In modern life, we are all balancing professional as well as personal lives during their day to day routine. If you’re anything like me, you know trying constantly to maintain a balance can take a toll on your body, and then your health suffers. Stress – even good stress – does a number to your body.
It is extremely important for us to pay attention to our wellness and work towards preserving our body’s strength, balance, and peace, even when stress is running wild. Perhaps especially when stress is running wild!
Here are a 7 simple suggestions that can be easily incorporated in your day to day routine and help you maintain your wellness and keep your body healthy.
1. Drink 2 liters of water, minimum.
Staying properly hydrated will help you feel more energised. Drinking water is a natural way to flush out the toxins from within the body. My doctor once explained it to me like this:
Your kidneys work as a filter, but if you don’t have enough water in your body, you stop being so efficient at getting rid of those nasty toxins.
But, he warned, drinking too much water isn’t good either.
Women should aim for between 2-3 liters of water per day, drinking more on the days you’re working out. Men should aim for 3-3.5 liters of water per day, drinking more on the days you’re working out.
2. Drink water at the right time.
It’s not enough to drink 2 liters of water if you drink it all in the morning. Drinking water at the right times will make a big difference in how you feel throughout the day.
Start your day by drinking a big glass of water before you even get dressed. It helps to keep a glass of water next to your bed for this purpose. I keep a bottle of water next to my bed. I take a sip if I wake up thirsty, and then finish the bottle when I wake up in the morning. Starting your day with a glass of water is like kick starting your body. Whether or not it actually helps you flush out toxins any faster is a matter of some debate, but nonetheless, drinking a glass of water helps me feel more alert before I venture down to the coffee shop.
The second best time to drink a glass of water is right before each meal. Drinking a glass of water before you eat will help you feel fuller faster. This will help you refrain from overeating.
The third best time to drink water is before and after you workout. When you workout you’re likely to sweat, and drinking water before you workout will arm you against dehydration. Drinking water after your workout will help replenish any water that was depleted.
The fourth best time to drink water is right before you shower. I take very hot showers, and drinking water before I shower keeps me from feeling so dehydrated afterwards.
3. Eat good food.
Food is fuel, and it’s important to eat right. A dear friend of mine recently posted a photo of her cupboard on Facebook and said, quite seriously, “I love having healthy food in the house.”
It took every ounce of self control not to leave a snarky comment. What was in her cupboard? Junk food like Mountain Dew, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Lays Potato Chips, and Ramen.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not healthy food.
A healthy diet includes green leafy vegetables, salads, slow-carbohydrates, and a lot of protein. I’m a vegetarian, so my main source of protein is tofu. If you are a carnivore, try to get your protein from lean meats.
4. Minimize carbohydrates
Carbs are not your friend. Carbs are nasty little bastards that get turned into fat when not used. Carbs cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar and wreak havok on your hormones.
Ask anybody who knows me and they’ll tell you when my blood sugar spikes and crashes, I end up on an emotional rollercoaster. I become really energetic, and then really tired and bitchy.
I don’t avoid carbs all together, but I do make them a smaller part of my diet. Most doctors and nutritionists will tell you 45%-65% of your daily caloric intake should be from carbohydrates. I find I feel better when my carbohydrate intake is under 45% of my daily caloric intake.
I strive for 1,600 calories a day, and I try to keep my carbohydrate intake at 150g per day or less.
A very easy way to reduce carbohydrate intake is to pay attention to what you drink. Beverages are often the harbingers of many carbohydrates. That Green Tea Latte you like from Starbucks? A Grande can have as many as 60g of carbohydrates. (Note: Starbucks recently removed nutritional information for this beverage.)
The next best way to cut out carbohydrates is to reduce your fruit intake. Yes, fruit is delicious, but most fruit is full of fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar, and while it’s not chemically the same as sucrose (table sugar), your body can’t tell the difference; it all gets processed as glucose.
If you absolutely love fruit and can’t imagine giving it up, don’t worry. You don’t have to give it up completely – just reduce the amount you eat.
In case you need another reason to kick the carbs, studies show lower carbohydrate diets also increase weight loss success and boost heart health. Participants of a recent study who were on a low-carb diet saw slightly greater improvements in their levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
5. Take your vitamins.
The best source for vitamins is a healthy diet, but there are many reasons you might not get the nutrients you need from your food.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you’re probably not getting all the calcium you need. If you’re a vegetarian, you’re probably not getting all the iron you need. If you’re on blood thinners, you probably need to stay away from Vitamin K, which means you’re not getting other nutrients found in vegetables.
Taking vitamins will replenish your body’s mineral and vitamin stores, and help you maintain your health. Opt for a multi-vitamin that has vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and zinc.
I take Potassium, Iron, B supplement with Vitamin C, L-lysine, CO-Q10, Calcium with Vitamin D, and a multi-vitamin. The multi-vitamin is a good baseline for what I need bare minimum, but given my health problems (and weaker immune system), I need a little extra boost.
Ask your doctor before increasing too many supplements as many of them can interact with medications.
Yoga is amazing. A regular yoga practice builds your flexibility, improves your balance, and teaches you more about your body than you ever felt possible. There is slower and restorative yoga which can help you sleep; there’s energizing yoga which will help wake you up, and there’s everything in between.
Exercising daily is key to keeping your body healthy. Twenty minutes of exercise per day is enough to keep your body in good shape. Try mixing it up every couple days to keep it interesting. This will keep you from getting bored.
Go for a jog one day, a bike ride the next, and an impromptu dance party in your living room the next day to keep your exercise routine from boring you.
Consider tracking your exercise. When I got my FitBit I started exercising more regularly. The FitBit helps hold me accountable. Walking 5k-10k steps per day is a great place to start if you’re just getting used to exercising again. The FitBit will tell you exactly how much you’re walking.
Being healthy doesn’t have to be a struggle. Try implementing these 7 tips, and see how healthy you feel after a month. If you can keep it up for a month, these habits will become part of your lifestyle.