Let's Get Back to Basics - The Less Fussy Approach to Healthy Living

paleo, vegan, keto, high-carb, low-fat, no dairy, no gluten, low sugar etc.

Anyone else utterly confused by all the completely conflicting diets out there?

You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand waaay up in the air. Or, at least the 2011 version of me is. If you are starting out on a new diet to lose some weight for the summer or simply trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, I bet you are feeling slightly nervous and a bit lost. After all, a quick Google search will pull up weight loss websites that encourage you to cut out fruit, carbs, fat, and all happiness in life as well as others that say to increase these things to see results. Some say to reduce your calories and all animal products while others say you should actually eat more calories and animal products. Confused? Yep, same here.

When I started out on my weight loss journey, I had no clue what I should be doing. Today, after losing 25 lbs, I have learned how to navigate the waters of healthy eating and, as a result, weight loss. I want to give you the trick that helped me stay afloat and maintain my sanity. My number one tip is to understand the four basics to healthy living, regardless of what diet or eating philosophy you ascribe to: get plenty of sleep, increase your water intake, move your body daily, and eat a colorful range of whole foods. If you do these four things regularly, you will see results and an increase in your happiness. Sounds too simple to be true, right? But that’s what makes them so effective.

Let’s strip away the overly complicated rules surrounding healthy eating and take a closer look at the four foundational pillars to achieving great health and losing weight without the stress and frustration.


SLEEP

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If there is one thing to take away from this post it should be this: start improving the quality of your sleep and see how quickly your health will improve. Various athletes and celebrities (like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, and Lauren Conrad) utilize sleep as their ultimate weapon to stay on top of their game. In fact, Tom Brady credits his nightly rest as the fundamental reason for his long and successful career in football.

When we sleep, our body performs incredibly important physiological maintenance: our internal organs rest and recover, tissues and muscles are repaired, our body is detoxified, new memories are stored, our immune system is strengthened, and hormones are released to help regulate appetite control, stress, growth and our metabolism. The more you sleep the better your body will perform both physically and mentally. You’ll make better lifestyle choices (cook meals at home vs. going out, going to the gym vs skipping a session) and your body will be capable of supporting you in reaching your goals.

So, I challenge you to connect with your inner Queen Bey and go to bed a bit earlier tonight. Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier tonight and 30 minutes earlier next week. Strive for that 7-9-hour-a-night sweet spot and your skin, body, and mind will thank you.

 

WATER

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I know, I know. You hear this constantly but it’s so important to drink enough water during your busy day. Our body is made up of 60-70% water which is necessary for our bodies to thrive and function properly. Our cells, muscles, and tissues need water to grow, reproduce, and survive. We can function without food for up to three weeks (Mahatma Gandhi went on a hunger strike to oppose British rule in India for 21 days) but we can only last about a week without agua (much less in warmer climates since the body loses its water supply quicker through sweating). Water also helps detoxify and clean out our systems, which is so important especially we start a new way of eating. Water helps rid the body of all that excess sugar, processed chemicals, and artificial flavors that have been building up by flushing it out.

The amount of water you should drink in a day will depend of your activity level and the climate you live in. Generally, you should aim to drink half a gallon of water each day. I recommend always having a large glass of water next to you while you work or a big water bottle to take with you in the car. If you always have water next to you, you’re more likely to drink a larger quantity. And yes, you will be peeing a lot but that’s a good thing! You’re cleaning out your system.   

If you find water utterly boring, add some flavor to it with herbs, citrus, and berries. I love adding fresh mint and lime slices to my water, which helps me drink way more than when it’s plain.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

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You don’t have to be a slave to the treadmill or make yourself go to a gym everyday to feel stronger. There are plenty of ways to exercise that will get you genuinely excited to put on your workout gear. If you enjoy spending time outside, go for a walk with your dog around the neighborhood, take your kids to a local park, or even play with them in your own backyard. If you live in Florida like me and the humidity is too much to bare, find a 20 minute yoga video on YouTube you can do in your living room or stroll around the mall while catching up with friends. I find that these options work for me because I don't have time nor desire to go workout at a traditional gym. The most important thing is to find something that you can enjoy regularly and easily fit into your schedule.

Just by getting up from your desk or the couch, you’ll satisfy your body’s desire to move, which helps reduce anxiety, ignite your digestion, and help you get a better night’s sleep. And, if it helps Jennifer Lopez achieve her amazing complexion, sign me up!

 

EAT MORE COLORFUL WHOLE FOODS

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This is the first tip I give all my health coaching clients when they first start their program. It helps guide them to make better decisions without adding the stress of following a specific diet with too many rules. Plus, they are always surprised when I tell them to eat more food instead of eliminate items from their lives.

Pretend for a second that you are a world-renowned painter and that your plate is your canvas. Every time you prepare a meal (a.k.a your new masterpiece) you want to make it as colorful as possible to amaze and astound your audience with your artistic abilities. In this case, your audience is your own body and your paint is the color of the ingredients you use when cooking. A wide variety of colorful produce provides phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins that will make you feel amazing, give your hair/nails/skin an amazing glow, and nourish each of your cells! Feel the power of the rainbow!

So, the next time you are in doubt about what you should eat, look for the most colorful option that includes veggies, high-quality proteins and complex carbs (sweet potatoes, black beans, oatmeal, and quinoa - just to name a few examples). You want to increase your consumption of whole foods (fresh food vs processed/fried/refined/genetically modified/artificially flavored etc) and you’ll start feeling lighter and better without feeling deprived.


Improving your wellness, whether you want to lose weight or not, should be about developing a series of small, sustainable steps that lead to creating a maintainable healthy lifestyle. Because that’s what we want, right? A life that is enjoyable where we feel strong, healthy, satisfied, and like we can indulge from time to time without guilt or deprivation. We see that quick fixes do not work and will cause more harm than good (step away from the diet pills and the meal replacement shakes with those highly questionable ingredients). Just remember to be gentle with yourself along the journey because it takes time to break poor habits and replace them with new health supporting ones. But with these four pillars as your go-tos, you'll always have guidance when you feel lost. You got this!

.... And of course you've got me! If you have any questions about how to implement these and feel absolutely amazing in your beautiful body, leave me a comment bellow or we can chat via email : thegreenspatulainfo@gmail.com

 

I love hearing from you and you always send me the nicest comments 💖

Much love,

Christina