When it comes to health I feel like many of us are on the hunt for a hack or quick fix to make us feel and look healthy as fast as possible. While that sounds great, it’s just not possible. No week-long detox, new greens supplement or workout app is going to suddenly turn you into the best version of yourself. What it truly takes is consistency and finding things that you’re actually willing to improve upon. Example: You can buy a Peloton bike and get it all set up in your home but if you don’t ride the dang thing or do the classes on a regular basis, it’s done nothing for you (except take up space in your house). This is why I came up with five things to uplevel my health.
Since my cancer diagnosis I’ve been extra mindful about wellness – from a physical, mental and spiritual standpoint. I’ve taken time to reflect on what I truly need to improve and where I want to be better. I’ll go into my full goals and vision for myself in another post, but wanted to share some quick points in hopes that they can inspire you!
Here are five things I’m doing to uplevel my health:
1. Eat more veggies
I’m talking veggie overload here. During a meal, 50-80% of my plate is vegetables — whether they’re steamed, roasted or raw, I’m eating them! All different sorts, I try to grab new ones at the grocery store and always stock up on our stapes like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, spinach and cauliflower. I want to overload my body with nutrients and this is a great way to do that!
If you aren’t used to eating many vegetables, just start with having a serving with each meal and increase from there. I also like to make a big green juice (I’ll post the recipe on my blog soon!) and sip on that throughout the day.
2. Calm down
This is a tough one for me (and I think many of us!). I’ve gotten pretty good at staying calm during things that would normally stress me out — a messy house, a toddler tantrum, upcoming travel, figuring out what to make for dinner. A big one that I have to focus on now is not worrying about the future as it relates to cancer recurrence. Hopefully the things you worry about are less extreme, I’m just being open with y’all here.
So how can we calm down? Meditation is a big, big help here. I feel like we see and hear people talking about meditating and it can be easy to brush it off as something that can’t really work. But wow, the science is compelling and it can do a wealth of good for us!
There are a lot of apps, books and meditations on Youtube. If you’re new to it, start with five minutes per day. I like to meditate first thing in the morning but do what works best for you. I do enjoy the Calm app but lately have been listening to Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations on YouTube (here’s one I really like), and also Emily Fletcher’s. Do a quick search and you’ll find plenty of free guided mediations out there!
If you’re going to say meditation isn’t your thing, I’m inclined to give you an eye roll and doubt that you’ve really, truly tried to get into a consistent practice with it. But let’s say I’m wrong and you just really don’t like it and it’s done nothing for you. Then calm down by going for a walk, putting on some relaxing music or closing your eyes and taking ten deep breaths. There are other ways to calm down, but meditation wins in my book 🙂
3. Avoid dairy
Ugh this one stinks, I know. Cheese is delicious and it’s a shame it’s an inflammatory food. In my vision for my best self I quickly mentioned above, decreasing inflammation is at the forefront. Inflammation decreases our immune systems and leads to disease. Dairy increases inflammation. I’m not going to go into the science behind this, nor am I qualified to. But if you don’t believe me, or just want to dig deeper on this, check out this podcast episode.
I do believe we can all benefit from avoiding cow’s milk and that some people may do fine with goat and sheep milk. Personally, I’m avoiding all of it for the time being — at least for a few months and probably won’t ever add cow’s milk back in except for the occasional meal out.
Back in the day when I would work with my personal training clients on their nutrition and they eliminated dairy from their diet, the results in how they felt were always amazing. Give this one a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
4. The 2:2:2 workout plan
We all need to move our bodies on a regular basis, every single one of us. Before cancer I lifted weights and did sprints as my cardio and loved that routine. Since my treatment and surgeries, I can’t quite move like I used to (yet!). Motivation has also been lacking a little bit and I’ll just go do a quick yoga on the Peloton app instead of going into our gym to lift. Which is great really, at least I did something. But our bodies need a variety of stimuli and movement.
So I created the 2:2:2 rule for myself. I’m moving/exercising six days per week. Two days are for yoga, two are strength training and two are spin classes. I may also add in a walk on any of those days as a chance to get vitamin D, relieve stress and get outside. We’re only ten days into the year but I’m really liking this plan so far and even jot down my workout in my calendar. (I’ll write a “Y” for yoga, “L” for lift aka strength training, “S” for spin and a “W” for walks. This way at the end of the month I can look at my progress and feel proud of my consistency!
Your plan doesn’t have to look just like this, pick the activities that work for you and that you will do on a consistent basis.
5. Get rid of the toxic stuff
This one comes in many different forms. As far as toxic relationships go, forgive and let go. Here I’m more so talking about people and things that don’t make me feel good. For instance, if I’m on Instagram and I see something that makes me upset or causes stress, I’m asking myself why I follow them. If I don’t have a really good reason, they’re off my feed. I also never watch the news because it is fear and stress inducing. Another little thing I’ve done is cut back on my time on social media which honestly is life changing in the best of ways.
I’m sure you can think of a few things that add a bit of toxicity to your day. Ask yourself if you can lessen the toxic load by turning off the tv, not surrounding yourself with a specific person etc. At the end of the day, I think we all want to be happy. Like really, really happy. So why interact with things and people that make us feel down?
There you have it, the five things I’m doing to uplevel my health. Do you have any healthy habits you’re working on? Tell me in the comments!