Easy Lifestyle Changes to Achieve Physical Wellness
Hey guys! Thanks for checking out my sixth post in the How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle series. For the first time in years, I feel strong. My body doesn't feel brittle or achy or finicky like it has in the time since graduating from college. I can lift heavy things with ease, and I don't get out of breath easily. Since noticing the gradual physical changes in myself, I've been in complete wonder about how amazing the human body can be. It has so much more power and ability than I ever imagined. And that brings me to my point- too many of us have gotten used to feeling sluggish and weak as the new normal.
It's so easy to feel that way. It's more simple to just relax on the couch after work or eat a huge helping of that delicious, cheesy lasagna. I know. Like I said, even I felt physically "blah" until fairly recently when I started changing up my habits. Improving upon habits is really what it's all about. It won't matter much to your physical well-being if you convince yourself, only once, to exercise in the morning. Same with eating healthily- sandwiching two healthy dinners between fifty unhealthy ones won't really make a difference. And no gimmicky fad diets! It's about changing your long-term, day-to-day habits.
From my experience, here are some easy tips and recommendations to achieve physical wellness through healthier eating and fitness:
- Eat until you feel comfortable, not until you're full. It takes the brain about 20 minutes from when you begin eating to register that there's food in the stomach, so you'll keep thinking you're starving when really the brain just hasn't had time to process the meal yet. So don't shovel your food down! You'll be incredibly stuffed and have an unnecessary amount of calories in your body. Just take your time, and slowly enjoy the taste of your meal.
- Frozen grapes are an awesome alternative to normal dessert. Trust me, I'm quite the fan of cupcakes and donuts, but having one of those everyday just won't work for the average person wanting to stay in shape. I don't believe we should ignore our sweet tooth though- that's just setting ourselves up for failure. Instead, for those of you wanting to watch your diet, try freezing seedless grapes! There's nothing added to them, but the grapes taste like a fun, bite-sized sorbet.
- Drink lots of water and then drink even more. It's estimated that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Humans need a lot of water to keep their body functioning properly, and most people only drink a couple of cups per day. We need at least eight! When you have a headache or feel drained, it's most commonly due to dehydration. So what do you do if you're not a fan of the taste of water? Try flavoring it with things like lemon, mint, or cucumbers!
- Try almond milk instead of regular milk. If you're not sensitive to dairy (aka lactose intolerant), congratulations! You're basically the only person in the entire world who isn't. Sorry to put this out there, but if your stomach hurts or you have to go to the bathroom quickly after meals, you've got a problem. Notice if there's dairy in what you're eating/ drinking. More likely than not, you've been consuming milk all throughout your life and never considered that it could be the thing causing you discomfort. Try almond milk instead- Almond Breeze (original; unsweetened) is my recommendation. I use it in all recipes instead of regular milk, and it tastes delicious!
- Go to yoga. My boyfriend and I have been going to yoga two to three times per week, and that's been my main source of exercise lately. I know a lot of people who do yoga as cross-training when they're not jogging or biking though. Some of Stefan's guy friends have been making fun of him for going to yoga classes and make it seem like some effortless activity for weaklings. All I have to say is- go to Power Yoga, Vinyasa, or an Astanga class, and then come back to tell me you didn't sweat and your muscles didn't burn. Didn't think so! My body has felt more strong and powerful than ever because of yoga. I can do crazy stretches, headstands, and handstands that require core and arm strength that I never knew I could have. But the best part is the mental and physical rejuvenation you gain after going to class. My body feels free and bendy, and my mind got time to focus on nothing but the depth of my breath and the sensations of my body. Ommm.
- Eat out at restaurants less. This one makes me sad, but it's true. Restaurants pack our food with so much butter and salt that it's insane. Food tastes more delicious that way! But if you'd like to live healthier, cooking your own nutritious meals at home is the best option. This way, you can control what ingredients go into your dishes.
- Go for smaller portions. I know all of these tips sound so common sense, but you don't know how many people I hear complaining about their weight and then heap a gigantic dinner portion onto their plate. It really is simple. We have to be aware of what's going into our bodies. When I go out to dinner, for example, I know from the get go that I'm only going to eat half of what's on the plate. I'll literally half it, and enjoy that portion of the meal. The other half won't even be considered- it will go home with me as my lunch for the next day. Simple as that, and the same goes for when you cook at home. So if the "eat until you're comfortable" method is too relaxed for you, go for this half and half method!
- Find a physical activity that you love. Explore different fitness classes and try out a variety of workout methods to discover what works best for you. Decide if you like working out alone, in small groups, or with a large class. Do you prefer hardcore, bootcamp style workouts or sassy dance classes with Latin music? Would you rather sweat with cardio or build up muscle? Have fun exploring your options, and decide to make fitness a social event that will keep you wanting to go exercise!
When it comes to physical wellness, I've found that you just need to listen to what your body wants and needs. It is naturally intuitive and will tell you exactly what's best for it if you really listen deep down. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself. You can handle so much more than you give yourself credit for. You can learn to do handstands or splits or compete in triathlons or run a marathon. All that's necessary is putting in the day-to-day work by improving health habits and gradually getting better until you reach your physical wellness goal.
On that note, here's my physical wellness goal: I would like to run my first 5k before March 1st... and I'll work up from there. Now this may seem like a simple goal to all of you cardio fiends and marathon runners out there- but for me, it's big. I don't run, like ever. I've tried to jog a few times, and I think it's the worst thing on earth. BUT I just read an article about how people who run half marathons and full marathons make more money in business, because you build the similar skills needed for endurance running as you do in entrepreneurship. So I'm going to see if I have what it takes to become a runner- a huge personal challenge if I say so myself! :)
What habits do you need to change in order to improve your physical wellness? Do you have any other tips for us? Please share in the comments below!
Have a great rest of the week,