Making Health a Priority

elements of a healthy lifestyleOne of my main goals this year is to focus on my health, both physical and mental.

In general, I’d say I’m a pretty healthy person, but I could stand to make a few changes and improvements. I turned 30 last fall, and while that’s still young, I think now is the time to really start taking my health more seriously. Here are the things I’m doing to make my health a priority this year:

Fitness

Last summer, I had a daily fitness routine that I followed, and I started eating more of a Paleo based diet (mostly inspired by Nerd Fitness). It was all going so well for several weeks, and then it just sort of fell apart as the stress and preparation for our move took over.

Recently, I found the motivation to workout again. I’m doing body weight exercises, which are perfect because they don’t require you to spend any money! I take a break in the afternoons to do my routine. You don’t need any equipment and you don’t need to spend a dime to do a basic body weight workout. Youtube has tons of good videos if you do a quick search.

On the days when I work out, I feel so much better mentally. I get a sense of accomplishment for having stuck with my plan, and I sleep better at night because I’ve really worked my muscles and tired myself out. Sitting behind a computer for hours on end really does take a toll, so making time to exercise is very important to me.

Diet

This long and cold winter has been a great excuse for going to town on sweets, especially over the holidays. I just can’t seem to quit my brownies habit… But I know that it’s time to cut back on sugar, difficult as it may be.

I liked a lot about the Paleo diet, so I want to incorporate elements of it again. I don’t want to cut out carbs completely, but cutting back would be good.

It’s much easier to eat better in the summer when fresh produce is in season. We’ll be making more salads and eating lighter meals as the weather warms up.  I’ve never worried about my weight too much; my main goal is just to feel better, and not so sluggish and blah. Food choices definitely play a big part in how we feel.

Staying Hydrated

I drink one cup of coffee every morning and water the rest of the day, but even still, I don’t drink enough of it. Sometimes I have to remind myself to fill a glass even when I’m not eating. Proper hydration is essential to good health.

I frequently suffer from migraines, and I think a lack of H20 could possibly be contributing to that. At the very least, it isn’t helping. I’m making a conscious effort to increase my daily water intake.

If you have trouble drinking enough water, just add some lemon or cucumber slices to a pitcher and keep it in the fridge. I like to add a slice of lemon when I find myself bored with the taste of plain old tap.

Doctor Visits

Now that we’ve got a new health insurance plan, I’m looking forward to making the rounds to doctor’s offices. Shamefully, I haven’t had so much as a basic check-up in a few years. My excuse? I didn’t really feel comfortable seeing a doctor when living abroad because of the language barrier. I feel like a lot would have been lost in translation.

Call me crazy, but I’m actually excited to start scheduling appointments, having my questions and concerns addressed, and doing whatever needs to be done to make sure I’m in good health. Man, I really must be getting older!

So that’s what I’m doing to make my health a priority this year. My main goal is really just to feel better than I have in a long time.

I used to be a pretty active person, staying on my feet much of the day. Since I started working from home, my activity levels have dropped. I want to start feeling my very best and putting forth the effort, everyday. Now is the time to make the change.

Did you set any health or fitness goals for this year?

*image by Stuart Miles

About Lauren

Lauren May is a freelance writer and travel lover living on a budget.

19 thoughts on “Making Health a Priority

  1. I’m trying… trying.

    I really need to go back to seeing a physio to work on my shoulder (it’s terrible because I just abused it through gymnastics and now sitting hunched over a desk all the time), but as a student I just can’t afford it.

    I’m trying my best to make up for it by going to yoga 3x a week and lemme tell you: I feel AMAZING. When I looked it up online, it said a 1.5hr session of power yoga can burn as much as 600 calories (I sound like an infomercial, but seriously) which explains why my abs came back in 2 weeks. I really love it. Also gives me an excuse to buy cute yoga clothes.
    I’m also a big runner in the summers, so I’m looking forward to starting that again as soon as the snow melts. I usually work my way up to 5km or 8km runs, then I go 3-4 times per week.

    The thing about working out is you feel so awful starting it. Your body just protests like you’re kicking the shit out of it, but if you get to the 2 week mark, you’ve adapted and can really enjoy it. I always just force myself through the first 2 weeks and then I’m set.

    As for eating I’m doing pretty good. It’s all about what you buy. I only purchase fresh food, particularly loading up on veggies and fruit, and then that’s all there is to eat in my house.
    Except I’m a sucker for wine and cheese… oh well, I’m doing the yoga and the running so I’m going to have my Brie.

    Good luck on your goals! My sister does the paleo eating thing and swears by it, and she looks great =)

  2. This winter has wreaked havoc on my exercise routine. I cancelled the gym membership last year, and I do as much outdoor running and activity as I can. Needless to say, I’m going to have to shed some winter weight. I’m looking forward to spring, because I love the way I feel after running, the mental acuity I feel it brings, and more importantly, it inspires me to eat healthier and live an all around healthier life. Best of luck in reaching those goals!

  3. Health is so important, and often overlooked. I read an interesting piece yesterday that talked about how we sacrifice our health to make money (stress, poor diets, lack of sleep, etc.), and once we get the money we spend it trying to get our health back! I’ve been actively trying to improve my health in the past year as well. Sticking to a healthy diet is toughest for me. My goal for this year is more consistency with my diet.

    1. Ugh, I know! I’m a walker/hiker too, and it’s been downright impossible to get out most of the winter. Can’t wait for the ground to dry up a bit so I can do some hiking.

  4. I am trying to focus on living a healthier lifestyle. I tend to go in phases where I’m really good for a few weeks with eating and exercising and then just let go again. It’s so hard to create good habits!

    1. Yep, I do the same- start a routine for a few weeks or months, then it falls apart, for whatever reason. I’m determined to make it stick this time!

  5. I became intensely interested in diet and nutrition a couple years ago due to some health challenges. I’ve opted to adopt a plant-based / whole food diet, as described in the book and documentary “Forks Over Knives.” I’ve also become very aware of the rather nasty ‘diet battle’ raging among adherents to a paleo or Atkins type diet and the carb-heavy sort of diet I eat. These broad schools of diet are nearly mirror images. For example, I eat almost no meat (just a small serving of salmon or tuna a couple of times per month), lots of complex (only!) carbohydrate (beans, brown rice, legumes, lentils, whole grains), and fresh fruits and vegetables. My diet is about 75% complex carbohydrate, which I know is ‘sure death’ for the anti-carb community. Still, it seems to be working for me–my BMI is 20.8, total cholesterol = 107, C-reactive protein = 0.5, A1C = 5.6, and fasting glucose = 4.5. I enjoy reading about both diets, and as best I can tell, each has positive effects for different people. I’m not sure there’s one ‘best’ diet for everybody!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Kurt! I agree, there probably isn’t any “best” diet that will work for everyone. I could never go all one way or the other, as I happen to really like meat and veggies, and carb heavy stuff like bread and pasta. I say, just stick with eating what makes you feel good and what you like.

  6. We have been working out consistently for the past month or so, and I can definitely notice the different in energy, and in mood/happiness. The physical benefits to it are obvious, but as you mention the mental benefits of working out are surprisingly great!

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