We all know we should be eating healthier, exercising regularly, and even meditating, but it can be easy to become so overwhelmed by where to start that we just don't do anything. Sound familiar?
As humans we tend to overcomplicate things, but health doesn't have to be one of them!
By taking daily simple steps towards building your health you'll see these changes start to add up and make a difference over time, no overwhelm necessary!
Small steps to implement to become a healthier you
Add greens to atleast one meal every day
Green plant foods are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Being highly alkaline, they help the body maintain homeostasis which can result in higher energy levels, decreased inflammation, improved digestion, weight loss, and better cognitive function.
Greens are also a great source of fiber which feed our gut bugs, stabilize blood sugar, and keep us satiated and regular.
Examples of greens include kale, chard, collard, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and wheatgrass.
Including atleast one green vegetable daily is a simple way to shift your diet while receiving massive benefits.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast
Are you a breakfast skipper?
If so, you might want to re-think your morning!
Fasting has become the latest health trend, and though beneficial, longer and more restrictive fasts are not ideal for everyone. As a result more people are now skipping breakfast or solely opting for a coffee instead.
Skipping breakfast and eating later during the day has been shown to be associated with impaired blood sugar and insulin response, increased markers of inflammation and cholesterol, and even weight gain (1)(2)(3).
Eating larger meals during the earlier hours of the day can help to benefit the body in many ways such as regulating the circadian rhythm, and improving digestive function and weight loss compared to late night eating.
Fasting earlier in the evening may be a better choice for many people in order to give their digestive system a break when it is not at its optimal performance while shifting the body to its natural rhythm.
But regardless of whether you choose to fast or not, what you choose to break your overnight fast with makes all the difference.
After a night of fasting we need to ensure we are not spiking our blood sugar right away and increasing the stress response. What we choose to start our day with will set us up for the entire rest of the day. And don't you want to start your day feeling energized and ready to go?
Skip the coffee or muffin and opt instead for a blood sugar stabilizing meal that will keep your energy going for hours. This could look like overnight oats, chia pudding, an omelet, or a balanced smoothie. A balanced meal combines all 3 macronutrients on your plate which include fat, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
Need more ideas for a healthy breakfast? Click here.
Go to bed 5 minutes earlier
We all know we should probably be heading to bed earlier but it can be mighty hard to do so with Netflix and instagram at our fingertips.
An earlier bedtime can mean a more restful sleep but it can also help to regulate your circadian rhythm.
What does this mean for your health? Improved energy, better focus, a more positive mood, and even a decreased risk for chronic diseases are all benefits you can experience from a regulated circadian rhythm.
Later bedtimes can delay melatonin production due to increased light exposure later in the evening (4).
The more our sleep and wake times are synced to the sun's, the better!
What can you do? Set an alarm to be in bed 5 minutes earlier than your usual time, and increase from there. A bedtime routine can help you to establish a routine that helps you to fall asleep more easily and in less time.
Try one new vegetable every week
Not a fan of vegetables? Got a family of picky eaters?
Make it a game! Pick 1 new or familiar vegetable to include into your meal every week. Look up a delicious recipe you can create that inspires you as this will also make it more motivating and fun to include vegetables in your meals.
Remember, Rome wasn't build in a day, keep it simple and you'll be more likely to stick to it.
Move your body everyday
No, you don't have to go to the gym everyday, but in order to be healthy our bodies do need to move every day!
This can seem intimidating for some, but again, it doesn't have to be complicated.
Get outside for a walk, go for a quick run, do a yoga workout, dance around your bedroom, lift some weights, go for a swim, take a bike ride... the most important factor that will determine whether or not you stick to regular movement consistently is that you enjoy it!
Schedule your movement, grab a buddy, buy some cute workout gear, do whatever it takes to get you motivated and committed to keep showing up.
Keep your phone out of the bedroom
We've spoken about the detrimental effects of electronics on our mental and physical health before, and one of these effects includes impaired sleep quality.
Most of us start our day by scrolling on social media or checking our messages. And it doesn't end until we hit the pillow late at night.
While this behavior may seem without consequences, the effects can add up and impact us more than we may realize (5).
There is more and mored evidence tying the persistent use of social media and increased screen time with a greater likelihood of depression and anxiety (6)(7).
In addition, exposure to artificial light from electronics can prolong the time it takes to fall asleep and also impair sleep quality due to the delayed secretion of melatonin (8).
By leaving the phone out of the bedroom you may find yourself experiencing better quality sleep, feeling more energized upon waking, and improving your mood and outlook for the day. Go ahead, give it a try!
About the Author
Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also holds a degree in Creative Writing and has extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. Laurence's mission is to inspire and motivate individuals to take control of their own health and reach their ultimate health goals.