Do you struggle to juggle a healthy lifestyle? Are you wanting to make some healthy changes but don’t know where to start?
Changing habits can be overwhelming especially if you try to change too much too fast. The key to making changes that will last is to make small changes at a time.
Here are 5 easy steps that you can start today that will make a positive impact on your health.
Step 1: Get on a schedule for your meals and snacks
Getting on the right schedule can make a huge difference in how you feel throughout the day. This is the first thing I start working on with my clients.
Start by eating breakfast within 1-2 hours of waking up. Then try to eat lunch and dinner around the same time each day. If your meals are more than 4-5 hours a part, then add in a snack. Most people need a snack in the afternoon. Adding in the afternoon snack can help prevent overeating in the evenings.
Sticking to a schedule can help keep blood sugars stable, energy levels up and can play a part in managing emotional eating.
If you don’t already have a set schedule, start today.
Step 2: Improve your diet by making these changes:
- Eat protein and carbohydrates together for each meal and snack. Pairing protein with carbs will help keep blood sugars more stable and energy levels up. You don’t have to cut out carbohydrates to eat healthy. In fact, your body needs some carbohydrates and if you do not get in enough, you will feel fatigued. It is important to choose carbohydrates that are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Cut out added sugars. Read the labels and try to choose foods that have less than 5 grams of added sugars. Limiting added sugars can help with weight management, heart health, diabetes and is important for overall health.
- Drink more water. It sounds simple but it can make a huge impact on health. Drinking water (especially in place of sugary beverages) and staying hydrated can help improve energy levels, optimize metabolism, improve mood, improve gut health and supports joints. Go fill up your water bottle and get started drinking more water today.
Step 3: Make exercise a priority
Start by decreasing sedentary behaviors. Be aware of how often you are laying down or sitting. Try to get up and move around more. Using a smart watch can be a fun way to count steps and get you more active.
It is also important to do some planned physical activity (if able). This could be going for a walk, riding your bike, swimming, etc. Set weekly goals so that you are getting in planned physical activity every day. Ideally, aim for 60 minutes a day but keep in mind 15 minutes is better than nothing.
Exercise will help give you energy throughout the day and will help motivate you to make healthier choices. It’s also a great, healthy way to manage stress which leads to the next step.
Step 4: Manage stress in a healthy way
Stress can negatively affect health and it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress. It can affect hormones that affect metabolism and hunger. It can also affect sleep.
Some healthy ways to manage stress are exercise, reading, journaling, spending time with friends and family, and finding a hobby. My favorite way to handle stress is go for a walk while listening to a podcast. It helps clear my mind.
Step 5: Make getting enough sleep a priority
If you are constantly not getting enough sleep, this can eventually negatively impact your health. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep.
Some things that help with sleep:
✔Don’t exercise within 3 hours of going to bed
✔Don’t eat a large meal before bed
✔Drink chamomile tea before bed
✔Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime (I struggle with this one)
✔Have a regular bedtime routine
Making changes can be tough, but by focusing on small changes at a time, you can establish healthy habits that last.
Want to join an online community that can give you support and motivation to help implement these steps? Join my free Facebook group “Weight Loss Support with DF”. I share recipes, meal ideas and other nutrition tips.