And no, I will never tell you to wake up at 5 am for “your health”. #latemorningsforlife
I usually try not to be preachy and dole out advice on healthy habits et al, but I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing. Baby steps at a time, I’ve been incorporating these five habits for a healthy-ish life, and I think I see some changes too.
No long rambling this time, so let’s dive straight in to five easy and practical habits for a healthier lifestyle.
#1- Water, ASAP.
Starting with the most overstated but also the truest healthy habit, is to get in as much water as you can. I know, your bladder feels like it is ready to burst and you’re feeling embarrassed going to the loo every 10 minutes. Been there, and err… still there.
When I read online that women need to drink 9 cups of water, I was shook. That’s 72 fluid ounces or 2.7 liters. This, of course, includes water in fruits and vegetables too. But I was barely getting half or less than that amount in! I immediately decided to change this, with a trip to a supermarket. :S
I bought a large and inviting drinking mason jar with a lid and straw, because hello, the kid in me likes shiny things okay. I have been trying to drink two full jars of water, which amounts to 64 oz. Then there is the food I eat which also has water in it, so I think I get in a decent amount of H2O (???).
A trick I’ve been using to drink more water is infusing it with holy basil. I grow the tiny plant in my backyard, from which I add about 3-4 leaves in my water along with ice cubes. It has a calming, minty taste which is perfect for summer and cools me down.
Some benefits of drinking a lot of water include- weight loss, clear skin (need me some of that), clean gut and more. BRB, getting that H2O in.
#2- Feed to flourish.
I have written about my body complexity countless times, and I don’t want to bore you time and again. It instilled in me a fear of food, which I would say I love as much as my husband. I was afraid that eating bread, rice and potatoes would widen my girth. Oh, how foolish I was in avoiding the good carbs and instead eating a ton of processed crap because they were lower in carbs.
When vegan food entered the picture, my eating habits changed a lot. I now thrive on carbs in the form of bread, rice, potatoes, grains and lentils. I don’t follow any diet anymore, and eat to satiety. There are days when I crave one food item more than the other, and I nourish my body with exactly that. Some days, I want a lot of tofu and protein-packed dishes. On other days, my body craves avocados and fat-fueled meals. I now follow “nourish to flourish” as my food philosophy.
I eat dessert every night in the form of dark chocolate, because I know I would get cranky without my chocolate fix. If I deny myself whatever I wish to eat, I binge on food I don’t really want and finally, reach for whatever I craved in the first place.
NOTE: Low-carb diets don’t make sense to me personally, because I don’t think the body can possibly say “Oh no, I had 120g of carbs today, better get fatter!”. It’s the calories that matter if you’re looking at weight loss or maintenance. But who’s counting, anyway? 🙂
#3- Move a little for 4-5 days a week.
I wish I could be a gym-goer, but I’m not. I’m way too self-conscious to go to one and use the different equipment there. Since I like working out, I do it in the privacy of my home. But I know there are people who don’t like exercise. No judgments here, because I used to be like that too.
The point is to get in light to moderate activity for at least 20 minutes a day. Break it down into different activities if you need to. Use apple ‘activity’ or FitBit tracker to monitor your physical activity if you wish to, because it helps immensely.
If you don’t want to exercise but still get some physical activity in, I’ve got some ideas:
- Broom and mop the kitchen daily.
- Empty and clean the fridge. Keep things a little out of your reach so that your arms get some movement while taking and replacing them. Bend a little while restocking your fridge, so that your legs get some-some too.
- I cut vegetables standing, instead of slouching in a chair.
- Clean the dishes in the sink as much as you can. Your arms will thank you later.
- Get some excuse to move inside the home. If you live in a single-family home like me, use the stairs to fetch things one at a time. If you live in an apartment, walk around the building.
- Clean the bathroom tub/shower space, mirrors, toilet bowl and other surfaces as often as you can. Trust me, it’s a full-body workout by itself.
If you do plan to exercise, that’s fantastic! Try to do basic walking, bodyweight movements or any other form of physical exercise you’d enjoy. Dancing like a fool when no one’s watching is, a great one to try. #guilty
#4- Good things in life are free (and paid)
Nothing naughty here, I swear. 😉 There are some things I truly enjoy about living here in the US, like the amazing outdoors to explore. Yes, it feeds into the previous point about moving around. But it’s also a little different, as I explain below.
Some free activities that are great for your body and soul alike are walking in a park, hitting hiking trails, swimming in the public pool, running or jogging outside, cycling along the beach, exploring a city by foot, etc. Take joy in finding out new places to visit and imprint yourself in, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes.
But there’s one paid activity that I bet we like at some point or the other- shopping. Going to the mall is not everyone’s cuppa tea, but for health reasons, do it. Visit the nearest mall and start the exploring. Walk around, go into different shops and try out clothes, and treat yourself if you want to. The point of this is that you get in a lot of steps while enjoying the sights, workout your arms if you take on trying new clothes, and feel a little more connected to mankind by being around people.
#5- Prep in advance
When you’re going out to aforementioned places or sightseeing, always try to carry homemade food. “But I want to eat out, and I’m really looking forward that!”- very valid response. Do dine out, but try to keep it to about two outside meals a week. When my husband and I go out on weekends, I try to carry food from home for lunching and snacking. I’m sensitive to eating out frequently, and get stomach issues if I eat out more than two meals out consecutively.
And so when we travel, it is a meal of rice for lunch and some fruits to snack on later. We save some money, don’t feel as bloated and do dine out one meal a week. If you’re trying to reduce dining out and increase meal prep, I have some tips I follow:
- Think up a simple and super quick meal to whip up when going out. It should also last at least half a day out in the sun without spoiling.
- This is the snack ratio I follow: 85% fruits, 15% chips or other goodies. Take a few bags to dispose fruit peel and trash in.
- Cut vegetables ahead the previous night if you’re making something particular. It saves a lot of time and energy after waking up.
- If you eat dairy, try to avoid or keep it to a bare minimum while traveling. It causes bloating and constipation in general, and more so while traveling.
- Keep paper towels, plates and cutlery in the carryout bags the previous night. Trust me, we had to buy paper plates on a recent trip because *someone* was forgetful.
What are some healthy-life hacks you follow? Care to share in the comments below? 🙂
Until next time, see you soon.