Health Challenges and Changes for the Non-Extremeists

For those of you who are much like me, aka not a crash dieter, but still want to improve and make changes that will help you look and feel your best (and what better time to start than the New Year?), I have a few ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a full believer in the Whole 30 (my sister’s before and after pictures on that are still a token of inspiration amongst my friends), Paleo Diet, marathons and all other forms of hardcore commitments in dieting and exercise… but for me, I have a hard time depriving myself completely, or not approaching a workout with a essence of balance. I have literally thrown out muscles from going to “all in” on a workout before I was ready AND have had withdrawals from carbs including headaches. (And I have one friend experience this phenomenon: Keto Flu.)

So to avoid any sort of odd ups and downs that I frankly end up doing the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve, I try to commit to the balanced route because I know ultimately, I will never give up carbs completely (and I wouldn’t want to be introduced to them after not having them for a while and then have a whole other slew of issues). Nor, will I ever commit to a workout that doesn’t ultimately make me feel good or happy doing it. Gone are my days of competitive dancing and dreams of being an Olympic something. So, it’s important to make it fun, effective, and safe.

Anyway, for those of you who these last few paragraphs make total and complete sense to, I’m with ya sister (brother), and I have some great inspiration, tips, and ideas to share that I try to do on the reg that keep me feeling balanced and well- without any sort of complete, overwhelming revamp.

Just be mindful of these rules and little by little, they become daily habits instead of resolutions or goals. Start small for the big picture people! Check them out…

Take Vitamins:

I’m a believer and committer on this front. I don’t think I ever mentioned it on here before, but I had my gall bladder removed when I was 24 (long, annoying, mysterious story that I can dub as the top 3 lows of my 20s, only after losing my grandparents). Obviously an organ doesn’t come out with some sort of repercussions and though it was been a weird experience to say the least (and the reason I completely stay away from cocktails- can’t hang!), it has given me incentive to really buckle down on taking supplements and vitamins that are good for me, so therein lies the silver lining.

I take psyllium fiber (a prebiotic) and probiotics everyday… and they help a lot! Just have to drink a lot of water with ’em. I also take fish oil supplements and I swear by the positive affects it has on my complexion, as well as calcium (with Vitamin D), and a women’s multi vitamin. Additionally, I use magnesium as a mood booster. I’m prone to anxiety and this definitely helps during those down in the dumps moments. Ashwaganda herbs are also another option on that front too!

Stretching:

It really makes the difference on those muscles. Anytime I’m sore, I stretch it out and magically, feel just a little bit better. I dream of one day being one of those Gumby-esque humans who should have been recruited by Barnum for their contortionist skills because that seems like it would be so liberating to just be so bendy (ha and if you thought of Phoebe Buffet when you read that then you are my spirit animal). Though, I’m fairly certain my body will not be able to achieve such wonders ever (oh well!), making the time to stretch it out and allow my body to move towards feeling more limber really makes me feel in tune with it more.

Cut Sugar:

If you want the cookie eat it. But just not every day. Pick and choose which sugary treats that you are willing to eat and only have them maybe a couple times a week. Of course certain times of year (holidays…) this is not viable, but I love anything chocolate/cookie related so that’s what I will choose over a candy bar. And once you decide what’s worth the risk and then resolving to have less of it. Then watch the pounds will slide off. Sugar is a chubby-maker, I’m sure of it! And be conscious of drinks with sugar in them too! Those things will really get ya!

Try Eating Carbs for Only One Meal:

Like I said, taking carbs completely off the table is a no-go but enjoying them with a meal per day will satisfy that craving and will allow you to pick and choose when you can enjoy them. For the other meals think greens and proteins, quinoa, and soups! My hacks for no-bread dinners are creamy soups (use potatoes in it instead of cream and emulsify), pimped out salads or bowls full of flavorful protein (burrito bowls or a deconstructed sandwich salad), zoodles with sauce, or stuffed bell peppers!

Commit to One New Class a Week

I mean the whole “I’m going to start doing yoga 4 times a week” sounds great but a little aggressive if you are trying to introduce it into your world. So making an effort to do a class of your choosing a week. It really allows you to have a happy introduction into whatever workout you are committing to and realistically decide if you can up your game on it for the long haul.

Commit to One New Healthy Recipe a Week

Try it out and make enough for leftovers and though you might get a tad sick of it, you will save money, learn something new, and eat a bit healthier than you otherwise would have. Not only that, you can regulate the “bad” things that you put in your version of chili, or crock pot fajitas, or whatever it is that makes your little heart sing for lunch/dinner.

Bring Lunch to Work

I never indulge as much when I bring lunch to work and I end up feeling about a million times more rejuvenated throughout the day because more often than not, whatever I make is not greasy or packed with mysterious ingredients that make me over eat and feel lethargic.

Making Sure to Moisturize

Serums, moisturizers, and SPF are your friend. So give your skin a drink each day and DON’T skip. It really is one of the main secrets to looking young. Do it!

Sprucing Up Your Water

Hydrating, as we all know, is super important but sometimes gulping down plain water can be hard when you really crave a flavor. So by adding lemons, mint, berries, or whatever else that tickles your fancy, to your water gives you the extra boost (and vitamins) needed to make the most of your H2o consumption!

Committing to Colorful Food

The brighter your plate, the more nutrients and the healthier it is so make an effort to add at least one vibrant color to every meal and that’ll be a nice rule of thumb to follow when trying to make your dishes healthier.

Pick a Learning Hobby:

Reading (hi Book Club!), Sudoku, downloading Duolingo, trying to learn a new vocab word a week… it’s all good for your brain! And it’s important to not forget about the organ known as your noggin either! Doing something that challenges you and keeps your mind on its toes is good. I got into Lumosity a few years ago and I love it.

Spice Up Your Life!

Cinnamon, turmeric, ginger… all these little seasonings and flavors are actually really good for your system. So add them to your food, your drinks, your tea, your coffee, or even in supplement form and enjoy the amazing benefits.

Dry Brush:

I love dry brushing and the concept behind it! It makes your skin so much better as it helps exfoliate dead skin cells but it also gets your lymphatic system moving to help flush out the toxins which is very important for your overall health. I’m a fan, try it out! I use this one.

Sweat It Out:

….in a sauna! I LOVE being drenched in sweat and visualizing all my problems, stresses, and anxieties literally leaving my body. It actually brings me joy… and calmness… and for that, this is one of my favorite “me time” things I do. And I feel GREAT every time. Just HYDRATE afterwards!

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