These 10 easy changes can be made in our lives to help us become a little healthier, without having to be obsessive or costing the earth. I have personally tried to implement all these things into my own life recently and I feel so much better for it!
1. Drink 2-3 litres of water per day
An obvious one but a very important one. Drinking a lot of water is proven to reduce your water weight as your body will know it has a sustained source of water and therefore won’t hold onto it! Fact! If you lose some water weight by doing this, not only will you feel slimmer, but it may be a step in the right direction and some motivation to sustain your weight or, carry on to reach your weight loss goals.
2. Always take the stairs
Easy, free and a good way to get some extra exercise into your day! Climbing stairs is a cardiovascular exercise, meaning it works your heart, lungs and circulatory system. It raises your heart rate and is great for toning your thighs, glutes and calves too!
3. Swap out potato for sweet potato a couple of times a week
Sweet potato. In my eyes the king of the vegetables and absolutely delicious. Not only low fat compared to a regular potato but full of amazing vitamins and minerals. A, C and E – antioxidants that are showing signs of preventing heart disease and cancer. They boost the immune system and have anti-ageing properties. Swapping this with your regular Marris Piper for mash, baked, or the topping of a shepard’s pie, you will gain all these amazing benefits.
4. Try to eat 1 portion of fruit or veg per meal at minimum
5 fruit and veg a day is the recommended daily amount. But why? Why stop just there, I believe you should eat as many portions as possible in you daily meals. Vegetables are so filling and low calorie if you’re trying to lose weight. For people that are new to eating fruit and veg and maybe only get 1 portion a day, start by increasing this by 1 or 2 portions and work up slowly. Trying to pack in loads of fruit and vegetables straight away is going to cause you too much change too quickly and is more likely that you will quit. Have porridge and add blueberries and strawberries for breakfast or a veggie omelette? A salad with peppers and a baked sweet potato on the side (done in the microwave for ease) for lunch or maybe a veggie stir fry with quinoa? A apple for a snack or a shake made with lots of different fruits and vegetables. Tea can be anything! Pack as many vegetables as you can possibly fit on your plate with a side of meat, preferably chicken or fish!
5. Think positive and try not to say negative things about others
How often have you thought about the negative things you think or say about someone else. No matter who they are or what they’ve done to you, everyone has their own private life that you don’t know about. They may be dealing with things that are making them act this way or perhaps you simply do not like this person. However, stop yourself from thinking negatively about them. Don’t bring negativity into your life, be positive and only care about your own path, do your own thing and flourish. If this person has wronged you in the past then don’t let them bother you, leave it in the past and look to a happier less negative future!
6. Cut down on your red meat intake
If you haven’t seen the Cowspiracy documentary I highly recommend you watch it! I recently watched it and could not believe the fact that cattle farming is accountable for 51% of all air pollution! It also takes 660 gallons of water to produce 1 burger. Yes, 1 burger!! Animal cruelty is also a huge issue. This is not the only reason why I believe red meat should be reduced and why I will be doing so, but also for health reasons. A compound found in red meat called carnitine has been found to cause the hardening or clogging of the arteries, according to a study published in the journal Nature Medicine. It is also higher in fat that leaner white meat and fish. A study from Harvard School of Public Health found an association with red meat consumption and increased risk of a shortened lifespan. By decreasing your intake of red meat each week you can reduce your risks of these and help the environment.
7. Swap back from low fat products to full fat
Now I know what you might be thinking and I thought the same when I was told that full fat products were actually healthier than their low fat substitutes. Studies have shown that those who drink whole milk are 46% less likely to develop diabetes than their low-fat counterparts. This may be due to them feeling more satisfied and less likely to binge out on sugar, but it is also true that none fat products such as butter substitutes and skimmed milk have been known to contain a higher sugar content, more carbs and trans-fats as well as other chemical nasties. Switch back, at least your body knows how to process fat, it doesn’t know how to process unnatural chemicals!
8. Get 6-8 hours of sleep per night
I love sleep, who doesn’t? So why do we find getting 6-8 hours of the stuff so hard? It must be the smart phones and the constant need to stay up to date with social media. That or Netflix! By getting enough sleep it allows your body to rest and repair for the next day, especially if your an avid gym goer! Aim to add an hour onto your sleep schedule for a few nights and slowly increase this until it becomes normal. You’ll feel more positive and energised the next day and will probably be more productive. Plus, no one can complain about getting to stay in bed for longer!
9. Cook 1-2 more home cooked meals each week
Cooking home cooked meals doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does wonders for your health. Swapping out ready meals for a home cooked one with wholesome foods means you know exactly what is going into your body! No additives or preservatives, no added salt or sugar. Start small, maybe one or two more dinners each week and build up confidence in the kitchen. Soon you’ll be coming up with your own recipes!
10. Compliment yourself and stop comparing yourself to others
Social media is a huge problem in terms of being able to scroll past pictures of perfectly edited bodies and faces. No wonder people compare themselves to others, I do it all the time! I can’t count the amount for fitness pages I follow, looking at all the amazing women’s toned figures. I find it hard to compliment myself but I am trying to get better at it! You are never going to be Gigi Hadid so why do we wish to be? Why don’t we just try and be the best version of ourselves? The most kind, caring, strongest and happy version of ourselves! If you start by complimenting yourself, doing random acts of kindness, smiling at others, oh…and maybe unfollowing some of those inspo accounts, you will feel so much better about yourself.
I hope these small changes can help some people to make the first steps to a healthier lifestyle! Don’t try do them all at once as it may be to much to keep track of but start with a few and go from there. Look forward to a more positive, healthier you!