Here We Go…
Inquisitive health-seeker asks: “What should I do to get more healthy?”
Internet responds: “You need to do these 101 things every single day of your life so you don’t die tomorrow from living an unhealthy lifestyle. Number 1 is…”
Inquisitive health-seeker turns around crying, ready to run away because that answer SUCKED.
OK, I added that middle section about dying tomorrow, but seriously, check out the search results for “what to do to get healthy”…
Come on, just look at that last one!
Let’s be honest, the Internet is amazing and can teach you anything you would ever want to know, including how to ride a unicycle while balancing a red ball on your nose like a seal, but…
When it comes to health: the Internet is a jungle.
And that’s putting it politely considering the sheer amount of tips, tricks, and top 1,000 lists floating around out there.
I’m getting a panic attack just looking at “The 101 Best Things to Do for Your Body Now!”
That kind of stuff makes me want to lock all my doors and just sit in my room crying. All. Day.
It’s overwhelming, de-motivational, and completely unnecessary.
The truth is that you don’t have to carry around a list in your pocket of the 101 things you have to do today (or else risk dying from a lack of health) like a lot of articles on the Internet might lead you to believe.
It’s a lot more simple than that as long as you have the right lens to decide between healthy and unhealthy choices.
So let’s throw away all the pointless minutiae and look at how you can focus on what really matters, which is to:
“Eat fresh (just enough), drink water, move more, sleep well, & stress less”
That’s it! Good luck and talk to ya later!
Kidding, that’s definitely a loaded phrase, so let’s unpack it a bit right now, one by one, so you can start applying it to your own lifestyle!
*Warning: this is a massively long article because of the sheer amount of information I’m laying out for you, so feel free to skip around to the parts that are most relevant to you and then join my free Inner Circle at the end for followup fun directly in your inbox and to ask any questions you might have.
Eat Fresh (Just Enough)
Food can get pretty complicated…
“What foods do I eat, how often, at what times during the day, in what ratios of protein, carbs, and fats, and how do I cook all these healthy foods to make them taste good?!”
I have a certification in nutrition and trust me, nutrition can get pretty crazy if you let it.
But luckily, when you are just trying to eat more healthy to lose weight, feel better, or perform better at work, you don’t need to worry about the majority of the mumbo-jumbo you hear constantly.
You can keep it simple and make the most impactful changes first, that will take you towards your goals the fastest, then worry about all the other stuff down the line…if you want to.
So, back to “eat fresh (just enough).”
You’ve probably heard something like this before, and it’s simple:
Eat things that are fresh or minimally processed, and eat just enough of it to fuel yourself properly, but not so much that it fuels extra belly fat 😉
The simplest examples are to eat less fast food that’s passed to you through a window at the drive-through, entire frozen meals that come on plastic trays and magically cook after 2 minutes in the microwave, and things that are pre-packaged to sit on a shelf for months before you buy it.
Basically, to put it bluntly: eat less of the foods that are pushed onto you through commercials (let’s be honest with each other, you know what they’re trying to do).
Instead, eat foods that would spoil sitting on a shelf for months, meals that you actually know all the ingredients for, and things that are as close to being nature-made as possible.
A sample list of food categories include:
- Vegetables – you saw veggies coming from a mile away, but you can include frozen/canned for your convenience also to avoid constant grocery store trips
- Nuts – almonds, walnuts, etc.
- Legumes & beans – from snow peas to garbanzo beans, tons of options
- Meats – preferably poultry
- Seafood – salmon, tilapia, etc.
This will provide you with a ton of options, variety, and flavors to choose from and will shed fat quickly if you can stick to eating them the majority of the time (that might sound difficult to do, but I’ll break this down in future articles to make it much more simple and easy, so join the Inner Circle using the box on the right or below so I can email you those articles as they’re published).
AND, that list knocks out the majority of the foods at a typical grocery store also, so it actually makes grocery shopping way more easy now that you can skip 90% of the store!
[There’s obviously a lot more to go over when it comes to food, but that’s for the future!]
Boom! There you have it!
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about how important water is for you, but have you heard of the…um, pee test?
Yep, seriously, it’s all about the pee test.
The first time I heard about the almighty pee test was during a SCUBA diving certification class because being properly hydrated is key to preventing all sorts of intense illnesses that can come with being crazy enough to jump into the ocean with nothing but a tank of air on your back…
I digress, but back on land, being properly hydrated can make you feel more energetic, healthy, and just plain awesome!
On the other hand, being dehydrated can cause a lot of problems internally along with making you feel tired all the time.
Luckily, in the spirit of keeping it ultra-simple, all you have to do is drink just enough water to pee clear.
Clear pee is how you know that you are properly hydrated.
So, drink enough water to make sure you are peeing clear, then keep drinking enough to maintain that clear pee.
A side note about trying to follow a fixed cup recommendation is that proper water intake can vary day by day since something as simple as running or being in the heat longer will use up water, making your body require more than usual.
Meaning, proper water intake can vary often, so just go with the flow and use the pee test (pun intended)!
This one is another well-publicized recommendation and I’ve talked about why you should exercise in depth already, so check it out if you haven’t yet.
My gift to you, I’ve also already laid out a simple routine that you can follow to get more exercise in during your day using 10 minute at home workouts, so moving more can be a lot easier than you might think (lucky you)!
But, moving more isn’t just about getting in exercise during your day.
It’s as simple as being active, in the most general sense, which could also mean going for a morning run during sunrise, winding down at night with a walk during sunset, or something more intense like a weekend kayaking trip (don’t forget my invitation, pretty please)!
Even something as simple as standing while you work and taking short 5 minute walking/jogging-in-place breaks every hour or so can make a huge difference to get you moving more and also give you the added bonus of beating the slow death from sitting.
To give you a real-life example of this (because I trust you) and so you can see how much of a weirdo I am, here’s a behind the scenes look at my current standing desk at home where I am writing this article for you right now:
It’s probably the most hacked together standing desk made from random boxes you could possibly imagine, but hey, it works health wonders for me and I “built” it in 10 minutes!
And, I’m so strange that I will literally stand at this “desk” working for 25 minutes while holding a yoga tree pose (that’s pretty much what I look like, well, minus everything except the pose & facial expression at times, kidding!), then jog around my house, stretch, exercise, eat, or whatever I want to do for a 5 minute break (using the Pomodoro time-management technique).
Sounds strange (I’m the one doing it and I’ll still admit that it’s kinda odd), but it has helped me avoid back/wrist pain, keep me lower body flexible, and get in a lot more exercise than I used to when I would sit at a desk.
All in all, creativity is key here (not with the desk, with moving more), so start thinking, get a little weird if you need to, and start moving regularly!
I know you’ve heard this one a thousand times before, so I don’t want to bore you with the excruciatingly dull scientific details behind why you should sleep enough (even though I personally always love reading page-turner sleep books like this one from the Harvard Medical School; another day perhaps?).
I’ll spare you the details and all I’ll mention about the benefits is that it can (most obviously) make you feel genuinely energetic while also reducing your dependence on caffeine or injectable stimulants (ever heard of vitamin b12 injections? Yeah, it’s seriously a thing), avoid the dreaded sleep-deprivation induced irritability (I get this all the time and you would hate to be around me when I’m sleep-deprived, I’ll admit it), and even boost your brain’s performance in a lot of areas including memory functioning.
So, you know you need to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible, but it’s still really difficult, isn’t it?
I’m no exception to this and we all have the same difficulty with going to sleep on time so we can wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
But, through many years of researching and experimenting with sleep, I’ve finally been able to crack the sleep code and picked up some pretty awesome techniques along the way.
For now, here are 2 that work wonders for me. They’re both extremely simple and you can start using them today to make quick leaps towards finally mastering sleep for yourself.
Don’t sleep in.
I know that sucks to hear and I love sleeping in too, but it’s the bitter truth.
Forcing myself to wake up at the exact same time every single morning, 7 days a week, is what keeps my sleep schedule in check.
As an example, when I stay up late and don’t get enough sleep one night, I wake up feeling like a zombie and end the day miserably tired, BUT because of that, nothing can stop me from clawing my way to bed ASAP at night!
And when I inevitably break my own rules and stay up late again, this cycle forces me to face the harsh reality of sleep-deprivation without the crutch of sleeping in and makes me seriously prioritize getting quality sleep every single night.
No joke. You start taking your bed time way more seriously when you know you can’t sleep in, which leads me to number 2…
Go to sleep when you yawn at night.
Super simple and extremely powerful when you follow this.
If you have a fixed wake-up time in the morning, your body will adapt over time and do everything in its power to make sure you get your butt in bed early enough at night in order to be fully rested at morning wake-up.
For me, when I feel tired at night, usually cued by my first yawn, or just a heavy head that doesn’t want to stay on my shoulders, I drop everything and start my night-time routine to prepare for lights out.
Then, once my head hits the pillow and I’m tucked away all cozy in my bed, I fall asleep immediately.
Simple as that; wake up at a fixed time and go to sleep when your body says you’re tired.
Easiest 2 tricks to make sure you’re maximizing your health benefits from sleep and also making sleep a priority by using a bit of tough love on yourself.
This is a huge part of life that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so let’s dive right into it.
Chronic stress has a ton of negative effects on our bodies and minds.
But, only if we let it.
Once upon a time (actually, just a few years ago), I had chronic stress levels to the point where a blood test found that I had elevated levels of stress hormones running around wreaking havoc in my body.
At that point in my life, I had let chronic stress take such a firm hold on me that I was left with a massively fatigued brain that hurt all the time – it literally ached all the time even when all I was trying to do was relax – and a body that was physically drained of all its energy.
All I could really do back then was sleep in an attempt to recover and regain my energy and get my health back to where I could actually function.
All of that acted as the firm slap to the face I needed to, well, get my s*** straight…for lack of a better word (I never curse, but this situation definitely deserves it).
And I was able to do just that, and then some:
Now I have even more energy than I’ve ever had in my entire life along with health that I can count on to allow me to life my life fully.
To show you how far I’ve come and the things I’m now capable of doing, here’s a picture from an 18 mile hike (I tracked it; I’m weird and track everything) that showed me the beauty of 3 waterfalls, a cascade, and thousands of enormous redwood trees:
But sadly, at the end of the day, stress is complicated (especially because there is actually bad stress AND good stress), so for now, here are 3 simple ways you can start reining in your stress:
Take a good, hard look at things and figure out what’s REALLY stressing you out.
Without knowing the true cause of your stress, how the heck are you supposed to manage it?
Sometimes it’s obviously that huge project you’re working on that’s causing you massive amounts of blinding stress, but sometimes it can even feel more like a vague thought or emotion that’s stressing you out, along with every combination in between.
Side note: if you’re only feeling a small fire under your butt from the stress that’s keeping you working efficiently to get your project done, no worries, use it to your advantage to push hard until the finish line (and hopefully well-deserved success and high-fives soon after it).
When it’s a vague thought or emotion, taking a step back and doing something like writing in a journal can help you zoom out enough to clear you mind and really get down to the true cause.
And even if it’s a project, dig a bit deeper and figure out why this project is getting to you so much, what about it isn’t jiving well, if there are any larger implications that might be attached to your work on it that’s dragging you down, or anything else you can think of.
By figuring out exactly what’s causing you the stress, now you can start finding ways to cope with it using the next 2 strategies.
Get clarity and create a clear course of action.
Clarity can do wonders when it comes to getting a handle on stress and can even help turn overwhelming, bad stress into motivational, good stress (I’ve recently found out how to tap into this “magical power” and it’s insanely awesome when it all clicks into place…there’ll definitely be more on this in the future).
So, clear your mind and focus only on what you can actually do to move the needle forward.
Talk to someone, vent your frustrations, or just write about your situation to start taking control of the stress and to stare it in the face.
Then, focus on what’s in your control, what you need to do to create the best work possible, or how you can actively address the overwhelmed feeling you have.
Once you’ve done this and have a clear path in your mind of what you need to do to overcome the stress, you’re already starting to beat it.
Stress doesn’t have to run your life if you learn how to run along-side with, using it to your advantage.
But, when it starts closing in on you again…
Give yourself a time-out.
It’s OK to go through ups and downs and you can (and should) take 5 minutes to cool off and regain your composure when it happens.
Go for a walk, addressing all the thoughts that come into your head to calm your racing mind; clear your mind by focusing on breathing deeply to fill your lungs, letting your worried thoughts melt away; or just do something FUN to reward yourself for being awesome.
That’s All For Now!
This was just a quick (but not so quick) intro to give you a lens that you can use to start building greater health and living life to the fullest.
Now you should have a way more clear idea of what to really focus on to get healthy, which is to:
“Eat fresh (just enough), drink water, move more, sleep well, & stress less”
So, throw out the 101 things you “have to do every single day to be healthy” and instead focus the big things that actually matter for your health and happiness.
I’m just getting warmed up and I’ll be writing more fun articles answering questions that I get all the time from busy people trying to get healthy, including how to cook quickly and conveniently, how to make healthy eating actually taste good, and a ton more (including any questions you send me…invitation below).
Best of all, I’ll be sharing random wacky, but insightful, health stories to really spice up your journey to greater health.
So join in on the fun by introducing yourself to me below and joining my free Inner Circle.
P.S. Once you’re in, I’ll send you a question to mull over, so get ready to share your story with me (if you’d like) so I can join you on your journey to health and happiness!
P.P.S. What’d you think of this massive guide? Let me know by emailing me through the Inner Circle or commenting below with your comments and questions!
Talk to you soon,