Small changes to your health routine can make a big difference.
Desmond Tutu said, “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” This advice may be a solid approach when tackling and making viable changes to protect our health. “The 5 Things Women Can do to stay Healthy” are, in truth, oversimplified. We can make many improvements to better our health but consider this a valuable place to begin.
Step 1: Excercise
No magic pill replaces the benefits of exercise, at least not yet. So, find a workout you like and get moving.
There’s just no getting around it—you must move your body every day. Exercise is vital to good health, and you will find it at the top of the list for the most preventative measures you can take to stay healthy. Commit to 20-30 minutes a day and soon enough you will feel the difference. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Tips for getting started.
- May help prevent diseases like heart, type 2 diabetes, elevated LDL cholesterol, and some forms of cancer 1,2,3,4
- Skeletal structure, muscle mass, balance, and posture 5,6,7,8
- Improves your mood and outlook 9
- Helps with weight loss and increases energy 10,11
Healthy weight and BMI chart
- Improves sleep 12,13
- Increases lifespan 14
Step 2: Decompress
Make time to unwind.
Sometimes, life is just one big revolving post-It note—days filled with endless “to-do’s” that we rarely pencil in enough time for ourselves. Not taking the time to decompress can eventually leave you both mentally and physically exhausted. But, if meditation is not your thing, there are plenty of other ways to get your Zen on.
- Take a walk and get out in nature
- Treat yourself: Mani/Pedi, massage
- Schedule some girl time and have some laughs
- Curl up with a blanket and book, and brew some tea
- Take steps to control your stress
- Find a hobby that brings you joy
- Practice the Wim Hof breathing method. And feel the tension melt away.
Step 3: Rest up
Girl—get your sleep because it’s a necessary ingredient for maintaining your weight, health, and tackling that list.
There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on that list despite our best efforts, and sleep is critical. Do you recall that deep sleep you got as a teenager? That kind of sleep where nothing in the world could wake you, and there was NO COFFEE REQUIRED upon rising. Then without much notice, you’re all grown up with a mountain of responsibility, and you never sleep again. So, what’s the big deal? With so much to do, “we can sleep when we’re dead,” we’ve heard some say. The problem with that mentality is we fail to recognize the importance of a good night’s sleep and how it helps us conquer our waking hours in the best way possible.
Benefits of sleep:
- Improves cognition, alertness, focus, and productivity 15
- Supports emotional well-being 16
- Enhances metabolism and prevents weight gain 17,18
- Better immune system 19
- Reduces inflammation 20
- Sleep hygiene tips
Step 4: Eat well
Watch what you eat. Because if you want to feel well—you will need to fuel well.
It’s important to practice mindful eating and show respect for your body by selecting healthy, nutrient-dense food for energy and avoiding food lacking in nutrition that drains your energy and gives you brain fog.
- Wide variety of colorful vegetables and fresh herbs 21
- High-quality protein such as eggs, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed meat 22
- Legumes, nuts, and seeds 23, 24
- Fruit 21
- Whole grains and some dairy
- Olive oil, MCT oil, in small portions 25,26
Special dietary considerations may apply, such as gluten or lactose intolerance. Also, be aware of your meals’ portion size and quality, such as non-GMO, grass-fed, and the dirty dozen (link). Remember that eating healthier isn’t a green light to increase your portions unless you’re filling your plate with more vegetables.
- Fried foods 27
- Baked goods 28
- Packaged items like crackers and chips 29
- Sugar and sugary drinks, including fruit juice 29
- White: bread, rice, cereal, pasta 29
- Anything with a drive-thru window 😊30
If you are already overweight (link to weight chart), it’s important to note that the “eat less” list can raise your blood sugar, encourage cravings, and increase your waistline. Over time, a diet full of these simple carbs can lead to Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance.
Eat less from this list if you’re a big eater and your activity level doesn’t match your appetite. The foods from the “eat less” list will keep you coming back for more.
Eat, drink, and be merry—just not all the time.
We love to celebrate! But let’s face it, there’s ALWAYS an occasion. Your coworker’s retirement party, aunt’s birthday, your birthday, employee appreciation donuts, drinks with the girls, and it’s been a hell of a Monday glass of wine or two, followed by WAY TOO MUCH POPCORN. It all adds up. This perpetual calendar of celebrations is rarely accompanied by healthy food choices and usually involves sweets, alcohol, and a variety of tasty dips and crackers in excessive amounts. Nobody wants to miss out on all the fun, nor do we want to increase our belt notch and go up a pant size.
Step 5: Schedule an appointment
Get screened regularly—it’s essential.
Sometimes we don’t feel well, and it’s a mystery because we’re doing everything right. We eat well, exercise, hydrate, etc. So, what do we do? We comb the internet, compare symptoms, self-diagnose, worry, and gravitate towards worst-case scenarios. It’s exhausting. Essentially, we play doctor, and before we know it, we have every disease ever known to man. So, perhaps it’s time to cut out the middleman, you, and Mr. Google. Instead, consider scheduling an appointment with your physician and request a blood test called a CBC With Auto Diff (a complete blood count with automated differential). You can learn much about your health status from this test alone, and it’s a great place to start.
Other common tests your doctor may order include:
- Basic or comprehensive metabolic panel
- Thyroid panel
- Nutrient tests to determine levels such as Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium
Interested in getting additional tests to improve your health awareness?