Being healthy is a way of life, but if you are currently at a level of poor or non-optimum health, changing your habits can seem like a very daunting task. For many, the most successful way to transform their life is one step at a time. You have to find a gradient of change that works right for you. Choose one area at a time that you want to focus on and do it. Once you have adapted to that change, focus on a different aspect of your lifestyle.
Here are 6 tips for healthy living. Choose one thing at a time, and by the end of the year you will have made a tremendous amount of progress. You owe this to yourself!
1. Get Your Spine Checked
If you haven’t started seeing Dr. Schulte for chiropractic adjustments, now’s the time! We currently have $14 exams (good for non-Medicare patients through the end of February). Chiropractic adjustments allow your nervous system to function optimally; a necessity for great health.
2. Eat Your Veggies
This could be a great challenge for many of you. If so, try adding vegetables to one meal per day for a week. During the next week, have vegetables in two of your meals. Later on, choose veggies as a great snack. Some people are more successful if they choose a variety of vegetables. This will keep things interesting. However, if you find yourself only enjoying a few select veggies, stick with those! You don’t have to try everything on the produce stand. The goal is to put real, whole food in your body.
3. Eat Protein
Most Americans are greatly lacking in this department. Dr. Schulte suggests that women eat 60-80 grams of protein each day, while men should be eating 80-100 grams. As a quick reference, eggs typically have 6-8 grams each, while a serving of chicken has about 20-25 grams. By increasing your protein, you will have a more stable blood sugar which will give you more sustained energy and fewer post-meal, mid-day crashes. If you are not eating enough protein currently, gradually increase your consumption by adding protein-rich foods to snacks or to one meal at a time. It is beneficial to add protein to meals early in the day so your body is provided with energy to excel throughout the day.
4. Embrace Healthy Fats
Over the years, fat has gotten a bad reputation. The truth is, many essential processes in our bodies require fats. Fat from grass fed animals and avocados, along with organic, non-processed oils like coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, will pack your body with necessary micro-nutrients and play a role in maintaining a steady blood sugar level along while giving you a sense of “fullness” or satiety. Contrary to popular belief, fats will not make you fat (it is actually grains and processed food that lead to pudgy pounds). However, remember to make sure you are avoiding processed, hydrogenated fats (trans fat and foods with ‘hydrogenated oil’ in the ingredient list).
Exercise is an incredible tool that is accessible to everyone. The benefits of exercise can improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. Start by adding 30-45 minutes of moderate to intense activity 3-4 days per week. On days that your schedule is busy, add more movement into your schedule in small bouts. Park further from the door at the store, take the stairs at work, walk a lap around your office during a quick break. If you have not been exercising, it is suggested that you talk with a doctor before you begin to ensure your body is prepared. Dr. Schulte can help you to determine what exercise will be most helpful for your current physical state.
Studies have continued to show the benefits of getting enough sleep. Your body needs time to heal and grow and a lot of this is done while you are sleeping (another reason why getting enough sleep suggested as a way to prevent getting sick as well). Most experts recommend getting 6-8 hours per night. To ensure you are getting enough sleep, avoid caffeine after lunch, turn down the lights and avoid computers and TV later in the evening, and prepare your bedroom so the temperature is not too hot and make sure little to no light is present.
If you already have these 6 tips mastered, stay tuned for ways to optimize your health. If you need to improve on all of these suggestions, choose one and give it your focus today, tomorrow, and the following day, until you feel ready for the next change and begin the process again. As you continue to improve your lifestyle, symptoms of ill-health will diminish and this will encourage you to continue on your path to success. If you have questions about how some of these tips will improve your life or on how to make these changes, please feel free to submit a comment or call our office. Dr. Schulte and his staff have all gone through similar changes on their own and can help you on your journey to great health.