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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 August 12, 2019

                            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                            12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

                            Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                            But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                            I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                            Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

                            1. Nuts

                            The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                            Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                            Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                            Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                            2. Blueberries

                            Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                            When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                            3. Tomatoes

                            Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                            4. Broccoli

                            While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                            Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                            Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                            5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                            Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                            The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                            Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                            6. Soy

                            Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                            Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                            Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                            7. Dark Chocolate

                            When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                            Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                            8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                            Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                            B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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                            Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                            Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                            To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                            9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                            Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                            Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                            Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                            10. Gingko Biloba

                            This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                            It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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                            However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                            11. Green and Black Tea

                            Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                            Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                            Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                            12. Sage and Rosemary

                            Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                            Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                            When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                            More About Boosting Brain Power

                            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                            Reference

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