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Transform Your Life In 2 Weeks: 14 Simple Things To Do That Will Make You Healthier And Happier

Transform Your Life In 2 Weeks: 14 Simple Things To Do That Will Make You Healthier And Happier

Have you noticed that your quick fixes or diets don’t last very long and you end up going back to your old ways?  That’s because we are creatures of habit and in order to see long lasting positive changes in our lives we need to work on improving our habits one at a time.  Achieving a healthier and happier life doesn’t have to be hard, overwhelming or something you do all at once.  Just take it one day and one habit at a time.

Here is my two week campaign to help you transform your life.  Some of the tasks you may find easy, others you may find challenging and that’s ok.  The next two weeks are about you.  Start with day one and stay on day one as long as you need to; as long as it takes for you to make it something that you do habitually.  I’d love to hear how you go with this and what positive changes it makes in your life.

Day 1:  Drink more water

Would you car for a....

    Our bodies need water to function properly and because we can’t store water we need to drink it every day.  Water is needed for most of our body functions  and the general consensus is that the average adult should be drinking at least two liter of water each day (eight glasses each of 8 oz (= 240 ml) every 24 hours).  However, there is not one size fits all when it comes to the amount needed.  Aim for two liters a day and if you still feel thirsty drink more, if you don’t drink a little less.  You just have to listen to your body and drink accordingly.

    Day 2: Rethink your drink

    rethink your drink

      This one should be a little easier now that you have increased your water intake.  The next time you pick up a drink I want you to ask yourself – is this good for me?  Sugary beverages are high in kilojoules with no other essential nutrients and regular consumption may lead to weight gain, obesity, reduced bone strength and tooth decay. Try drinking water or green tea instead.  Green tea can potentially protect you against heart disease while coffee (no more than four per day) may help protect against type 2 diabetes.

      Day 3:  Eat mindfully

      Close Up Of Woman Eating handful Of Almonds

        It’s time to stop eating on the run, in the car, while watching television and with little attention to what you are actually putting in your mouth.  From now on, I want you to be mindful of what you are eating.  Ask yourself – will this food give my body the nourishment and nutrients it needs? Also, start practicing the following: eat only when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full and slow it down.  Digestion begins in your mouth, so the more chewing you do (approx. 20 times before swallowing) the happier and more grateful your tummy and intestines will be later.

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        Day 4:  Get the right amount of sleep

          “From serotonin production to blood sugar management, immunity, and heart health, sleep impacts every aspect of your health.”  Dr. Frank Lipman

          We all know how important it is to get enough sleep and just how cruddy we feel when we don’t.  Research suggests that the ideal amount of sleep may be seven hours a night although some people may need more.  Again, it’s about listening to your body and making note of the amount of sleep that makes you feel at your best.  Then when you figure out the ideal amount, stick to it and resist the temptation to oversleep.

          Day 5: Stop buying junk food

          stop buying junk food

            It’s pretty hard to resist the temptation of your favorite junk food when it’s staring you right in the face.  “One little bite can’t hurt.” Next thing you know, you’ve downed a whole packet of chips, block of chocolate or half a tub of ice-cream.  I get it; it’s delicious!  But doing this regularly is not helping that healthy diet of yours. So avoid the temptation and just stop buying it.  Get rid of everything that is sugary, fatty, greasy and salty.  Clean out your pantry and fridge and avoid even going down those aisles at the grocery store.

            Day 6: Ditch the low-fat, no fat products

            ditch low fat products

              Shira Lenchewski, RD, summed this one up much better than I can:

              “One of the most pervasive food myths is the idea that consuming dietary fat makes you fat. But truthfully, consuming any macronutrient (meaning carbohydrate, protein or fat) in excess will result in weight gain.  The fact is, fat adds flavor, and when it’s removed, sweeteners and artificial flavors are typically added in its place. And trust me: that is not a good thing!”

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              I would pick fat over sweeteners and artificial flavors any day.

              Day 7:  Practice some self-love

              You made it to day seven!  That calls for some serious appreciation and self-love.  Changing our bad habits is a tough gig and if you have been sticking to the above I’m guessing you’ve been working pretty hard.  So today is about taking some time out for yourself.  Do something that makes you happy and / or practice some of these self-love techniques.  Be proud of yourself and what you have achieved so far!  You’re halfway there :)

              Day 8: Cut down your sugar intake

              cut down on sugar

                We’ve already worked on cutting down the sugary beverages but now it’s time to cut back in other areas. I know this can be a big challenge for some but I’m not asking you to go Sarah Wilson on me, I’m just suggesting you cut back on the amount of sugar you are consuming each day little by little.  There are a ton of studies, research and opinions out there about why too much sugar is bad for your health (you can check a few out here and here).  In my opinion too much of anything is bad for your health.  It’s all about moderation.

                Day 9: Add more fruit and veggies to your diet

                fruit and veges

                  You know that eating more fruit and vegetables will improve your health. So what’s stopping you?  Today I want you to make a list of the different fruit and vegetables you like eating and how you plan to add more of them into your diet. Some tips: keep ready to eat fruit where you can see it, work out ways to make fruit and vegetables a part of every meal or snack, buy in season products, purchase a little bit at a time so it doesn’t go to waste and most importantly, enjoy the benefits you will see and feel when you start incorporating more of these foods into your diet.

                  Day 10: Try some protein in the morning

                  try some protein

                    Contrary to popular belief, current research has shown that weightloss may not necessarily occur by eating breakfast which has sometimes been thought of as “The most important meal of the day.”  I find that eating a healthy protein breakfast helps to control my appetite and gives me a clear mind.

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                     “High-protein breakfasts reduce the amount of ghrelin — a hormone that stimulates a feeling of hunger — in the bloodstream more effectively than do high-carb breakfasts.” Institute of Food Technologists

                    I encourage to just give it a go.  Try eating protein (eggs, greek yoghurt and fruit, oats, meat) and see how you feel afterwards.  Then the next day compare this feeling to your usual breakfast routine.  I think you will be surprised to see the difference.  Just make sure when you make over your breakfast routine, you avoid high sugar and processed cereals, they really aren’t doing your body any favors.

                    Day 11: Change your toothbrush head

                    change your toothbrush head

                      The American Dental Association recommends replacing the head of your electric toothbrush or your regular toothbrush every three to four months.  Your toothbrush is home to microorganisms from your mouth and also the environment where it’s stored.  Changing your toothbrush regularly will decrease the number of bacteria you are exposed to and ensure your teeth are always cleaned well.

                      Day 12:  Sneak exercise into your day

                      sneak in exercise

                        It’s time to get that gorgeous body of yours moving; no excuses.  You know what you need to do, you just have to make the commitment and do it.  Here are a few ideas on how you can sneak exercise into your day:

                        • Always take the stairs.
                        • Do 20 squats when you’re done in the bathroom.
                        • Use your lunchbreak to go for a walk outside.
                        • Park your car a little further away from work and enjoy the walk.
                        • Before sitting on the couch at night do 25 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, 25 crunches and 25 squats.
                        • Dance while your cooking, cleaning, working, whatever. Yes you may look a little weird but who cares, get a bit silly and have fun.
                        • Google the ridiculous amount of at home work outs that are free on Youtube

                        Day 13: Meal prep

                        meal prep

                          “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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                          Meal prep is one of the best ways I know to keep your healthy diet on track.  When we have delicious healthy snacks and meals in the fridge or freezer ready to go, we are more likely to choose them rather than an easy option like takeaway.  My suggestion is to pick afternoon or a day each week that you dedicate to your meal prepping.  Get your recipes together, get the ingredients together and have a massive cook off.  You could prepare some salads, some vegetables that are ready to be cooked when you need them, fruit salad, boiled eggs, healthy treats, meals that you can eat this week or store in the freezer for when you need them.  Make it a habit to prep and I’m sure you will see the difference in your eating habits.

                          Day 14:  Find one thing to be grateful for every single day

                          gratitude

                            Happy people are not happy because everything is ALWAYS blissful and amazing in their life.  Happy people choose to be happy, they choose to look for the good in any situation, they choose to support themselves and they choose to make their happiness a priority in their lives.  So from now on, every single day I want you to find at least one thing you are grateful for.

                            “We only live once. We all have an expiration date after that we will never come again. I am not saying that to make you sad. I am saying that so you can cherish each moment in your life and be grateful that you are here and you are Special.” Pablo

                            Fourteen day challenge complete! Your next steps are to do a very big happy dance, practice some serious self-love and then work out what area of your life needs a little makeover next.  Keep going, you can do it and you deserve it!

                            Featured photo credit: bean bowl with poached egg-3/jules via flickr.com

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                            Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                            5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                            Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                            Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                            Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                            1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                            Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                            This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                            In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                            The result: no more mental stress.

                            2. Unplug

                            Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                            How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                            It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                            Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                            3. Easy on the Caffeine

                            Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                            Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                            4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                            That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                            How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                            • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                            • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                            • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                            While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                            5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                            This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                            The result: mental stress will be gone!

                            So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                            Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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