Little tweaks to your life can go a long way. Here are 7 simple things you can do, starting today, that will make a big difference.
Image: Rusvaplauke via Flickr
No Sugar in Coffee
First off, start your day right. I think many of us don’t realize just how detrimental sugar is to our health. My husband and I didn’t about six months and a combined 30 pounds ago!
Like many other coffee drinkers around the world, I would add a lump or two of sugar to my coffee each morning, each afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. This being aside from all other forms of sugar consumption.
Do yourself an easy favor and a trip to the dentist and skip the sugar in the morning. It won’t take you as long as you think to begin to enjoy your coffee just the same or more without it!
Pack a Healthy Snack
A huge part of making healthy decisions is the ability to plan ahead. If it’s 3 pm and you’re sitting at your desk and your stomach doesn’t sound too happy about that empty feeling, you might be tempted to take a trip down the hall to the nearest vending machine.
And hey, if your body is telling you you’re hungry, you don’t need to ignore it. Just fill it with the rightfood that will leave your body better, not just a convenient hold-me-over. Before you leave for work in the morning, try packing 1 fruit and 1 low-sugar granola bar (aim for 6g of sugar!).
Drink a Lot of Water
Did you know that many times, when you have that empty grumbly feeling in your tummy, your body is actually craving water instead of food?? Water may not seem as appealing at the time, but take a couple swigs each time you start feeling the “hungry” feeling and see how you feel a few minutes later. This is another gray way to curb those afternoon hunger pangs.
Be sure not to substitute caffeinated beverages or sugary drinks for water. If you need a caffeine pick-me-up in the afternoon (as I do), be sure to follow up with a glass of water to keep hydrated! Caffeine will actually work to drain the water from your body giving it the opposite of what it’s asking you for!
Don’t Purchase Unhealthy Food
Again, making small, healthy choices throughout the day is 90% about planning ahead! A lot of people tell me that they have such a hard time resisting unhealthy food because it’s in their home and their kids and/or spouse eat it.
Hey, you’re no different than me! I’m not strong enough to resist a bag of chips or a late night chocolate indulgence if it’s waiting for me in my cupbard. That takes some mighty force of will right there! Healthy eating is all about what you bring home from the grocery store.
Make healthy choices a bit easier to make by eliminating the unhealthy options for the whole family. Don’t make yourself sit there in agony as you watch your family eat all the foods you wish you were eating. I don’t think anyone could last long under those circumstances!
Decide to be healthy as a family and make good choices at the grocery store and you will go far, my friend! And a tip: NEVER go grocery shopping hungry!
Plan Your Meals for the Day
Again, plan, plan, plan ahead! It’s so easy to make the less-healthy choice when we are tired, pressed for time, and haven’t thought of another (healthy) option.
Simply saying to yourself “For lunch I will eat X. For dinner I will make Y” is a great way to avoid last minute, quick decisions to just eat out because it’s 5:30 and your stomach is growling and you haven’t even thought about what you will make for dinner.
Check out this awesome, healthy crock pot recipe round-up for inspiration to get healthy meals planned before hunger and cravings kick in!
Have a Healthy Reward
Take a second and look up #cheatday on Instagram. In the first few photos you’ll see powdered donuts, dripping cheese burgers, and melting ice cream. Okay, let’s take a second to stop drooling…
I’m going to keep this nice and simple: someone once told me that just because you drop your cell phone on the ground, doesn’t mean you need to stomp on it! Same goes for a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating needs to be just that: a lifestyle.
But if/when we we give in to a little indulgence, make the next meal a healthy one and get back on track ASAP! Don’t spend the rest of your day giving in to every craving just because you had a donut at the office this morning!
Better yet, plan ahead with a healthy reward for yourself. An example of how I do this is a delicious glass of wine at the end of the day or a Fage Total 0 with raspberry to dip.
Talk About It
One of the best things you can do for healthy living is to have friends and family that have the same values! I once worked in a place where this was not the case, and it only helped me to create excuses for myself when I ate poorly.
Surrounding yourself with healthy friends will inspire you with new ideas to stay healthy and will hold you accountable. Ever have cheat days because you had friends come over who didn’t have the same eating habits? Well we can’t always avoid those days, but having health-minded friends sure makes those days easier.
Got any more easy health habits to share?! Share them in the comments!