Coach’s Corner: The 3 Essentials for Better Health This Year
January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, especially those related to health and fitness. And big companies and their marketing departments take full advantage. Everywhere you turn you see/hear ads for diets, healthy foods, exercise equipment, fitness memberships (gyms and online), and all the rest.
Honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming leaving many people either confused about where to start or taking on too much at once (and burning out by February).
So, I want to help you cut through the noise and tell you exactly where to focus your attention for better health in 2022. In my opinion (and what science backs up), nailing these basics will unequivocally result in a healthier you!
#1: Prioritize Sleep
What: If you do one thing this year to improve your health, start here. Seriously, protect your sleep like your life depends on it, because it does! Aim for a minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep per night.
Why: Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to too many adverse health conditions to list, the biggies being poor immunity, diabetes, heart disease, obesity (thanks to increased hunger hormones and insulin), poor cognitive health and increased risk of dementia, anxiety and depression, and on and on and on…
Action Item: If you are currently getting less than 7 hours per night, increase this in 10-minute increments over the next several weeks, building to a minimum of 7.5 hours per night.
Bonus #1: Did you know there is an optimal sleep temperature? Find out more here: http://www.morethanabody.com/optimal-sleep-temperature-for-health/
Bonus #2: Read my favorite book on sleep: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. https://amzn.to/3zHb0bY
#2: Move Daily
What: Beyond exercise, move more throughout the day. Stretch, walk around your home/office, pace while on phone calls, do some “mini-workouts” throughout the day (a few pushups, squats, crunches), dance to your favorite song. You get the idea! Do not remain sedentary for too long…move, move, move!
Why: The average American is sedentary about 6-8 hours/day! Research shows that this habit is as dangerous as smoking and raises the risk of early death, as it is linked to a host of diseases like diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, even dementia.
Action Item: Set an alarm on your phone to move at least 5 minutes per hour. (Many wearable devices such as FitBit and Apple Watch can prompt you too.)
Bonus: Learn more about the importance of movement and download a free worksheet to help you get up and moving: http://www.morethanabody.com/can-being-neat-improve-your-health/
#3: Eliminate Industrialized Oils and Fats
What: Eliminate all industrialized seed and vegetable oils including canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and cottonseed; also hydrogenated fats like margarine and vegetable shortening.
Why: Highly processed oils increase inflammation, oxidation, and free radicals in our bodies, all of which contribute to chronic disease. These refined oils are high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, and most come from toxic GMO crops. Hydrogenated fats contain heart-damaging trans fats, associated with heart disease, poor cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and even some cancers.
Action Item: Go to your pantry and immediately pour out any of these oils. Seriously, do this NOW! Replace with Avocado, Olive, and Coconut oils. Also read labels of any packaged foods and throw out any containing these oils.
Bonus: I did a blog all about oils a few years back. Check it out here if you’d like more information: http://www.morethanabody.com/cooking-oils-in-my-kitchen/
Bonus Tip: Reduce Added Sugar
What: Reduce or eliminate added sugars from your diet. Did you know that there are about 50+ names for added sugar on food labels? To help you identify more clearly these dangerous sugars, the FDA added a line to all food labels in 2020 to call out Added Sugars specifically, which are considered any sugar added during processing of that food; it does not include sugars occurring naturally in that food.
Why: The average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day! Research shows that added sugar contributes to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and liver disease.
Action Item: Read labels of all products (especially condiments) for added sugar. Find a healthier replacement.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you purchase using the link, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support. I only recommend products that I have personal experience with and would recommend to my family and friends.
I am a health coach, not a doctor; please check with a qualified medical professional before starting any supplement, diet, exercise, or anything similar that I may mention.