I’ve been exhausted lately.
I don’t mean “exhausted” in the common physical sense. No, I’m talking about the harsh climate of detoxes, cleanses, restrictive diets, unrealistic fitness models and everything in between that’s polluting my mental energy (and self-esteem). And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ve talked to friends, coworkers and family members who relate to this brand of exhaustion, especially in the new year.
As soon as the clock hits midnight on December 31st, it feels like we’re sprinting off the start line of a race. Throughout that race, most of us seem to carry some abstract, unrealistic vision of what we’re supposed to look like upon crossing the finish line. Those diets and detoxes I mentioned a few sentences ago remind me of the Mario Kart items that temporarily put you ahead of the others. We’re obsessed with getting the next Bullet Bill or Golden Mushroom so we can look fly AF!
My point is, these days we’re obsessed with what our bodies look like, so much that we sacrifice treating them well (yes, that includes me too). We should be treating our bodies more kindly than ever, given how much we put them through on a daily basis (i.e. stress from home and work, perhaps raising kids, need I go on?) While some of the tips listed below may come across as weight loss-inspired, I promise you that they aren’t. I spent hours carefully compiling ideas centered around boosting overall health. I should also mention that there are plenty more ideas out there; I’m sure you’ll think of a couple of your own by the time you finish reading this post 🙂
1) Try to hit the trifecta of protein, carbs and fat for your snacks and meals
The combination will keep you fuller longer, slow down digestion and prevent drastic spikes/dips in blood sugar.
2) Drink more water
I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so important! If you’re like me and sit at a desk all day, this will force yourself to get up and walk around (and refill your water bottle on the way back from the bathroom)!
3) Read more, spend less time on your phone
It’s astounding how addicted we are to our screens. Many of us spend the workday on a computer, scroll through social media on our commute home… then binge watch Netflix before bed. Yikes! Give your eyes a break by reading a (hard copy) book or magazine.
4) Have a bowl of whole grain “junk cereal” to satisfy your late night sweet tooth
Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs are much healthier than ice cream or cookies.
5) Take the stairs at least once a day
Whether it’s at work, the doctor’s office or your apartment, your cardiovascular system will thank you. No stairs in sight? Park further away from the entrance and walk.
6) Order the kids meal
I know, I know… the Wendy’s 4 for $4 is an unbeatable deal. But at 910-1,320 calories, is it worth it? Opt for a McDonald’s Happy Meal (hamburger, fries and apple slices) for just 380 cals. You don’t have to deprive yourself and it’s easy portion control!
7) Make happy hour even happier
…for your wallet, liver and palate, that is. Instead of a sugary, heavy cocktail, try combining a flavored vodka such as Absolut Mandrin or Svedka Cherry with club soda or tonic. Way less boring than a plain vodka soda right?
8) Eat at least one serving of veggies at lunch and dinner
I mean, let’s be realistic with ourselves and our goals. For some yummy veggie inspo, click here.
9) Upgrade the bread on your sandwich or burger
In lieu of a fluffy, nutrient-empty bun, a lot of places offer whole grain or sprouted options. Lettuce wraps are popular too— even Shake Shack has jumped on board!
10) Aim to get more sleep
Just bumping up your bedtime in 15-minute increments weekly will work wonders for your memory, energy, concentration and so much more.
Hit me with your other ideas in the comments!