Monday, September 10, 2012

10 Simple Changes to Be Healthy

Why must I change, you ask.  Well, of course you don't have to, but you'd be surprised how our everyday decisions affect our health and wellness. The choices we make day-to-day especially affect how we live 10, 20, 30 years from now. And, me? I want to be a rockstar when I'm 70, so I'm getting on it as quick as I can!

My ultimate goal is to help others feel better, look better, keep their priorities in line, save time, prevent stress and be less anxious. Please know I'm trying to walk this walk, myself, just sharing what I learn as I learn it.

Here are 10 relatively easy changes you can make to your lifestyle that will greatly increase your energy, your mood and overall health.



1. Take the road less traveled.

I'm sure you've heard it 100 times, but if you still take the elevator every chance you get, you're missing out. Take the stairs. Walk to lunch. Park a little further away from the entrance. Actually climb the stairs on the escalator. Take a break from your day job and walk around the office. You won't have to spend two hours at the gym because you won't feel like a complete lazy bum.

2. Cut back on the bubbly.

Try to limit your intake of any carbonated beverages. While I get a good craving for a Diet Dr Pepper every now and then, I've seen an outstanding improvement in the way I feel after cutting back on carbonation within the last couple of months. I used to drink 1-2 carbonated beverages a day — whether it was a diet soda or a flavored water. After substituting those choices with iced tea, regular water or flavored water minus the bubbles, I feel less bloated all day. Plus, my thirst is actually quenched.

Try some of my favorites:
  • Minute Maid Lemonade and Peach Juice (Only 15 Calories)
  • Crystal Light (and store-brand) Sugar Free Bottle Mixers (Peach Mango Energy Blend is my fave)
  • White Peach Tea from QuikTrip gas station (I probably get one every other day)
  • Vitamin Water Zero
  • SoBe Water (sugar-free versions)
  • Diet OceanSpray juice (Pomegranate Bluebbery and Cran-Grape are awesome)
3. Stretch throughout the day.

Stretching is probably one of the hardest things for me to actually implement into my daily routine. I'm like, I don't have time for this! But, I have to make time. Do a few "reach-and-pull's" when you wake up. Touch your toes and swing your arms. Get loose before taking on your day.

As you go about your normal schedule, try to stop every couple hours and stretch. A neck roll here, a calf stretch there. You might not feel like Superman after you stretch, but studies show it greatly reduces your risk of injury before and after exercise. And, stretching without exercising still elongates your muscles and improves your flexibility and balance.

4. Read rather than watch before bed.

One of the best decisions my husband ever made for us was choosing not to buy a TV for our bedroom. He says, "The bedroom is only for two things, and one of those things is for sleep."

Both of us value our sleep very much. That being said, we're usually so tired by bedtime, we don't have a problem with falling asleep. However, I know from experience of leaving the TV on in my room in college and when I lived with my parents, I missed out on a lot of good sleep. Research suggests that watching TV or even a lit-up screen like your computer, tablet or smart phone, can prevent you from getting as much rest as you might without it.

Now, I'm a huge fan of a late-night movie, so don't get your panties in a wad. All I'm saying is try not to make it the last activity you do before falling asleep. Whether you read a little in your Bible, a magazine, a good book, or even if you do a few stretches ;) before bed, it will be better for your body and mind than watching TV.

5. Sport some sweet shades.

Who knew swag like sunglasses served a purpose other than making you look like a celebrity? Believe it or not, many people actually wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun — not just to look cool. Know that you can do both. Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. They also prevent you from squinting, thus preventing wrinkles. So, when you're out and about, and even exercising outside, don't forget your shades!

6. Lather up with lotion.

All my friends and family know some sweet-smelling body lotion is a safe choice for a gift. Why? Because I love it! A good body lotion keeps your skin soft, smooth and smelling delicious all day. Not only will your skin look better if you use lotion on a daily basis, you'll feel better because you smell better. Confidence is sexy, people.

When choosing lotion, I have a few different kinds I try to keep in my bathroom cabinet.
  • Something basic with SPF in it (Suave is cheap and comes in bulk)
  • Something with aloe, Vitamin E, shea butter and antioxidants (Burt's Bees)
  • Something that just smells good (Can you say Bath & Body Works?)
  • Something sparkly or bronzey — only for women, of course (Victoria's Secret)
By the way, if you want a cheaper version, you can find all of these varieties at your local supermarket.

7. Fix yourself fresh foods.

I've explained what it means to eat clean before, but ultimately, it means to eat mostly raw and unprocessed foods. When shopping, go to the produce first. I find that when I start at the back of the store and wait to get to the produce last, I don't have room (or money) left to get all that I need out of the fresh foods section. If I go there first, I can load up on clean foods and leave less room in my buggy for the stuff in boxes, bags and cans.

Here are some of my favorite clean foods:
  • broccoli
  • baby spinach
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • baking potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • squash
  • onions
  • hummus*
  • yogurt*
  • berries
  • pineapple
  • oranges
  • apples
  • bananas
  • almonds
  • granola*
  • oats*
  • avocados
  • beans
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • feta cheese*
  • chicken breast*
  • tuna fish*
*Signifies that it can be purchased organically, low-fat, fat-free or sugar-free, and although it's been slightly processed, it's still a good choice.

8. Pack your lunch.

Now that your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy foods, eat them. Don't let your fruit rot. Take it to work to eat for lunch. You'll ultimately save time by bringing your lunch to work. Think about how long it takes you to either walk to the restaurant or to your car, drive there, fight traffic, stand in line, scarf it down, and then, drive or walk back, park and come back inside your office. When I bring my own healthy lunch, I have time to write a blog post (like this), read my book, run around town here when the weather's nice (getting my exercise in), call my mom, or my favorite lunchtime activity, take a nap.

9. Close your eyes and pray.

Nothing is more refreshing than getting a good conversation in with God. Taking time out of your day to clear your mind and get away from distractions is healthy by itself. How much more can you get out of doing those things, and then opening up to the Lord in prayer? A lot!

When you pray, worship him for your health. Thank him for your body and giving you the responsibility to take care of it. Honor him by doing just that. Staying in constant conversation with the Lord is vital to staying spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically fit.

10. Bless somebody else every day.

One of my favorite ways to lift my own spirit is to try to lift someone else's. When I went off to college, I had a really hard time breaking away from my family and boyfriend. I used to get depressed and stay in my cave/dorm room until my mom finally got through to me with her words of encouragement.

"When you feel like that, Amber, think about how you can bless someone else. Take your focus off yourself, and think about how you can bring joy to someone else's life," she said.

I've kept that tidbit of wisdom with me from then on. You never know how much a smile can mean to someone. Here are some ideas anyone can easily do to bring a smile to someone else's face:
  • Leave a note on someone's car in the parking lot
  • Open a door for someone and greet them
  • Ask a co-worker if there's anything you could help them with today
  • Extravagantly compliment someone
  • Call a friend who you haven't talked to in a while just to say "hi"
  • Write on someone's Facebook wall just to say you were thinking of them
  • Offer to do a chore you normally don't do for your spouse
  • Buy a little $3-5 gift for your neighbor or someone at your gym or office
  • Pay for someone else's lunch
  • Pay for the car next to you at Sonic or behind you at the drive-through
  • Tweet something nice about one of your followers and tag them in it
I hope these 10 easy lifestyle changes will enhance your mood, health and overall wellness. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments. :)

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I just took a peek at your blog. Love your designs. I've done a little invitation and business card/promo items work on the side. Fun stuff! You'll have to let me know when your new site is up, and I'll give you a shout-out! ;)

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  2. Love this!! I just decided today to work on eating healthier and being more active so this was a great boost of affirmation! Blessings <3

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    Replies
    1. I'm so happy to hear that! Isn't God good? :) I wish you all the best! Thanks for reading!

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  3. its a superb blog
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    ReplyDelete
  4. You should check out a book called “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.” It’s all about the chemicals that are in our cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, lotions, perfumes, etc. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, fertility issues, endocrine issues, and more. The Dallas library has the book.

    The Environmental Working Group has put together a massive online database of personal care products rated by how safe their ingredients are. You will be shocked at what you find when you start typing in the names of the products you use – I sure was! http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/#

    There are so many chemicals in our environment that we can’t control, but, for the most part, what we rub/dab/spray onto our bodies is up to us! I have found that coconut oil makes a great skin moisturizer. You just have to use a small amount and rub it in really well... otherwise you'll be oily.

    Also, the healthiness of low-fat and fat-free dairy is debatable. I’ve read articles that say it can be linked to fertility issues, while eating a diet that includes full-fat dairy can improve fertility. Just something to think about.

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  5. Thanks for your feedback, Lauren. You bring up many valid points. I agree with you to a certain extent.

    I've been recently trying out using olive oil and Vaseline on my skin, and I truly enjoy them. As far as the other products go, I'm still going to use them because I believe moderation is key. Plus, I'll just bless them in the name of Jesus, and trust God's protection over me. I just like to pick a nice-smelling, easy-to-use lotion off the shelves every now and then.

    For me, a low-fat diet has been very beneficial. Honestly, I don't think we are meant to drink the full fat milk and other dairy products. I actually believe that's one of the causes of lactose intolerance. I'll be the first to tell you that I have no hard evidence to support that — only several friends and family who this has been linked to. Nuts and fish are my two big sources of the "good fats," and it's worked out for me so far. :)

    I truly appreciate your feedback though, and I think it's very interesting. Thanks for stopping by and reading and sharing.

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