Most people will say they are too busy. Too busy to plan. Too busy to meal prep. Too busy to exercise. Just too BUSY! Trust me, I get it. Being a wife and mom, owning/running a business, and working a second job, doesn’t leave a lot of extra time in my days. Today, I’d like to share some pointers that may help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
So how do I manage to stay on course?
Well, first, you should know that I don’t always stay on course. I am human and slip up just like everyone else. But I try to consistently do things that keep me on track 80% of the time. And since I like things that are measurable, let’s look at what it means to eat healthy 80% of the time…80% x 7 days = 5.6. This means you should be eating healthy about 6 days out of each week.
Below are 10 key points I follow in my attempt to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle:
1) I make my health a priority.
I want to be the best version of myself for my family, my friends, my employees, and my patients. I keep my hormones balanced!! I eat healthy 80% of the time. I drink tons of water. I aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I take my nutritional supplements. I exercise regularly. I feed my spiritual and mental health by spending time with God and meditating every single morning. I practice being thankful. This sets the tone for my entire day.
2) I plan.
My week-days are crazy busy (there’s that word again) so I spend some time every Sunday afternoon getting things ready for the week, including organizing my nutritional supplements in a pill container, so I can quickly grab them on the way out the door each morning. Also, I know when I get home from work in the evenings I will be too tired to exercise so I get up super early every morning and get it out of the way. I put my feet on the floor and get moving before my brain has a chance to figure out what my body is doing!
3) I don’t skip workouts.
Even if I don’t feel like it. A bad workout is better than no workout any day of the week. I know there will be days I HAVE to miss…sick days, injury days, etc. So missing workouts when I am healthy is not an option! If it is out of my control and I know I will HAVE to miss, I work out twice the day before or the day after. This would usually include weight lifting in the morning and cardio in the evening.
4) I make it as easy as possible for myself to be successful.
Since I get up super early to work-out, I try to go to bed between 9-10 pm each night. Sometimes that means I may even sleep in my gym clothes; this may seem weird but it’s one less obstacle to deal with when I wake up groggy! And on days I wake up unmotivated…I tell myself, “Well, heck I’m already dressed, let’s just get it over with!”. I also give myself a full 30 minutes (sometimes longer) to wake up with my coffee (and God, of course!) THAT is an absolutely essential part of my day! And as soon as the sun comes up, I spend a few minutes outside without sunglasses to soak up some of those beautiful blue hues to help keep my circadian rhythm in balance (Hint: a balanced circadian rhythm lowers cortisol levels, which helps with weight loss).
5) I surround myself with people who motivate me.
Like-minded people who make their health a priority make me want to do better and push myself harder. They also hold me accountable.
6) I meal prep.
This may seem like a struggle to some but it really just takes some planning. I spend a few hours every Sunday cooking 3-4 proteins, and several different vegetables so we always have something healthy to take in our lunches during the week. When I get home from work each evening, I go straight to the kitchen and pack my lunch for the next day before I even sit down and get too tired to do it. This helps me stay in control and on course.
7) I don’t eat foods I don’t like.
Period. Life’s too short for that! I eat mainly lean proteins, tons of colorful veggies, berries, and healthy fats, and always food with LOTS of seasoning and spice! I typically eat less than 100 g total carbs per day except on the weekends when I tend to relax my diet. I don’t count carbs on the weekends but I don’t go crazy either. And since I eat low carb on most days, I don’t really struggle with cravings. When I do eat carbs, it’s usually in the form of brown rice, quinoa, and yams. If I am tempted to eat food I know I shouldn’t, I ask myself, “is it worth it?”. The answer is usually no…UNLESS it happens to be a large piece of apple pie alamode served on a sizzling hot cast-iron skillet, with a huge dollop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with caramel…THAT would be “worth it” to me. I would eat EVERY single bite without guilt!!!
8) I don’t strive for perfection.
I just try to do better than I did yesterday. I focus on consuming nutrient-dense colorful foods, which makes for a healthy, happy gut. And when I gain a few extra pounds, I don’t beat myself up over it but I do make it a point to not let those pounds add up. I get them off ASAP. This usually involves logging onto the MyFitness Pal App on my phone and logging my calories and my macros every day for a few weeks until it becomes apparent where I am getting off track. This keeps me accountable and gets me back on course.
9) I set long and short-term attainable goals.
Goals are more attainable when done in “bite-sized” portions (pun intended). For instance, a long-term goal may be to lose 30#. In order to reach that goal, I encourage you to focus on reaching the short-term goal of 1-2# this week, and then 1-2# next week, and so on until you reach your long-term weight loss goal of 30#. With consistency, you will get there. Your journey will not be a straight downward slope of weight loss but will more likely be bumpy with small setbacks along the way. Press ahead and your consistency will pay off. You are on a path to a healthier lifestyle; not just a journey to lose weight and then return to old habits. Other short-term goals may include an upcoming vacation or reunion. Whatever your goal, set yourself up for success by making them attainable and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach them.
10) I eat a nutrient-dense diverse diet.
Not surprisingly, when I find myself feeling run down and tired, it’s usually when I’ve been doing too many things I know I shouldn’t – eating too much sugar or processed foods, not taking supplements consistently, not drinking enough water, not getting enough sleep. A wide variety of nutrient-dense foods keeps your gut healthy, which keeps energy levels up and reduces cravings. I try to make every meal as nutrient-rich as possible. For example, instead of plain steamed green beans, I turn them into green beans almandine by adding salt, garlic, olive oil and slivered almonds. Instead of plain brown rice, I add in some salt, garlic, quinoa, flax seeds, or hemp seeds. This turns it into a superfood and also gives your food a richer flavor.
Key Take-homes: Prioritizing, planning, consistency, and accountability are key to making lifestyle changes that will stick. Make sure your hormones are balanced. Focus on consuming a nutrient-dense, diverse diet. Drink plenty of water. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Reduce stress. Set short-term and long-term attainable goals. And remember I am on this journey with you. I learn so much from your experiences so please keep sharing them. We are in this together!
Let us know how we can help you reach and maintain YOUR health goals for 2021!
Wishing you health and many blessings,