If you go on Instagram quite often – like me – going healthy can seem to be an actual challenge. Seeing these fitness bloggers doing crazy weight bearing or crossfit workouts can be really frightening and seem unachievable when you start from zero. Hopefully, getting to eat healthier and starting to exercise shouldn’t be as drastic as it seems. Learning to know your body can be quite a process: you need time to figure it all out and get used to your new healthy habits. So here are my top 10 tips to get on with it and start really slowly. These are the groundworks you need to get right before going for the next steps!
1.Drink water. Only water. Drinking fizzy and sugary drinks doesn’t do anything but weaken your body by making it fight to process and get rid of them. If you drink them regularly, don’t think twice: that’s the reason why you don’t have the energy to workout, or even to do anything, because everytime, your body shifts to a coma-mode while digesting them. Also: ditch the alcohol, which is not only full of sugar and makes you sluggish the next day, but makes you excrete all the water in your body. Indeed, alcohol inhibits the action of anti-diuretic hormones which work hard to keep your water levels steady in your body. That’s why you get dehydrated when drinking alcohol. In other words, water is totally under-rated: it is vital and paramount to life. Bear in mind that your blood for instance, but also lymph are essentially made of water, which basically enables things to move in your body. And believe me, that’s an absolute priority to keep you alive!
2. Buy organic. I know organic foods are not necessarily clean of any kind of bad things, but at least they’ve got less nasties than standard foods. When you think of pesticides, they’re made to kill. When you ingest them, you won’t notice anything but they will harm deep inside you at a molecular level. From here, you don’t want to think about the damage 20 years of eating pesticides can do…
3. Get cooking! Cooking means you’re able to control what will be in the final dish. How amazing is that knowing nowadays, ready-made food is full of so many nasty things that won’t do any good to yourself.
4. Make sure 2/3 of your plate is plants. That’s the secret to a balanced diet. And guess what? Too much veggies/fruits won’t harm you. And the good news is that if it’s more than two thirds, that’s more than ok! So don’t deprive yourself of meals made out of a majority of veggies 🙂
5. Go outside. Humans are not meant to be inside all the time. That’s just not healthy at all. Why not taking an hour to get lunch outside, or having a morning walk in the nearest park? You’ll then get the vitamin D we’re all lacking. That’s too bad knowing without it, we can’t absorb enough calcium to make healthy bones, contract our muscles and way more!
6. Walk (or exercise) daily. You all know moving is important. But why exactly? Well, for a lot of reasons. One of them is to make your body fluids (the water I was talking in point 1) move around your body, mainly blood and lymph. You heart pumps blood in arteries that bring oxygen and other nutrients to every part of your body. Then your blood has to go back to the heart again, but think of gravity: getting back to the heart is way more difficult that getting our of the heart, because blood pressure is low and gravity is pulling everything down. So, if you don’t move your muscles (which press your veins so that your blood can move upwards), your blood will get stuck in your bottom half. And that’s not good, to the point it can cause many cardiovascular diseases (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are not fun). So let’s exercise! And walking is the easiest way to do it!
7. Routine. Your body is a creature of habits and its daily cycle is regulated by specific hormones that kick in at precise times of the day and night to help you put you to sleep, wake up, have energy during the day, and so on. If your bed time for example varies constantly, it won’t help you hormones to understand when to be released. So why not trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time during two weeks in a row (making sure you get enough sleep) and see if you feel any better ? 🙂
8. Breathe properly. Did you know that taking 2 to 3 diaphragmatic breaths could shift your stress state? It will turn your sympathetic nervous system off (your stress response system) and turn your parasympathetic nervous system on (your calm and resting state). So try to remember to breathe (apnea is common these days) and breathe properly, this is to say with you belly and not with your shoulders. When you breathe with your shoulders and your chest, you contract accessory muscles in your neck and back, whereas if you breathe with your belly, you contract your proper respiratory muscles, the ones that are meant to make you breathe, and therefore enable you to breathe properly. If you lost the reflex to breathe with your belly, it can be quite hard to do it again. In that case, I highly recommend you trying meditation or yoga, they will massively help!
9. Go offline. Let’s be honest, we are slaves to our phones, computers, the internet, social media and the list goes on… Why not putting your phone on airplane mode and letting it in a corner of your flat, so that you can actually be present in the moment, pay attention to others, and letting go of everything? There’s nothing best than a digital detox, even if it is a one-hour session. Think of doing it at mealtime, after work, or during social times, to get that quality time that most of us are lacking!
10. Smile. Our behavior and attitude towards people, things and life in general is often responsible for a lot going wrong in what we do and in our bodies. Just try to have a more positive mindset and smile. This will change a lot in your enthusiasm and tolerance levels!