Before I became a health counselor, I thought I had a pretty good handle on my wellness because I exercised regularly and ate pretty well (or so I thought). Two things I did that greatly improved my wellness are 1) overcame my sugar addiction (sweets and other simple carbs) and 2) eating more greens. Overall, my energy increased, I trimmed down around the middle, my skin improved, and I don’t crave sugar anymore!
Here are ten things you can do to improve your wellness.
- Stop dieting – While we can lose weight on a fad diet, it isn’t without a cost. Every time we force ourselves to lose weight, our bodies hold on to extra weight to protect itself from a perceived famine. So you may initially lose 8 pounds, but you’re going to gain back 13. It’s that roller coaster of weight on, weight off, more weight on.
Instead, Add-in – Try adding in the good stuff to your menu. This is the best strategy for losing weight. At first, don’t eliminate, just add in more plant-based foods: like dark, leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes. Eventually, the right types of foods will crowd out the unhealthy stuff. Since you’ll notice a positive change in how you feel (much better!) you won’t want the bad stuff.
- Eat more living foods and less ‘dead’ foods. This means plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, organic free-range eggs, naturally reared animals (if you eat meat), herbs. Get rid of the highly processed, packaged, ready-made meals that contain artificial preservatives and chemicals.
- Dust off your blender. Smoothies are a great way to get vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in an instant meal. This is a great way to deliver those nutrients directly to the cells of your body!
- Eat the healthy fats. Did you know your body needs fat from your diet? Good fats are essential for the absorption of most nutrients and for hormone production. The healthy fats are found in extra virgin olive oil, avocados, wild-caught fish, grass fed meats, organic eggs, coconut oil. Avoiding commercially baked cookies, potato chips, mayonnaise, salad dressing, deep fried foods, and margarine spreads is wise because these are loaded with unhealthy fats.
- Start with salad. Before your main meal of the day (lunch and/or dinner) start with a big, dark-green leafy salad. When you start with a salad, you'll fill-up on nutrient-rich plant foods, leaving less room for over-indulging on the rest of the meal.
- Stop the sugar insanity! Too much sugar and refined carbohydrates (such white bread, cookies, cakes, donuts, muffins, bagels, white pasta, white rice) negatively impact your blood sugar by making it spike and then drop below normal levels. This not only causes moodiness, headaches, and food cravings, but it sets you up for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. They’re NOT good for you!
Instead – choose vegetables and low-sugar fruits (pears, berries, avocados, grapefruit are some) and whole grains and natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup) – use all sweeteners sparingly.
- Drink. More. Water. Water is essential to absorbing nutrients, eliminating waste, and carrying out all cellular activity and actions necessary for life! Without water, your body will become dehydrated and will be unable to get rid of toxins. Water is a tremendous source of life. Drink clean, filtered water throughout the day.
- You need more ZZZZs. Get to bed early, darken your room, turn off electronics (all of them),get comfortable, and take some deep breaths. Have a routine – go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.
- The ‘E’ Word: Exercise. There are so many benefits to physical activity: stress reduction, reduce/maintaining body weight, improved digestion, improved wellness, and more! Find an activity you enjoy and keep moving!
- Laugh it off! It’s good medicine! Watch a funny show, laugh with friends, read a funny book – these are just a few of the ways to put yourself in a good mood, reduce stress, and improve your overall wellness!
Health Coach & Wellness Educator