10 EASY Ways to a Healthier 2018 (Part 1)

10 EASY Ways to a Healthier 2018 (Part 1)

When I was in my twenties, I would wake up at 5 am sharp for a resistance training circuit workout at my gym before the grind of my 9 to 5.  By 5:30 pm I was fighting traffic to get to my home office for my part time job.  When I shut my laptop down at 8 pm for the night, I headed back to the gym for a cardio workout.  I sound like a psychopath, right?  Yup, that was me.  And I agree with you.

I had myself convinced that I had to Go,Go,Go (there’s so much to do!) regardless if I was working on my career or myself.  My goals were HUGE, so HUGE in fact, they took over my life and I eventually fizzled out.  But…I’ve grown a bit and learned my lessons.  Keep reading.

These days, with a little wisdom and a lot of experience, I’ve learned that less is more.  That small steps equal big changes in the long run without the burn out.  And that self-care is very freaking cool.  The following tips include honest and DO-ABLE ways to make a REAL difference in your health, without killing yourself.  Try picking one tip a week or even one tip a month, sit with it for a while, make it a part of your life and then move on to the next when you’re ready.  And stay tuned for PART 2, coming soon.

Avoid This Ingredient.  What harmful ingredient is in everything from ketchup to cookies? High Fructose Corn Syrup.  And it has been linked to obesity and diabetes.  Why is this s%$# in everything? Because it’s sweet and it’s cheap, so manufacturers love it.  So read the actual ingredient list on packaged foods and swap out basic products like ketchup with a high fructose corn syrup free version.  I bought hydrogenated corn syrup-free 365 Ketchup from Whole Foods for only $2.00!

Nap Already.  Scary Fact:  Stress and lack of sleep are linked to 95% of all illness and disease, and weight gain.  Research also shows that a nap can help restore your creativity, lower stress and increase energy. Somewhere along the way, we got it in our heads that we should just plow through our exhaustion or not take care of ourselves or put ourselves on the priority list (there’s so much to do!) 

But honestly, where has that ever gotten you? Aren’t you a more effective and kinder human (mom, dad, friend, worker,husband, wife, partner etc.) when you feel good?  I know I am.  Just make sure to nap early in the day so it doesn’t impact your sleep at night.

What if you hate napping?  Take a “me break” to read  your favorite book, take a walk or sip a cup of tea in the sunshine, whatever your thing is to unwind, do it!!!

Stand Up!  Sitting has been linked to everything from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer to muscle degeneration, back and neck pain (including disc damage), and soft bones.  I write this of course while sitting (yikes!)

So what can we do if much of our job involves sitting on our butts?  Get up and move every 20 to 30 minutes.  Stand up to roll your shoulders, throw something away, get a drink of water or talk on the phone.  Set the alarm on your phone to vibrate if you have trouble remembering. You’ll reduce your risk of pain and disease and you’ll easily burn more calories every day.

Swap the Sugar in Your Coffee for THIS! If you’re like me, you like your coffee sweet. But one teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories and the added processed sugar can spike your blood sugar levels and can cause everything from weight gain to inflammation in your body.  The solution?

Swap plain white sugar for calorie free Stevia, and you’ll have less of a blood sugar spike and may even lose weight.  Stevia (or Truvia- a popular brand) is made from the Stevia plant so it’s not like harmful artificial sweeteners (think Equal and Splenda which are NOT good for you.)  Starbucks carries Stevia, but Dunkin Donuts doesn’t…so buy a package at your local market and keep individual packets in your bag or car. It’s an easy way to save a ton of calories without even noticing.  Heads up- Stevia is waaaay sweeter than sugar so start with just a half a packet and sweeten to taste.

Another option if you just can’t get behind the idea of a calorie free sweetener? Try coconut sugar, it’s all natural and can be found in the baking aisle at many supermarkets.

And Swap the Cream or Creamers for THIS!  Speaking of coffee, I also like it light.  But those flavored creamers are typically loaded in artificial ingredients and sugar.  I stir unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk into my coffee or tea for flavor and richness.  Of course plain milk and cream don’t have added sugar, but if you drink a lot of coffee, the added dairy can cause inflammation, bloating and congestion.  Luckily, Dunkin Donuts offers almond milk and Starbucks offers coconut milk.  Sometimes I’ll add a drop of pure vanilla extract (not the artificial stuff), cinnamon or nutmeg too.   Another option is dairy free creamers by Califia Farms which contain no artificial ingredients.

And on a personal note, I want to apologize. I have admittedly sucked at keeping up with newsletters.  My goal is to change that for 2018 with do-able nutrition tips and fat burning recipes arriving in your inbox regularly…starting with this one!

And if you don’t follow me on social media (what are you waiting for ;)??), I have a new addition. Her name is Sophie and I’m totally in love.  Sophie is a French Bulldog with hind-end paralysis and as you can imagine had a rough start to life (she was bred by someone who wasn’t exactly fond of paralyzed puppies.)  Luckily she was rescued by the amazing team at Norcal Bully Breed Rescue in California. I saw her on Instagram one day and thought, “that’s my girl.”  My mom and I then flew from Boston to California and brought her home and she’s been my best friend and side kick ever since.

Her enthusiasm for life makes me smile hard every day. She doesn’t know she’s any different (dogs don’t have the egos we humans do) and is the happiest, funniest, sweetest little puppy ever.   And she’s easy!  Before I got her, so many people told me, “don’t get a dog like her; it’s too much work.”  She’s not too much work. Yeah, I change her diaper all day but everything I do for her is worth it.

Sophie gives my life even more purpose and makes me happy.  And she inspires me; she lives life like she’s never had it hard and she loves everyone with a fierceness in the way that only great dogs can. I honestly don’t remember life before she crawled into it.   Say hi to my lil Sophie!

Happy 2018 guys…and stay tuned for Part 2 of this article!




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