5 Ways to be healthier NOW

For some reason, people have the mentality of, "If I can't go all in, it's not worth it."  But what the mentality of, "To get anywhere you have to take the first step"??  Who says you have to do it all HARDCORE or it won't work??

I put together a list that for most of you will seem like "duh" tasks... but are you doing them?  If you're considering making a change in your life--including losing weight--here are some things you can do right NOW to get started.

1.  Drink water.

I know, how no brainer is this??  But are you drinking enough water every day?  I mean plain water (not soda, which you may tell yourself kinda sorta contains water...)!  You should drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  So that means if you weigh 200 lbs you should drink 100 oz of water at a minimum each day.

Water is excellent for digestion, boosting metabolism, clearing up your skin and clearing your mind.  Without enough of the stuff, you might find yourself with headaches, fatigue and unneccessary cravings for sodas and sugary foods you definitely don't need.
TIP:  Infuse your water.  If you don’t have a water infuser ball, you can purchase one on Amazon or just add fruit to a pitcher, allow to infuse in the fridge for a couple hours and strain as you pour.  You can also freeze fruit into your ice cubes (just drop a few blueberries or mango pieces into the ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze) for a hint of flavor while keeping your drink cold.

2.  Walk.

This could mean the obvious... just head out your door with your favorite sneakers on and walk.  Go enjoy the scenery!  Plug in your headphones and listen to your favorite podcast while you scope out the neighborhood.  Or use a treadmill and add in an incline.  But for some, it's as simple as parking farther away and walking to the door to the office, or grocery store.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walking is pretty low impact and needs no equipment at all other than the shoes you already have on your feet.  It's cheap and incorporates almost every muscle in your body.
TIP:  Add in strength training twice a week to ensure your muscles are strong and able to properly carry your body every day.  This means bodyweight training (yoga, planks, squats) as well as actual weight training (even 3 lb weights to start will help you rebuild your muscle, which will make you leaner and help you keep active).  You can find free videos on YouTube to get you started.

3.  Clean out your pantry.

You know all those boxes of Hamburger Helper in your cupboard?  Toss them, along with any other highly processed or boxed foods.  You don't need them.  Cooking from scratch, using fresh ingredients, doesn't take much longer and is SO much healthier for you.  Use websites like 100daysofrealfood.com to help you cut out the processed and switch to whole grains and fresh, real ingredients.  After you’ve done the pantry purge, remember when you go grocery shopping to be conscious of what’s going back into your home.  Stay away from the foods that don’t properly fuel your body—you just don’t need them.
TIP:  Use a website like Allrecipes.com to help you use what is already in your pantry to plan meals.  You can do an ingredient search to help you find new recipes.  When you meal plan, it’s always best to shop your pantry first!

4.  Eat correct portions and times per day.

For some, this means eating more often.  Three meals a day plus two snacks.  Every day.  The idea is to eat smaller portions more often to keep your metabolism revving.  Choose fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins, spreading them out throughout the day.
If you’re trying to lose weight, or keep blood sugar in check, cut out ALL white starch carbs, like potatoes, white rice and white bread.  They go through your body very quickly, causing your blood sugar to spike and your hunger to return before it should.  Choose instead more complex carbs like brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa and steel cut oats, which take longer to digest and therefore will keep your blood sugar more even and will keep you fuller longer.
TIP:  visit http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate to learn about portion sizes.  The site uses pictures of items you have around the house to give you a better feel for what you’re supposed to eat.  Specific meal and diet plans will vary in their ideas of servings, but this website gives you a wonderful start.

5.  Find an accountability partner.

Find someone who's also wanting to get their health on track and join forces!  Create meal plans together, go for walks together, talk about the challenges you face and celebrate each other's successes!  Research shows we do better with ANYTHING with accountability and partners, so why not find a friend or family member to keep you going?

With these 5 steps you should find yourself feeling better, having more energy and losing weight, after just a couple weeks.  Being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, and it doesn’t have to be a huge change in your life.  Work in steps toward small goals and you’ll have great success while you work toward the bigger goals!  For more information on getting healthier, finding accountability or becoming a health coach yourself, please contact Coach Shannon at shannonambroson@gmail.com.

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