Health: the general condition of the body
Let me be real here: I’m not a dietitian, nutritionist, health coach, personal trainer, or anything like that.
But let me be real again: I’ve been that person who wanted to be healthier, and the straightforward diet and exercise advice still felt like it was too much, too advanced, or out of reach. That’s where I’m coming from with this post.
Changing your diet or going from a mostly sedentary lifestyle to even a slightly more active one can be overwhelming. It feels like you’re going out of your way from your normal life. It feels unnatural and even inconvenient, and that’s a pain. I’m sure you have your fantasies of how great your life will be if you eat vegetables every day and go beast mode at the gym, but ooo skippy, it’s a lot harder when you do it for real instead of imaging it while scrolling through Pinterest for recipes and fitness challenges. Some people are able to go cold turkey and change their life at the drop of a hat (kudos!), but I know myself and many others aren’t life that.
You want to change. You want to be healthy. You want to do all the things that will make you happy and strong and not feel bad when you treat yourself. That is wonderful!
You have to break habits and build new ones, but those habits don’t have to huge right away. It’s okay for the first habits you change to be small ones – habits that aren’t going to touch your diet (yet) or get you one some crazy workout plan (yet). Making the change to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be an immediate, dramatic event. It can be incremental and steady until you don’t think twice about your new habits.
These are tips I wish someone could have given me instead of figuring them out on my own.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, and you should always consult your doctor for advice about your health and needs. Some of these tips might not be best for you, so schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options.
Five Ways to Be Healthier Today Without Dieting or Exercise
Take a Daily Vitamin
Daily vitamins are fantastic. We all know the goal is to have a balanced diet where you get all your nutrients naturally because, like, every article about health will tell you that, but it’s not necessarily that simple. Unless you’re a person who considers diet a number one priority and it’s something you actively think about often, I bet it’s safe to assume most of us aren’t getting all our nutrients – let alone every day.
A daily vitamin takes away that worry and gives you peace of mind you’re doing your body a favor even if you had a donut for breakfast and a cookie between lunch and dinner. I started taking one back in February/March, and I feel like it’s done my body wonders. I personally take One A Day Women, and I’ve recently added collagen and fish oil.
Note: Changing your diet is inevitable to being healthier, so the vitamin is a tool until you have a diverse diet. It isn’t a replacement for eating fruit and vegetables or a healthy diet in general. Yes, it’s going to give you essential nutrients your body needs to perform different internal processes, but if you eat a poor diet, your body is still going to reflect that. A vitamin is not a replacement for a healthy diet – it’s a safety net.
Get Your Sleep
Get. Your. Sleep. I don’t know why people think it’s a dick measuring contest to see who gets the least sleep. Why is that something to brag about? Your body literally needs sleep, and if you’re not putting in an effort to get seven or eight hours, you’re hurting yourself.
Your body does essential functions while you sleep, and you’re not giving it the chance to do them if you’re not going to bed. It might sound lame, but you need a bed time. Your body not only functions better on seven to eight hours, but it functions even better when you have a consistent window in which you do it.
Note: Going to sleep is a lot easier if you don’t have light in your face. Turn off Netflix and put your phone away. Blue light should be avoided like the plague. If that’s not enough, maybe play some soothing sounds like rain, the ocean, or the crackle of a fire. Try meditating to clear your mind and deepen your breathing. Maybe get some CBD if you have to.
Oh here’s one you hear all the time. Real talk though: drinking more water in a day is a game changer. I’ve always tried to drink the right amount of water, but I couldn’t do it until I got a water bottle and committed to keeping it with me.
I found my sweet spot is a full 32 oz bottle twice a day. I dunno why, but I can only get myself to drink two bottles no matter how many ounces it is. I find it essentially effortless to drink all my water now. I also set deadlines to finish each bottle. I give myself from 8 a.m. to noon for one bottle, and noon to 5 p.m. for my second. I set a goal for early evening because this gives me lots of wiggle room and makes it possible to drink more.
Note: You’re gonna pee a lot. Plan accordingly.
Stretching is the perfect activity for you if you’re someone who isn’t working out or doesn’t know where to begin. It’s a way to engage your body in a wholly positive way that’ll leave you feeling good without being winded and achy. Diving into working out can be overwhelming and discouraging for some people when they don’t do well, so stretching is a positive activity that allows you to make progress towards your active lifestyle goals.
I work a desk job, and I didn’t realize it was possible to get sore from sitting and doing nothing. You might not realize that some of the pain in your body is from inactivity. Stretching is a must if you live a sedentary lifestyle and want to begin the transition into a more active one.
Note: Don’t overstretch. Let your body comfortably extend as much as it can. Extend your stretches by taking a deep breath and sinking deeper into the stretch on the exhale. You will be sore if you push your body into intense stretches before it’s ready, so be patient. I love to do flexibility training, so I recommend Alivia D’Andrea. This is the exact video I use, but she has plenty to choose from.
Know Your BMR
BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. Your BMR is the amount of energy – A.K.A calories – your body needs to exist. Everyone’s BMR is different, and it’s super easy to find a calculator online. You input your age, height, and weight, and it spits out your magic number. Keep in mind this number is basal, basic, base line. By getting up and going to work, the grocery store, the gym, and so on, you burn additional calories.
Your basal rate is great to know because 1. It’s a number you need, so no guilt on those calories, and 2. it helps guide you along a more realistic consumption path. I always thought 2,000 calories was what I should eat, but now I know that number is variable and constantly changing. There are days where I can eat 1,700 calories or even 2,000 calories – and still lose weight.
Example: My BMR, as of this writing, is 1,435. No matter what I do, my body is going to need that amount to be a body. On a day where I go to work, keep my desk in sitting mode, and don’t go to the gym, I burn somewhere between 1,800 and 1,950 calories. To lose or maintain weight, I’d need to consume less calories than that or right around there.
Note: You do admittedly get the most use of knowing your BMR when you count calories. I know that isn’t everyone’s jam, but you can still benefit from knowing your BMR. It’s important to know how much your body needs to survive and it gives you personally catered perspective on your health and diet.