No matter what your health and wellness goals are, beginning with these five steps will give you the jumpstart you need to finally reach those goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Choose whole foods. A whole food is a food that has not been processed and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Whole foods are pure and come straight from the source; i.e. dirt, trees, and plants. Our bodies were designed to eat whole foods. Sometimes called living foods, whole foods are your best source for vital nutrients that your body needs to live and thrive. Start by incorporating meals made from whole foods a few days a week. These whole foods will begin to crowd out the artificial foods and you will feel the changes in your body, both mentally and physically.
2. Manage stress. Did you know that 80% of all doctors visits are for a stress related issue? Being intentional about dealing with stress will have a huge impact on your health. Begin exploring ways to lower your stress. This can look different for everyone, as everyone handles stress differently. For some, it might be as drastic as finding a less stressful job. For others it may mean incorporating walking, meditating or journaling into their daily routine. Find something that works for you and watch how quickly your health improves.
3. Prioritize sleep. By getting adequate sleep, (7-8 hours a night), you are protecting your mental and physical health, and quality of life. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep puts us at a higher risk for things like heart disease and stroke. It can also effect our daily lives by causing irritable moods and concentration problems. There are many factors that can contribute to your inability to sleep. Explore different techniques like avoiding blue light an hour before bed or taking a relaxing bath. Develop a good night time routine and see how how much this benefits your overall health.
4. Stay hydrated. It is no surprise how important drinking water is for your health. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body depends on water to survive and function properly. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces daily, but listen to your body as it will communicate its hydration needs.
5. Move your body. The more we move our bodies, the better we think and feel. When it comes to movement pick something that you enjoy doing. There is no single right way to move. Some people enjoy a leisure walk with their children after work, while others enjoy an early morning gym session or a group dance class. Finding what you enjoy will be the key to maintaining an exercise program. Try to incorporate 30 minutes of movement into your daily routine.
When implementing any type of lifestyle change it is good to consider the concept of bio-indiviuality. A major issue with health fads is that they take a one-size-fits-all approach. But as we learn more about the human body, we’re discovering that what is right for one person might not be what is right for another person. Each individual is unique, which means it is important to listen to your body and take an individualized approach.
If you are serious about setting some health goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle you may want to consider getting yourself some personalized care. Hiring a Health Coach, Dietician or Naturopathic Practitioner that can work along side your Doctor will greatly benefit you. This type of individualized care could be just what you need to finally change your health and ultimately change your life.