As I sit here in my lovely office, I can hear the birds tweeting outside my window. The sunshine is pouring through my office, and a cool breeze is invigorating me. It’s also a reminder that summer is right around the bend and while that shouldn’t matter, the fact is I’m wildly out of shape and dreading it a wee bit!
Never fear, though, because I have to squeeze myself into a bathing suit on May 1st, a tiny bit sooner than our typical first swim day.
My physical health prevents me from taking drastic steps, like a 3-day detox, and my daughter just made a bottle of the only supplement I am allowed (Vitamin D3) disappear. (Don’t ask!)
So what can I do? First of all, I’m not going to be discouraged. For myself, the best way to move forward is to create two separate plans: one for long-term management, and another for immediate good health. However, I have a short-term plan of creative ways to good health. These are not the typical things you’d think of, but they’re easy and you can start them shape right now and turn them into longer term goals.
Five Unusual Ways to Fix Your Health
1. Eat more.
It’s not how much you eat, but what and when you eat. Eating more is fine, as long as you are making savvy choices! Big meals with healthy fats and lots of produce and smarter snacking in between means you’ll be more satisfied and don’t have to think about “dieting” anymore.
Short-term fix: Switch out junk foods for healthy snacks that are protein-laden, tasty and full of nutrition, such as grass fed beef jerky. And grass-fed beef is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy fat that’s good for your heart! (They are also gluten-free!)
Long-term goal: Find a trusted stable of healthy pre-made snacks by visiting the healthy sections of your supermarket, trying something new every week. Don’t forget to load up on produce for snacks and meals. Then, make a plan to eliminate packaged products for big meals.
Extra bonus: More snacks mean less cooking.
2. Fix your posture.
I was shocked to recently learn that the “tilted pelvis” doctors have always told me I had is actually caused by poor posture! I knew I had some problems with posture, but no one told me I could fix it.
Short-term fix: Learn to stand up straight. This involves squeezing your “gluts” (butt muscles), then use your stomach muscles to hold that position while relaxing your butt. Next, pull your head up as high as you can, rotating your shoulders as far back as you can. Holding it while relaxing is a bit of work out! Test out your posture in the mirror.
Long-term goal: Look for exercise plans that work out your lower abdomen and support your back so you can maintain good posture. Meanwhile, try to hold this pose whenever you walk for a good workout. It also helps to have a reminder about good posture on my desk so I don’t slouch when I’m working.
Extra bonus: Proper posture not only makes you look more fit, but it also gives you an air of confidence. And if you’re short like me, it makes you a wee bit taller!
3. Drink better booze.
Most of us moms think of alcohol as a relaxant, but did you know it can be good for you in moderation?
Short-term fix: Add a glass of red wine to your relaxation routine at night. It can be good for your heart, contains antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and more. Be careful not to select a wine with a high alcohol or sugar content.
Long-term goal: For grown-up activities that involve alcohol, like dinner out with friends, parties or summer barbecues, research healthier alcohol options. For example, non-pasteurized beer has lots of health benefits so seek out those brands. Or, you can make cocktails with healthy kombucha teas. Bring recipes to a bar and bring your own to the party!
Extra bonus: Drinking can and will dehydrate you, even in small amounts, so be sure to also drink plenty of water. A full 8-ounce glass of water after you’re done drinking will help you feel better. And please, be sure to have a designated driver if you are drinking!
4. Reduce your screen time.
I’m currently reading a book about the harmful effects of too much screen time. One problem that can arise is nervous system deregulation, which means that your body and brain don’t react properly to situations and events. It can negatively impact your mood and behavior, and overstimulate you.
Short-term fix: As many of us no longer have landlines and most of us work on a computer, start slowly by removing one unnecessary screen activity a day. For example, don’t turn on the TV while kids are getting ready for school. Or, watch one less TV show per day.
Long-term fix: Smartphones, tablets, and televisions are ubiquitous in our society but you can reduce exposure. Create a plan to remove 20 minutes a day of screen time every few weeks. List what you CANNOT remove (work time, homework assignments, etc.) and prioritize those. Replace that time with fun family tasks. Now that spring and summer are approaching, it’s the perfect time to do more outdoor activities. Read my tips for better use of screen time for kids.
Extra bonus: As your screen time lessens, your family will become closer and more communicative and you can explore new activities together!
5. Take care how you plate your food.
James Clear is a psychologist who shows you how to maximize your time to be successful. His article, “10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthy Without Thinking, Backed by Science,” is full of tips on how to serve and store your food to make better choices.
Short-term fix: Start today by using his first tip, “Use Smaller Plates.” Like the photo above, I put my salads in a smaller width bowl. Since doing this, I’ve noticed that I rarely go back for seconds. This helps me eat slower and I feel more full!
Long-term fix: Don’t just implement all of Clear’s tips, but take note of how and when you eat. Are there times you eat more junk? Do you eat before bedtime? What motivates you to eat healthy foods? Eat more in the morning and daytime, and much less at night.
Extra bonus: We don’t use plastic wrap or tin foil like Clear recommends due to toxic concerns, but I’ve found that if I put the healthy food in glass containers and store it on the eye level shelf in my fridge or cabinet, I’m far more likely to grab those snacks first.
Enjoying Good Health
When you’re struggling with the concepts of diet, exercise, and detox, the bottom line is that good health is a choice – and you can make that choice one that is easy and creative. Stop thinking of weight loss, sweat, and bland food and pick a way to good health that is fun and that you want to do.
Which of these steps appeal to you? As someone who works from home, “eating more” is big on my list! Snacks are a must-have to get you through your workday or chores and give you a midday energy boost.