how simple a deep breath and releasing any tension in your body can magically make you feel more relaxed. You don’t need to go on a 10 day meditation retreat to feel more zen, start by noticing where there is tension and then release it.
7. Swap Out Your Cooking Oils.
Refined oils like canola and vegetable oils are inflammatory and are studies show they are extremely harmful to your health. Swapping for more natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil, is not only healthier but tastier too!
8. Eat a Satisfying + Nourishing Breakfast.
We’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is that? Starting your day with a satisfying and nourishing breakfast can allow you to have a clear head to make better eating decisions the rest of the day, which will lead to more energy and productivity. Here are my favorite quick and easy breakfasts for when you only have a few minutes in the morning.
9. Need an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up?
Try an unsweetened brightly flavored tea instead of coffee or candy. This simple habit can cut out loads of unnecessary sugar from our diets and allow us to get that alloted 8 hours of sleep.
10. Don’t Do Boring Workouts.
When my clients complain about how they hate going to the gym, I totally get it. I would hate the gym too, if I spent 40 min on a boring elliptical watching a closed caption episode of Family Feud. Pick a workout that is actually exciting to you: whether that is a boutique fitness class like ballet barre, or a cycling class that amps you up with amazing tunes, or a brisk walk with a friend. Choose something that you actually look forward to doing.