With January in full swing and New Year’s resolutions on the horizon, I wanted to share my top 7 game changing health habits to kick start 2021. We often think about making BIG changes to improve our health, but in reality, there are a lot of smaller changes we can make that are just as effective! Try implementing some of these new health habits into your daily life and notice how quickly you start to feel back on track with your health, weight loss, mood and sleep.
Staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining the function of every system in our body. This includes our brain, muscles and heart. Fluids help carry nutrients to our cells, detoxify our system and prevent constipation among many other things. Many adults do not consume enough fluids on a daily basis and therefore risk chronic dehydration. Aim to drink 2 litres or 8 glasses of water every day and make this easier on yourself by carrying around a reusable water bottle.
Tip – if you feel thirsty, you are likely already dehydrated so make sure to sip on water throughout the entire day.
PERIODS OF FASTING TO PROMOTE WEIGHT LOSS
Humans are not meant to eat every hour around the clock. We are a society that likes to graze constantly throughout the day when we are not even hungry. This can easily lead to overeating and digestive disturbances. Small periods of fasting have shown to be beneficial for sleep, digestion, weight loss and mood and this is something I suggest to the majority of my clients. An easy way to get started is to eat breakfast at around 8:00am and finish eating dinner by 7:00pm. Cut out the late-night snacking and just like that you’ve done a 13 hour fast. Giving your body time to rest and digest overnight will optimize your quality of sleep as well as balance your blood sugar levels and promote weight loss.
There has been a lot of buzz in the media about going plant-based and I am here to tell you that it is both easy and affordable and does not mean you have to be a strict vegetarian. A plant-based diet means primarily consuming foods that come from plants and do not include animal ingredients. One of the most powerful changes you can make in your diet to improve your health, prevent chronic disease and increase your energy levels is to move to a plant-based diet. Substituting packaged foods and processed carbohydrates for leafy greens and vegetables is an easy starting point when transitioning to a plant-based diet.
To learn more about plant-based options and transitioning to a whole foods diet, contact Shulman Health & Weight Loss for more information.
REST & RELAXATION
Rest and relaxation are crucial and most often forgotten in the busyness of our lives and packed schedules. If you haven’t heard of the term “burnout” before, it is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It is more important than ever to make time to rest our bodies and minds to maintain our health and immune system function. Watching television for 3 hours before bed is not actually relaxing, it is merely a distraction from the way you are feeling. Try a yoga class, meditation or reading a good book before bed and whenever possible, turn off your phone for some much needed undisturbed peace and quiet.
OPTIMAL SLEEP FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Optimal sleep duration looks different for everyone – some people feel amazing on 6 hours of sleep and others need 8 or more to feel rejuvenated. Try to get to sleep before midnight and wake up when the sun rises. This is a natural way to regulate your circadian rhythm and keep a proper bedtime routine. Staying off electronics and reducing your blue light exposure before bed is another way to optimize your quality of sleep.
Research shows that when you’re short on sleep, you are tempted to skip exercise, resort to sugar and caffeine for energy, experience cravings for high carbohydrate foods and that your impulse control mechanisms are impaired. This means that a sleepy brain is more likely to make poor decisions surrounding food and exercise which over time can lead to weight gain and decreased quality of life.
One of the main game changers that I suggest to all my clients is going grain-free at dinner. Typically we eat rice, bread, pasta and various other grains at dinner and this often leads to stubborn weight gain and indigestion. Eating your grains during the day and going grain-free at dinner promotes weight loss, reduces inflammation, improves blood sugar levels and aids in digestion. This one change makes the world of a difference to my clients so give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how you feel!
For some grain-free dinner ideas, check out the Shulman Health & Weight Loss blog post here.
SUPPORT GUT HEALTH
Digestive system problems like heartburn, bloating, constipation and gas often reflect other issues going on in your body. Your gut is made up of a complex ecosystem of bacteria that governs the majority of the vital processes that occur in your body on a daily basis. One of my favourite ways to support a proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut is through the use of a probiotic supplement. If you’ve ever been on antibiotics, experienced food poisoning, often feel sick and rundown or suffer from digestive upset, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your routine.
Eating prebiotic-rich foods also helps increase the friendly bacteria in your gut and some of my favourites are chicory root, dandelion greens, asparagus, leeks and garlic. Consider adding these into your weekly diet to aid in digestion and immune system function.
Like what you’ve read? For additional resources and individualized support, please reach out to book an appointment at one of my weight loss clinics.