As a dietitian, I am always asked things like…”what is the best food on earth?” or “what is the best advice you can give me for_______?” People always want a quick answer or a limited focus. The truth is that you really do better when they only have one or two things to focus on. If you focus on too many things at once, you may find yourself overwhelmed. When you are overwhelmed, your brain has a hard time grasping change and you find it very difficult to make any of the changes you are going over in your mind. Here is a list of my top 7 ways to live healthier. Your instructions are to pick 1, and only 1, each day for the next 7 days, and then just see what happens.
1. Get more sleep. Lack of sleep causes many problems including memory loss, inability to concentrate, and rapid aging. Tonight, try to increase your sleeping time by going to bed 15 minutes earlier. Ideally you want to get at least 7 hours rest each night, but depending on where you are now, work your way up to it.
2. Exercise. You know you should do it, but it can be overwhelming to figure out a routine or how to fit it in most days of the week (which is what they tell you). So my advice for those of you not exercising today, that is the day you pick number 2, is to go outside and walk 10 minutes away from your house, and 10 minutes back to your house. If you are already exercising and you pick number 2, my advice is to do a different exercise than you usually do, just try something new for 10 minutes today. It will break up the boredom and continue to help with your goals.
3. Pick 5 cups of fruits and vegetables to eat. Try to choose fresh or frozen varieties and try for different colors. The five colors are red, orange, green, blue/purple, or white. Yes, white fruits and veggies are worth it!
4. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, or too full. Think of your hunger on a scale of 1-10, 1 being ravenous and 10 being extremely stuffed. Aim for a range of 3-7. 3 represents feeling slightly hungry, and 7 represents being satisfied, not stuffed. Work on listening to your hunger and trust those cues to help you be at your happy weight. Depending on your hunger cues you will probably find yourself eating 4-6 times a day if you are listening to your body.
5. Eat breakfast. Ideally you should include some protein like an egg, ham, a slice of cheese, some nuts or nut butter. But, something is always better than nothing. Breakfast should be within 1 hour of waking up to help rev up your metabolism for the day.
6. Drink 64 oz (4-16 oz bottles of water daily) of PURE WATER. This is about 2 liters for all of my Irish followers. Pure water simply means no flavors added, even if they are 0 Calorie ones. Flavored water just isn’t the same.
7. Spend some time reading your Bible. Even 5 minutes a day is better than none. The Lord wants you to take care of yourself for his work. “Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth;meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9.
OK so now you have had 1 day to try each of my tips and the week is done. Consider you week, did you feel better? Which tips really made a difference for you? Did concentrating on one thing each day seem much easier than trying to tackle many things? Do it again next week and again the following week. By the end of the summer I bet most of these challenges you thought you would only be doing for a day have now become habits. And so…How much better do you feel?