Five ways you can have a healthier day
This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. Thanks for supporting our sponsors.
If you’ve been around the blog any time at all, you know that I’m all about being healthy for the long haul. That means no crash diets or cleanses, no extreme fitness programs and no all-or-nothing approaches. I’m not into labels, and I’m not into a “no-days-off” mindset. I’ve learned this the hard way through many years of working out too much, and now I’m a changed (and healthier) lady, who lives for rest days. (You can find out more about that in my ebook “Fit and Fertile,” by the way.)
But, I don’t want to sit here and tell you what to believe or which program or philosophy you should follow. I want you to be empowered to make your own decisions, but know that you don’t have to seek hardcore extremes to feel better, to look better and ultimately to get healthier. And you also don’t have to go Paleo or gluten free just to feel like you are part of the wellness world. In fact, you can make super small steps each day to improve your overall well-being, and yet, still eat ice cream and lay on the couch sometimes and be considered perfectly healthy. Take it from me! Here we go …
Five ways you can have a healthier day
Here’s how you can have a healthier day, and maybe you can pick out a few of these things and do just one to start for the first week, then you can add on another thing, and next thing you know, you’ve adopted a few new or different healthy habits to your routine in less than a month. (But only if these ideas work for you and for your life. If they don’t, then don’t do them.)
1. Drink an entire glass of room temperature water as soon as you get up in the morning.
Trust me on this one. It will start your day off better, if you clear out your system and start the hydration process immediately upon rising, before anything else (keep a big glass ready by your bed-side). Over the course of the night, your body produces a lot of toxins, and if you drink a big glass of water as soon as you wake up, you’ll speed up the process of moving those toxins out of your system. And don’t let the water consumption stop there — keep drinking a lot of water throughout the day — maybe even more than you think you need. You’ll have so much more energy if you approach the day hydrated.
2. When you leave the house, pack healthy protein-filled snacks or a bring home-made lunch with you to work.
Did you know that some fitness professionals think that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to your overall health? It’s true. And almost all of those fitness professionals will tell you that if you make your own food or bring your own snacks, you are much more likely to eat something healthier than if you buy food while you’re out and about. And they will also tell you that you can’t out-train a bad diet. (By the way, I think that being religious about bringing your food is for everyday occurrences like work, etc., I’m not talking about when you are on a trip or a vacation, when clearly, you can get every meal out and that’s totally okay).
While you don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen meal-prepping to plan out every single morsel you will consume (but if you want some inspiration for meal prep, here’s my plan for five days of healthy lunches, and here are time-saving tips in the kitchen too), all you have to do is bring leftovers from dinner the night before for your lunch at work the next day, rather than swinging through a drive-through, or you can even bring a few easily assembled items, like hard-boiled eggs, an avocado and some nuts to make a healthy meal in a pinch. (Fun fact: When working in an office just last year, for nearly six months, I ate the same thing every single lunch. I would bring four hard-boiled eggs and a ripe avocado. That combination meant I didn’t have to prep anything at all (the hard-boiled eggs were store-bought), so I just packed it up and mixed it together when it was time to eat.)
Snacking is important too. If you know you have a busy day and will be going from one activity to the next, packing a protein bar or a protein shake to fill you up will make it so that you aren’t too tempted to hit the vending machine or a fast food place during your “hangry” time of need. For this, Dave and I have had a stash of Premier Protein ready-to-drink shakes and bars all year, and he goes through them so darn quickly, I can hardly get my hands on them — the flavors are amazing, but I think we’re both partial to chocolate and banana. But needless to say, we’re always prepared with snacks. If it’s not a bar or a shake, it’s a bag of trail mix and some fruit and always a bottle of water. Preparation is key!
3. Spend some time outside. Go for a short walk, without your phone, and bonus points if you can put your feet in the grass, and let your mind wander in silence for a moment.
Fresh air, vitamin D, silence and walking in nature are all good for your soul and for your health. There are numerous studies that show that there are true healing effects from spending time in or around a forest or collection of trees and greenery, and it can lower your cortisol (that’s the stress hormone, and you don’t want too much of it to maintain your healthy balance). While I realize that you may not have access to a lot of green-space during your day or work day, or you may be in an urban setting, that doesn’t mean you can’t go for a lunch-time walk to clear your head, even in a concrete jungle. You’ll at least get fresh air and sunshine that way.
If you have a chance to find a patch of grass, take your shoes off and put your feet directly on the grass. There’s a special thing called “grounding or earthing,” and when your feet touch the earth, you get more of those calming properties transmitted from the soil up and through your body — it’s like magic. Also, spending a little time each day without technology is a beautiful gift for your mindset too. We all deserve it, and it’s part of the overall picture of health, even if it doesn’t have to do with food or fitness, per say.
4. Add some organic movement to your day, outside of your regular exercise.
Yes, exercise is good, but even if you spend an hour working out each day, that will not counteract an entire day of sitting. To truly up the healthy factor of your day, find a new way to add some organic movement. That means taking the stairs to your office rather than the elevator; or getting off one stop early from public transit, so you have to walk a little longer to your destination (Dave does this a lot, so I’ll credit him for this tip); or initiate a walking meeting, rather than a conference room meeting.
If you don’t go to an office each day, you can still get active by making your phone calls while on a walk, rather than sitting down. You can take your dog on an extra loop rather than watching TV. You can also practice parking further away from the store entrance while grocery shopping, or even sit on a stability ball in your home office, rather than in a chair, which will force you to use your ab muscles to sit up straight. (Speaking of posture, focusing on sitting up straight or standing up straight with your shoulders back and down is important all day long, because it sure helps your appearance and helps you maintain healthy neck and back alignment too. Think about one straight line running along the side of your body, from your ear, to your shoulder, to your hips, to make sure your spine and neck are properly stacked.)
There are so many ways to add activity to your daily life. No matter what you do, try to get up from your sitting position at least once an hour to move around. Fill up your water bottle, do 10 bodyweight squats or take a flight of stairs to keep your body in motion organically. It will help your energy levels, help your mobility and even burn some calories too.
5. Take a minute to authentically connect with others and connect with yourself too.
Now this one seems fluffy, doesn’t it? But hear me out: Having good social relationships is important for your overall well-being. And practicing a little self-love and gratitude is also important. So maybe you call a friend on the phone to catch up (gasp, a phone call, not a text), or you spend a few minutes in the mirror, telling yourself what you are most proud of in yourself. However you want to do it, know that connection, real human connection and appreciating yourself, will make you healthier. These things make you happier. These things make you better. So don’t forget the people aspect to your life, and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for doing a great job at being you!
There you have it in five small steps! Just choose one and go for it tomorrow or even today. Then, you can add on from there. And remember: Being healthy is not always about extremes or perfection or even six-pack abs, it’s about moving, breathing, being mindful, hydrating, nourishing your body with mostly good stuff and appreciating everything you have in your life. Go off and be well, my friends!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Premier Protein — a company all about giving you convenient products so you can have the energy and protein you need to have a great day, every day. While I received complimentary product and compensation, all words and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the A Lady Goes West sponsors.
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Questions of the day
What’s your favorite small step to get healthier?
How often do you take a walk without your phone?
What’s your favorite on-the-go snack?
Love these and totally agree with you that being healthy doesn’t mean you need to label your diet or follow a certain exercise program. I could never so no to rest days, ice cream, and pizza.
My favorite on the go snacks are protein bars or raw almonds. 🙂
Hi Patricia! Me too! I used to always buy the individual packages of raw almonds from Trader Joe’s, and I’ve recently switched to cashews — SUCH a treat hehehe! Happy Wednesday, fit lady! So glad you’re not into the labels either!
Girl I love these! I’ve never thought to keep a glass of water by my bed so I drink it right away but I’ll try it for a few days and see how it helps. My favorite small thing that I do every day is to drink a ton of water. I have a water bottle with a straw and it helps me drink so much more water than a normal glass does. And by drinking so much water, I get up from my desk at least once an hour to go to the bathroom and refill it. Have a great day!
Hi Maureen! Some people aren’t into straws — I started using one early on in my pregnancy to help me drink more water, and I really do think it helps! I’m so glad you are hydrated and moving, lady! Keep it up, and let me know if you like that early morning drink!
Great tips! I keep a glass of water by the bed and it is awesome to wake up to. I like to take hardboiled eggs and fruit to snack on at work. I need a little bit of a protein/carb combo to feel satisfied. Hope you have a good day!
Hi Emily! Hard-boiled eggs do not get the love that they need. I mean, I could totally eat them plain or with just a little sea salt — SO delish and like the perfect little protein snack. Happy Wednesday, lady!
I always say start with veggies. I always start with a salad and have baby carrots before a snack!
Hi Susie! I think it would be hard to have too many veggies, so your motto is definitely a good one. I will say that there have been times in my pregnancy where my veggie intake has been very lacking … hahah OH WELL! 🙂
Great tips! I definitely drink tons of water during the day, which in turn makes me go downstairs at work to fill it up at the filtered machine so I’m getting some extra stairs in too!
Hi Ashley! Love it! That’s the beauty of being hydrated — you have to get up a lot to fill up the water — and you have to get up a lot to go to the bathroom. A win/win! 🙂 Have a great day, lady!
These are EXCELLENT tips– and not hard to do, but add up to a big difference! I must say, I’m feeling a little proud because I did some of them yesterday! My husband and I went on a walk with no phones and just enjoyed a chat. I am OBSESSIVE about having snacks (healthy) whenever I leave the house for more than 5 minutes…..it’s pretty sad that I know my hunger will strike at any second. I love Quest Bars or a protein shake like this one!
Hi Madeline!! A no phones walk with your hubs is AWESOME! We need to do that more – it forces you to connect and pay attention, and that’s important. And I’m with you on always having snacks — no need to get into an emergency hahaha! Happy Wednesday, my friends!
love these approachable tips esp about making it flexible to fit your lifestyle..
Hi Dixya! Thanks, lady! Healthy living is DEFINITELY not one-size-fits all. Hope you’re having a great day!
Love your point about movement outside of exercise, it’s so true. At our dietetic conference earlier this year, we heard a cardiovascular expert speak about how planned exercise can’t undo the dangers of sitting all day. Even getting up for 5 minutes an hour at work to move around leads to 40 minutes of movement. While your not getting your heart rate up like planned exercise, you’re reaping the cardiovascular benefits and most of all, sitting less. I loved his talk. Great point!
Hi Sarah! It’s SCARY how bad sitting can be for us, yet we need to be sedentary so much to use the computer and do work. I’m sitting on a stability ball right now, and that definitely helps! I like that 5 minutes idea!
I love this. Also great call to leave the water on your bedside table overnight….I always wake up wanting to drink water but can’t chug cold water. Duh! I’m sure you didn’t mean that to be the most helpful part of the post – ha – but there you go!
Hi Stephanie! hahah! I can’t chug cold water either, so there you go! Glad you liked that tip!
Amazing tips!!! Starting tomorrow I will start drinking a full glass of water when I first wake up! I also LOVE hiking through the woods with my boyfriend! It’s my favourite thing to do when we have downtime. And disconnecting while doing it is the best! I used to always bring my cell phone for potential photo ops but last Christmas he got me a real camera and ever since we just go out with it in hand and it’s been great! No more interruptions during our down time together! Besides most of the things we were being interrupted for weren’t emergencys and could wait until we got back to the car to respond. Also love the last tip! I think people underestimate how important human interaction is and what it does for the mental physici. Great tips and completely doable things! ❤️❤️❤️
Hi lady! A real camera! Woohoo! I got one this year too, which is so nice for taking good pictures — and also means you don’t need your phone. Phones can be such a distraction. I hope you enjoy drinking water in the morning! Let me know! 🙂
I drink lots of water during the day. I even keep a large bottle of water by my bedside in case I am thirsty during the night.
Getting fresh air and the sun for vitamin D is important. Unfortunately, the sun is scarce where I live, so I end up having to supplement with vitamin D.
One thing I would like to add for mental health is to meditate 5-10 mins in the morning before starting work. It calms the mind and provides a positive outlook for the day.
Hi Leo! Totally — meditation is very important, and it’s something I really should do more of. Glad you’re hydrating and working with some healthy habits already. 🙂