Do you find yourself questioning if you should go Paleo or Keto or Low Carb? The debate over the best way to eat is not going away (and never will). There will always be a new diet or way of eating…and if you find one that works for you and your lifestyle then that’s great! But the majority of Americans don’t need just 1 way of eating…we need foundational healthy habits that lead us to a way of eating that fits OUR lifestyle.
Stop listening to and stressing over social media posts where one person is saying that Keto is bad for women’s hormones, or another person saying that eating like a “cave man” is the only way to eat or becoming vegan is the healthiest diet lifestyle.
Take a step back…breathe…and take a look at the bigger picture. The following 7 healthy habits are the foundation to get started building YOUR own lifestyle diet that works for you. These are habits that EVERYONE can do, no matter what diet (or even exercise) program you follow.
- Eat Real Food. Food that goes bad if you left it outside in the air for a couple of days. Food that you could hunt, fish, gather, or pluck. If you’re not sure if it’s real food…then it probably isn’t. The quality of the food we eat matters more than the proportion of carbs, fat and protein…IMO. Cut out the junk and it automatically reduces your carbs. If you eat high quality food, then you automatically improve your micronutrient intake which, if you have a micronutrient deficiency it could lead to a host of other health issues.
- Exercise. Pick something you love to do and just move your body every single day. You don’t have to be a hard core cross-fitter, or start running marathons, or become a body builder. Walking, golfing, climbing stairs, doing jumping jacks, hoola-hooping, unicyclying, or doing the Macarena. Just don’t confuse exercise for weight loss with exercise for fitness. A brisk daily walk won’t make you a fitness model, but it will grow new brain cells and reduce the risk for cancer, depression, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Supplement Wisely. There’s a lot of debate out there as to whether you truly need supplements or not. A health coach friend of mine believes you can get all the nutrition you need solely from food…I personally believe that because of environmental toxins, pesticides, soil depletion and low calorie diets (which all cause nutrition deficiencies), that we need to supplement our diets. So, I highly recommend that we bridge the gap in our diets with high quality supplements. Supplements are a high-tech way to deliver nutrients your body needs. Plus, there are some supplements that are hard to get from food or aren’t available in food; like alpha-lipoic acid and CoQ10 which are difficult to get from food unless you eat a ton of organ meats. I recommend to all my clients that they at least take the basics: multi-vitamin, fish oil, collagen, vitamin D and probiotics/prebiotics. Beyond that, one size does NOT fit all. Speak with your doctor or a nutritionist to see what other supplements you could use for your bodies needs.
- Manage Stress and Sleep. Stress causes a host of health problems like: interfering with your sleep to aggravating an existing illness. During a stress response, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are secreted. Blood pressure rises and heart rate increases. Chronic stress can shorten your life-span. So watch your stress levels…even if your just sitting in a traffic jam. There are tons of ways to manage your stress like taking a walk, doing breathing exercises, listening to your favorite sound, meditating or doing yoga. Not sleeping well or enough is a major stressor on our body. Important metabolic processes happen when we are sleeping. Make sleep a priority…keep your bedroom cool and dark and avoid TV in your bedroom. (I also love CBD oil and Ashwagandha for helping with stress and anxiety.)
- Choose Your Friends Wisely. Surround yourself with positive people who care about similar things. People who stay fit, care about their health, don’t smoke, and exercise regularly are likely to be surrounded with people who care about the same things. Create a circle of friends that can be an important part of your healthy lifestyle.
- Volunteer or Give Back. Find something that makes you feel good and gives you purpose. A study was done where residents at a nursing home were given a simple task: take care of a plant. The results were remarkable. The plant caretakers had fewer doctor visits, got sick less often, and recovered from illness more quickly. And their blood pressure went down. The act of caring for something outside of yourself directs your energy away from obsessing over your own concerns and has significant health benefits. Volunteer for a cause close to your heart or find a way to give back that makes you feel good.
- Be True to Your Word. You know that friend of yours that is always late…ALWAYS late!? That friend that promises they will be on time…but then NEVER is. You stop believing them when they say they will be on time. Well…we do this to ourselves all the time. We tell ourselves we are going to drink more water, stop smoking, stop binging on ice cream…etc… we tell ourselves that we are going to do better..BUT we NEVER do…so every time we tell ourselves this, we don’t believe it. We stopped believing in ourselves. Words truly are powerful (even thoughts are powerful). Imagine that every time you told yourself (or someone else) that you were going to do something, you did it…EVERY TIME. Eventually, you would start believing in yourself. What we do and say and tell ourselves matters. We are the masters of our own fate. So start off with something simple like: I’m going to exercise for 15 minutes every day or I’m going to drink 64 ounces of water every single day.
So, what do you think? Can you start with these simple basic foundational healthy habits? Do you need more help with your healthy habits? Join our 52 Healthy Habits group on Facebook and sign up for my weekly healthy habits emails.
Stay Healthy my Friends!
Carrie A Groff
Personal Trainer & Accountability Partner