We all want to be healthy; but what the hell is that anyway? With the saturated wellness market jargon aimed at women and hairless men with abs-of-steel it’s nearly impossible to filter out what works for real guys in real life. Here are a few things that you can do to make a big impact.
“Sitting is the new smoking”
Bostonians work a lot and most of us sit when we work. You may not be able to convince your boss to get you a new desk, but you can stand up and do a quick stretch. Need a reminder? Set one on your phone.
Not only do we sit a lot, but we have cars, public transportation, and let’s be honest Bostonians, pretty shitty weather a lot of the time. Download an app or grab a Fitbit and aim for 10,000 steps a day. Don’t get scared by the 10k goal, it’s just an arbitrary number, 3k is too low but if you get to 8,000 you are on your way to better health. Fresh air (which we still have) is good for you.
There are beverages that hydrate and beverages that don’t. If you make one dietary change today, drink more water and follow the 8 X 8 rule: 8 glasses of 8 ounces per day. You can also hydrate with seltzer, herbal tea, or by eating fruits and vegetables. To stay hydrated, avoid drinks that dehydrate, like coffee and alcohol. Not only do these dehydrate you, but they also have those calories and sugars that you don’t need to take in from your beverages (that’s what your food is for).
You need for about 7 hours of sleep to feel your best. Not only is getting the right amount of sleep healthy for you, but by making sleep a priority you can possibly avoid other behaviors that are not beneficial. To avoid late night eating or drinking, go to bed. To feel more awake and set yourself up for success- go to bed. Of all of the health trends in 2018, this one is sticking around- and for good reason- it works.
You may not be hungry and you may not think you have time. But do it.
My rule for my clients is that you must eat breakfast and that breakfast falls between the time you wake up and around 11. Be realistic- if you don’t own a pan, don’t plan on making yourself an omelet each morning. It’s ok to grab an RX bar and eat it on your way to work, or add some water to instant oatmeal while you are sitting at your desk scrolling through emails. And those Instagram photos of your personal trainer’s breakfast? Forget them, they are probably fake.
PLANTS; there is no way around this one. You don’t need to eat only vegetables and fruit, but include them whenever you can. Thanks to Wegman’s and the Copley Farmer’s market, you have a lot to choose from; it’s the colors of the vegetables and fruit that provide different nutrients- so experiment with color here even if you won’t with your wardrobe. Ideally, half of the food you take in throughout the day should come from plants. If you can hit that goal, you can pretty much eat whatever you want for the other 50%. Deal?
Don’t get scared- I’m not talking about a four-course meal; anything you make at home is going to be healthier than what you get at a restaurant. Start simple-scramble an egg, sauté a vegetable, or heat up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and add a salad. Go from there, who knows, you could have an inner top-chef in you…
Look in the mirror.
Be honest with yourself. See yourself for who you are now, not who you were in college. Write down what you eat and drink for 3 days, and then look at it. Look at it as if you are reading a stranger’s record and imagine how they feel and look. I guarantee some “a-ha” moments.
Do all of these things or do one of them. Your healthy life is based on small shifts, not grand overhauls. As I tell all my clients, it’s not about making the best choice, but rather the better one.
Originally published in BostonMag, Julie shares some of her tips for living healthier without doing much at all.