It doesn’t have to be a new year to begin to be a better you, now is the time to take the steps on a journey of becoming the person you want to be. Take some time to improve yourself. Set goals to help you on the path to making a better you.
The necessities of a functional human life are oxygen, food, water, shelter, and one that is often left out- sleep. If you want to be better, you have to eat better, drink better, and sleep better. In an effort to reach new healthy heights, during the month of September, we will strive to better ourselves physically and create a healthier lifestyle.
Step one: Eat Better
The dreaded diet does not have to be your way of life. Eating healthy and being healthy is all about quality and quantity. You can still eat your chocolate cake, just not the whole chocolate cake. Your diet should consist of majority quality fresh foods, and a very small quantity of the ones that make you feel guilty. Eating better is a struggle that people have everywhere. It not only takes more discipline to eat better, but it can also be more expensive. Here’s a few do’s and Don’ts to help you to eat cleaner.
Don’t- Supersize your meals.
Pile on the food, and pile on the pounds. Over-eating changes your metabolism, and not in a positive way. You are only made to eat until you are 70-80% full, where modern American culture says to “eat until you can’t eat anymore”. Become more aware of how much you eat by eating slowly.
Do- Eat Breakfast within an hour of rising.
Your mother was right about this one; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast wakes your metabolism up right along with you, giving you that extra umph start to your day. Breakfast can improve your performance, and get your weight and hunger under control. Add a small healthy meal to your morning routine may be just what you need, to start your day with a bang.
Don’t- Eat all over-processed foods.
People all over the world are getting fatter, and sicker, and over-processed foods are the reason why. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the foods we intake in our Western Culture, consist of processed foods. Processed foods are loaded with added sugar, or its evil clone High Fructose Corn Syrup. Added sugars can have a detrimental impact on your health, leading to health issues such as high cholesterol, increased fat accumulation, and even some of the world’s top killers: diabetes, heart disease, cancer. When we replace real, traditional foods crappy, processed junk foods, we get fat and sick. Fresh foods are the key to success.
Do- Eat healthy fats
We all know that too much fat will make you fat, but not all fats are bad for your health. We actually need some fat to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Good fats like avocados, almond, and coconut and olive oils are great and even have health benefits such as lowering heart disease, increasing your calorie expenditure, and even help to decrease your bad cholesterol. Fats are required in order to properly digest and absorb our fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K, so they’re not always the villain. Keep eating those fats, just make sure they’re the healthy fats.
Don’t- Pile on the Salt
Limiting your sodium can be tough because about 75 percent of sodium in Americans' diets comes from processed or prepared foods, not salt that we add at the table. It can be shocking to look at the sodium content on the nutritional label. Even foods such as breads and juices can have high amounts of salt. Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Stay away from that salt shaker.
Step Two: Drink better
When reaching for a beverage, its best to stick to a drink that you can see straight through. I’m talking water: Pure H20, Seltzer water, fruit infused water, if you really want to see improvement, that’s the best way to go. Sometimes our brain has a hard time differentiating between hunger and thirst. Drinking half of your weight in ounces of water is the best way to insure your body is hydrated to the max. To determine your normal hydration needs, calculate your body weight in pounds, divide your weight by 2, and that amount in ounces is how much water your body needs each day. So drink, drink, drink!
Another great drink with loads of health benefits is Warm Lemon Water. Lemon Water:
Boosts Your Immune System
Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting sicknesses. It helps control blood pressure and stimulate brain and nerve function because they are so high in potassium.
Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods around. Drinking lemon water every day and you’ll reduce your body’s overall acidity.
Helps With Weight Loss
Because lemons are high in pectin fiber, they help to curb your appetite by fighting hunger cravings.
Aids in Digestion
Lemon juice helps to flush out all of your body’s waste. It encourages the production of bile in the liver, which aids in digestion.
Clears Your Skin
Vitamin C has been known to reduce the formation of acne blemishes and wrinkles in the skin. Lemon water draws out toxins from the blood, which helps keep skin clear.
When life gives you lemons, put them in your water!
Step Three: Sleep better
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep. In the toil and strain of everyday life, most adults are lucky if they even get 6 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is nothing to play with, aside from that dreaded groggy feeling; it is detrimental to your well-being. Just one week of insufficient sleep can alter the activity of the genes that control your immunity, reponse to stress, inflammation, and your health overall. Get some rest, your body will thank you.
Put away your gadgets
Phone, tablet, alarm clocks, lamps, all electronics that we know and love, are no good for your sleep environment. The blue lights emitted by screens on most electronics restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. Turn off and unplug anything that will cause a disruption for a good night’s rest.
Chamomile tea eases anxiety and muscle tension, while also fighting inflammation to give you the ultimate state of relaxation. Chamomile works as a mild tranquilizer as well as a sleep inducer.
Soothe with smell
Scented oils can serve as aromatherapy to fill the room with scents to help you to drift off to dreamland. Adding a few drops of natural oil to your sheets- such as Eucalyptus, Lavender or Tea Tree Oil are a wonderful way to give your bed a fresh new scent and provide the ideal nighttime aroma.
Stay away from the caffeine
Save your coffee cup for strictly the morning time. Caffeine interferes with your energy level for more than 6 hours after intake, even if you still feel tired afterwards. Our body may slow down, but your brain will still be on go. To limit your chances of sleep deprivation, stop drinking caffeine after 2 pm.