I don’t know about you, but with most things in life I need simple advice or I just won’t take action. Too much information or too many options overwhelm me and guess what happens… I do nothing!
There is so much information on health, exercise and nutrition which makes us feel overwhelmed and confused so we often don’t make any changes and stay exactly as we are. But when we are looking to make positive changes to our lifestyle, staying where we are is a problem.
I’ve done lots of research recently and there a few common themes that stand out. Here are my top three simple changes you can make right NOW to improve your health.
(This is an area of my life I am constantly trying to improve on – I need more sleep!)
Sleep is so important and probably the first thing we need to address as the optimum amount is 7-9 hours.
In addition to the quantity, we also want to pay attention to the quality of our sleep too. Not enough sleep and/or poor quality really messes with the hormones that that control our hunger, energy and cravings. Have you ever noticed how after a bad night sleep you crave carbs or sugary foods? It’s because your hormones are not balanced.
To get a good night sleep, dim the lights and avoid looking at your phone and watching TV for the two hours before you plan to sleep. Bright lights and phone screens decrease your melatonin levels which need to be higher at night for you to sleep well. Start a relaxing bedtime routine about an hour before you want to sleep. Calmly prepare for tomorrow, drink herbal tea (I like camomile), do some stretches, have a bath, read in bed then sleep. Just changing one thing and seeing what effect that has on your sleep is a good start – you can always add to your sleep routine when you feel ready.
TIP: If you are struggling to lose weight or notice your weight creeping up, review your sleep and make changes.
- Eat more protein
Including protein with breakfast, lunch and dinner will really make a difference. Foods with a high protein content will satisfy you and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
This will have many great benefits. Because you feel more satisfied from meals you will find you eat less. You will find you also make better food choices. I’ve recently changed my eating habits so that protein and vegetables are my focus at mealtimes and I have noticed a big difference in my satiety and food choices from doing so. I find foods that are high in fat and sugar trigger me to binge. So, by upping my protein I am less likely to crave those foods.
TIP: If you’re on the go a lot, carry some nuts or a protein bar with you to keep hunger at bay and avoid grabbing a high fat/sugar snack that will bring on cravings.
- General activity
Yep I’m mentioning that again! Moving more outside of fitness classes and training is so important. Going to fitness classes or the gym a few times a week then sitting down all day and evening is not good for your body. You need to keep moving. Not only is it good for your general health and wellbeing, it’s great for your brain health too.
There are many ways to incorporate more activity into your day. Plan your week and try to schedule some movement in.
As I type this, it’s a week into the summer holidays and I’ve put the mini bees in a holiday club so I can do all the admin I never normally get time to do. This means I am sitting down a lot! Every hour I am getting up and running up and down the stairs a few times or doing a minute of squats, lunges or press ups.
I’ve allocated an hour for lunch and after I have eaten I will go for a 10-20 minute walk. Not only will this keep me moving, it will also keep my mind focused on what I need to do and it will help me avoid the afternoon slump. With some thought and planning, it will become easier to fit more activity into your day too.
TIP: If you find yourself sat down a lot, you may want to set an alarm every 30-60 minutes to remind you to move.
Which of the three tips can you focus on first?
Remember, keep it simple and you can’t go wrong!
Let me know if you try any of the tips and how they work for you.
Thanks for reading!
Bee Fun Fitness