10 Easy Steps to Unlocking Optimal Health

Countless people welcome the new year with a list of health and fitness goals, only to give up and revert to old habits when the path becomes a bit too difficult to tread. So instead of forcing yourself to pursue a New Year’s resolution, why not make a commitment to become the fittest, healthiest and happiest version of yourself every single day? Besides, it’s never too late to get healthy.

Living a healthier life is not just a goal, but an ongoing process. It is a lifestyle, not something you can do overnight. But there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to start your year in the right direction. Commit to the following steps, and you will be on a good path towards the healthiest year yet.

1. Stop eating more than you need
Do you always find yourself binge eating? Now’s the time to put an end to it. Strive to be more aware of your actions, and control them. Listen to your body, and avoid eating unhealthy amounts of food that fall short in terms of nutrition and only satisfy you for a short amount of time. To keep hunger pangs at bay, always be sure to get your fill of antioxidant-rich superfoods every day.

2. Add more vegetables to your diet
Fermented vegetables, to be exact. Consuming just one-half cup of fermented foods full of probiotics or good bacteria will do wonders for your gut, get rid of toxins, and increase your body’s natural healing microorganisms. Aside from helping prevent serious problems like diabetes, obesity, and cancer, they can improve your mental health and your natural detoxification process.

3. Eat more fibre and healthy fats
Your diet should include healthy fats (both saturated and unsaturated from whole foods). In fact, recent studies show that we can benefit from a diet with 50-80% healthy fats from sources like animal fats, avocados, nuts and coconut oil.

A high-fibre diet can also help ward off chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Ultimately, it can reduce the risk of premature death. So be sure to get enough fibre from nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

4. Get plenty of rest
Routinely getting less than seven hours of sleep for consecutive nights is nothing short of detrimental. Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to numerous chronic diseases. It can also mess up your hormone levels, reducing your body’s production of melatonin, which inhibits the growth of cancer type cells, and leptin, which helps regulate fat.

If you rarely get eight hours of sleep, make adjustments to your daily schedule and sleeping environment. Be sure to check out my complete guide for improving sleep quality.

5. Get moving
Many of us spend 5 to 10 hours sitting each day. This level of inactivity can be so harmful that not even a 60-minute HIIT workout can reverse its effects. So what should you do? First, you must realise that your body is designed to move and engage in activity throughout the day. Next, take the necessary steps to be more active; avoid sitting for prolonged periods, stand up at work when you can, and make more time for exercise. Of course, there’s no need to be hasty; just ease your way into it.

6. Say goodbye to soft drinks
There’s no question that soft drinks are unhealthy. In fact, regular consumption has been linked to health problems as serious as osteoporosis, liver damage, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This year, give them up and try healthier alternatives. Whenever you want to quench your thirst with something flavorful, try something along the lines of tea or infused water.

7. Eliminate micronutrient malnutrition
Did you know that more than 2 billion people are affected by micronutrient malnutrition? The most common of which are iron deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, and iodine deficiency. If you experience recurring bouts of fatigue and muscle aches, and can’t remember the last time you felt 100%, you may be suffering from a malnutrition yourself. This year, take the necessary steps to reverse any deficiency you might have before it leads to other diseases. Be sure to consult your physician to determine the food and supplements your body needs.

For instance, if you have a magnesium deficiency, you may need to start consuming more foods that are rich in it.

8. Eat more quality protein
When it comes to protein, quality always trumps quantity. This macronutrient is the building block for muscles and bones, making it essential to your overall health and well-being. However, consuming too much of it regularly can be downright harmful. Be sure to consume just around 0.5-1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight, and get your daily protein fix from trusted sources. If meat is a regular part of your diet, go for organic, pastured and grass-fed. Fish such as sardines and salmons are also good sources.

9. Motivate, inspire and help others
To be the truly healthy and fulfilled this 2016, be the best version of yourself inside and out. Reach out and become a source of inspiration to those who need it. Make time to volunteer and build strong, meaningful relationships with the people in the community. In addition to boosting your emotional well-being, you’ll find that volunteering can also do wonders for your physical health.

I also encourage you to begin expressing the uniqueness you’ve kept to yourself. Don’t let negativity limit the way you think, talk and act. Stop letting fear affect your decision and actions; claim control of your life in 2016.

10. Meditate
Meditation has many proven benefits. Aside from being known to reduce stress, it can lower blood pressure and enhance your immune system. Set aside at least 5 minutes a day for relaxing and clearing your mind. You’ll eventually see stress-related problems go away. If you often experience insomnia, back pain, and acid reflux, you will benefit from a few minutes of peace and tranquility a day.

Take at least one of these steps right now, and your 2017 will be off to a healthy and productive start. If you wish to know more about any of them, feel free to get in touch with me or check out my blog.