When my patients come looking to make healthy lifestyle changes, I first say there is no better time than the present! The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of health. People who take the time to focus on their health live longer, happier lives.
Let’s get clear about how you want to feel.
How to set your health game plan
GET CLEAR – What does peak health mean to you? How do you want to feel? Do you want to feel well-nourished, energized, mentally clear, and full of life, with plenty of energy to explore the activities you love? Getting specific about how you want to feel will help you get clear on the action steps needed to get there.
EXAMPLE: If you want to feel more energized, perhaps choosing a new movement practice or lifestyle habit (like going to bed earlier) would be an excellent action to hone in on.
START SMALL – Start with small, attainable action steps and goals when you are clear on how you want to feel. Choose something that you know you can commit to. Our brains are wired for success, and you will more likely stick with something if you are “winning.”
EXAMPLE: Start out with a workout routine 1–2 days a week, as opposed to jumping into a workout every day, and increase it from there.
BUDDY UP – Accountability requires a team effort to help keep us on track. If you have a friend or loved one willing to be your accountability buddy and join in on this new goal, that extra presence and support can help you follow through.
EXAMPLE: If you want to drink more water daily, and your friend is on board with being your accountability buddy, you can check on each other throughout the day, celebrating each other in your hydration wins.
Health plan inspiration
A sedentary lifestyle increases health risks such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers, so make movement a top priority. Peak health also leads to improved mood and mental well-being.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Taking a daily after-meal walk or doing a 10–20-minute yoga routine (find them on YouTube for every body type and experience level) are simple ways to up your movement. You can also park further away from the store to get the extra steps in, take the stairs, walk while you talk on the phone, or have a dance break between work meetings. Trust me, a dance break or a good stretch between work meetings will energize you and fill your mind with creativity.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
When we get too hungry, our blood sugar and energy levels drop, so this is why meal planning is critical to peak health. Peak health gives us the capacity to do all the things we love.
To set yourself up for balance in the kitchen, having the essential food groups on hand will make meal prepping a breeze. A well-balanced diet includes protein, fibre, whole grains, and healthy fats. Choose your favourites from each, and prepare them when you have time, so you can mix and match them in dishes throughout the week. Your menu doesn’t have to be written in stone and can evolve as the days go by, but having the basics covered will go a long way when you’re tired at the end of the day. For example, cooking lots of chicken or lentils on Monday, so you have protein on hand to top a rice bowl or salad, will free you up to make great choices when you’re super hungry.
SUPPORT YOUR GUT Having dietary supplements on hand makes supporting your gut health even easier. The second brain in your body is your gut, which makes a healthy microbiome crucial for health, mood, and well-being.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains pectin, a prebiotic fibre that aids digestion, encourages good bacteria, and clears excess cholesterol from the gut. ACV is excellent support for a healthy gut. You can buy ACV in a concentrated liquid, which you can incorporate into recipes or take in capsule form as a dietary supplement.
I hope this helps inspire new movement and nourishment to get you on the path to peak health. Find an accountability buddy and give them a high five – you’ve got this!