I just want to start this post by saying I’m not a health guru, and I know this isn’t a party post, but I’m sure you’ve noticed a bit of a change in the blog to highlight some healthier party options. There is good reason! Over the past few years, I’ve cleared some health hurdles and I really want to spread the word how I did it because for the first time in forever, I FEEL GOOD. And I think everyone else deserves to feel great as well if they don’t already.
My healthy journey started when I was convinced by some friends to do a two-mile race…that has taken baby steps to running eight half marathons and (now) training for the Chicago Marathon a few years later. The running prompted my better eating and other healthier habits; not everyone is going to tie on running shoes as their change-in-lifestyle catalyst, but it was mine. I hope you find some inspiration to find your catalyst in this post!
Changing to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be an all at once thing. I think when you start with one or two things you want to change, then keep doing them until they’re habits, you have a better chance to kick-start a happier healthier life. Feeling good, and feeling healthy is the best reason to celebrate.One of the products I’ve long used for recovering on runs and just in my diet in general are Silk Coconutmilk and Silk Almondmilk — they’re great to cook with (see my Coconut Curry, No-Grain Oatmeal, Berry Ice Cream and Chocolate Pudding recipes!) and I don’t mind just pouring a glass to drink every once in awhile.
Ten Ways to Kick-Start a Healthier and Happier Life
1. Cut out the sugar.
Probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but you really don’t need refined sugar. Natural sugars in fruits and honey are ok, but the white stuff seriously saps energy. You’ll be happier without it, trust! My favorite Silk Almondmilk comes unsweetened; its 30 awesome unsugared calories per serving and the Coconutmilk is only 45!
2. Find out what foods you may be allergic to.
This was the biggest eye opener ever! We usually don’t really know what we’re allergic or intolerant of eating because we’re so used to eating it all the time. Instead of our bodies working on making us feel energetic and great, they’re working on fighting inflammation and lots of other things that have to do with food they don’t like being fed. Take a test at the doctor’s, or go on an elimination diet like Whole 30 for a month and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Gluten is my big bad monster now, and I have a pretty low tolerance for dairy–but totally not the end of the world, I like the Silk Almondmilk and Coconutmilks better in my coffee anyway!
3. Eat whole foods.
It’s hard to put unidentifiable ingredients into a carrot stick. If it didn’t come almost directly from an animal or plant, question whether you should really be eating it! Your body will thank you. Also, know where your food comes from and how comfortable you are with it’s source. GMOs are a hot topic (but all Silk products are GMO-free, so breathe easy!)
4. Read labels.
There shouldn’t be a ton of unpronounceable ingredients in your food, just the basic building blocks! Going back to point 1, sugar is smuggled into some pretty crazy places in processed food, so be aware of what is in the box.
5. Plan your meals.
If you know what you’re going to eat for the day, and have made arrangements for said food to be prepared, you’re far less likely to eat stuff that’s not good for you or over eat. Bad food makes you feel yucky, not happy.
5. Get moving!
You don’t need to get out and run 10 miles to get credit for moving. Walk around the block, park at the back of the parking lot instead of the front, take the stairs—there are a million little things you can do every day just to make sure your body moves more and sits less. Once you have some endurance built up, you can work up to some more strenuous sort of moving!
6. Find an exercise buddy.
Being accountable to showing up to meet someone else is huge motivation and is going to get you out to exercise. Even at 5am on a Saturday morning when you’d rather be sleeping. (And if they know where you live like my running buddies do, they have no problem getting you out of bed if you’re not up!)
7. Cut down on toxic things in your life.
Bad energy, negative feelings, those too, but I mean your household cleaners and other things you live with. It’s not always possible (or affordable) to get detoxed furniture and cleaners, but every little bit you can get rid of in your house is going to mean less toxic exposure and going to be better for you! Baking soda and vinegar are cheap miracle workers, and there are tons of lines of organic-type cleaners out there that don’t have harsh ingredients.
I was reading a book on happiness the other day, The Happiness Project, and the number one thing the author did to improve her happiness was get enough sleep every night. For me this is still a work in progress, but 8 solid hours of rest make a person happier, and is reported to prevent a number of bodily maladies. Adequate rest is something we should all shoot for!
9. Make healthy goals.
Even though the by-product of all the getting healthy I’ve done was losing 30 pounds or so, I never focused on those numbers. Setting healthy goals like adding a veggie to every meal, getting rid of sodas in the house, running a 5k or signing up for a bike race help make lifestyle changes you’re more likely to continue that lead to healthier bodies.
10. Be a role model to your kids.
This one was killer for me. You don’t eat your veggies? Neither will your kids. You sit on the couch all the time? So will your children. I’ve watched my children’s habits change along with my own as I’ve become a better healthy role model for them. My kids run races with me and are (mostly) making good food choices on their own. If it helps you get on your healthy/happy journey, think of how your kids are going to be affected by a healthier/happier you.
There’s so much more you can do, but I feel just squeezing in one new healthy happy change at a time really does add up to a big difference in the end.
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.