It’s never too late to make a New Year’s resolution, or simply to strive to live just that much healthier for the rest of the year. Whether you are looking at the holidays in the rear view mirror or you see that they are fast approaching again, making just a few changes to your daily habits of eating and activity can make the rest of your year feel better. You can have more energy, more enthusiasm, and better health if you follow these five simple steps:
Say no to junk food.
You know what junk food is, and you know that your body doesn’t need it. Sugar. Salt. Processed foods. Avoid these things and you will feel better. Try it: go 10 days without eating any added sugar and see how much better you feel.
Studies have found that people who are regular soda drinkers can easily lose 5-10 pounds in a few months by doing nothing except cutting out the soda. Similar results can be had by cutting out chocolate, ice cream, and other sweet treats.
Yes, we know – saying no to junk food is tough. If you are a junk food junkie, start with these simple tricks: Have a piece of fruit immediately after a meal to curb your sweet tooth, allow yourself one individually wrapped dark chocolate each day (it’s tasty and full of anti-oxidants), and treat yourself to a reasonably sized dessert that you love once a week.
Include natural herbs in your diet for a healthy living.
Speaking of eating better, adding healthful, natural herbs to your diet can be an important part of living better. You can get a lot of good herbs in your diet simply by cooking at home or by drinking smoothies that combine fruits, veggies and herbs. Among the most healthful herbs are: cilantro (high in Vitamin K), cinnamon (lowers blood sugar and cholesterol), ginger and mint (helps with nausea and digestion), ginseng (helps with blood sugar and immunity), nutmeg and garlic (for immune support). Worried that you can’t get enough herbs into your diet or that some, like garlic, might give you bad breath – try bulk supplements to get your herbs in each day.
Exercise your way.
We all know that exercise keeps us fit, inside and out. But for some people it is just so boring. Find something that you enjoy and make that your workout. Love the gym? Great, go for it. But you can also take the dog for a walk, go kayaking, take your child on a nature hike, walk your child to school each day, take a dance class, or have a 20 minute family dance session at home each night after dinner.
Adopt stress buster activities to be happy and healthy.
Stress happens to all of us, but too much stress depletes your immune system, causes you to look older, damagers your heart, makes you irritable, and more! You need to learn to manage your stress. A great way to manage your stress is to treat yourself to an activity that you love every day, or at least every week.
Maybe once a week you go to your favorite ceramics painting store. Or work in your garden for an hour after work each day. Or play a video game with your child… family movie night, watching baseball – whatever helps you to relax and unwind. Do it. Every day if you can, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Every week at the very least, but then you have to do at least an hour. *grin*
Adopt the golden rule – Early to bed and early to rise.
The one thing that people underestimate the most in their health regime is sleep. It is imperative that you get enough sleep each night, which for many people means trying to go to bed just a little bit earlier. But, it is also important that you not try to “make up” your sleep by sleeping in too late. Studies show that people should strive to keep their sleep and wake time consistent each day, not varying by more than two hours in either direction. So if you wake up at 7am for work each day, get up on the weekends by 9am.
How much is the right amount of sleep? Anywhere between 6 and 9 hours is the average, but it varies for each person. Figure out your optimal sleep this way: Go to bed at the same time each night for a week and see what time you naturally wake up. Right it down. Count how many hours sleep you got each night, then average it. This is a good number to use as a goal.
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