Over the last year I’ve kind of let myself go. Last summer, I fell in love and took off for a lengthy excursion around the globe, abandoning my gym schedule and eating as much as a pound of hummus in a single sitting. I don’t regret a thing, but that life is (unfortunately) not my reality. Now, finally home and settling back into daily life, I’ve noticed that I don’t feel as light on my feet, don’t sleep as well as I used to, and I frequently find myself dehydrated and lacking energy.
It can be difficult to go from pie for breakfast to Sunday Pilates in one step and I’m hardly an all-or-nothing kind of gal. So I’m taking some small, easy steps to feel better and a little healthier. They’re not necessarily broad prescriptions, but rather things I know my body responds well to:
1. Have a pot of green or white tea every day. I’ve had a tough time staying hydrated for the last several months, and I don’t feel nearly as well as I did when I made a pot of tea every day. Tea with caffeine can act as a diuretic, but I’ve always found white or green tea supremely nourishing. When I stick with this particular routine, I notice the effects right away: I feel more balanced and my skin glows.
2. Eat protein every morning. I’ve always been a breakfast eater – and definitely a morning coffee drinker – but I’ve gotten out of the swing of any morning routine. I do know, however, that I function better all day if I have a decent amount of protein when I first wake up. It helps me resist reaching for snacks throughout the day and keeps my hormones stable. I’m starting slow, with a hard-boiled egg and yogurt or beans, but I hope to get a little more creative over time. Get a great, protein-rich smoothie recipe here.
3. Hit the gym at least twice a week. The days that I don’t go to the gym, I have to walk for at least 45 minutes or bike for at least 30. I’m trying to stick with things that I love – reading on the stationary bike, power walking on the treadmill, swimming laps in the pool and sitting in the steam room – and working with the idea that something is always better than nothing.
4. Eat green vegetables or herbs every day. I’m getting back into the habit of making a smoothie every afternoon, and I always use lots of fresh berries plus spinach, kale or parsley. It’s a terrific and filling snack, and both my mood and energy level are more consistent. Whether you blend it at work, or at home, just ensure you have a great on-the-go container to ensure you can sip your smoothie no matter where you are in your day.
5. Don’t forget about treats. I don’t function well under conditions of deprivation – I would survive, maybe, 30 seconds of a cleanse – so I’m making sure that I reward myself for trying to live a little more healthfully. I like keeping homemade cookies in the house, and I eat them daily. I like having a glass of wine with dinner and I eat dessert whenever I have room left and I can’t imagine any circumstances under which I would turn down fried chicken. I’m trying to find a better balance that will maintain my happiness but also ensure I’m not overindulging on a daily basis.
When the vacation ends and it’s back to reality, it doesn’t mean you have to go give up the daily joys. What healthful activities do you pepper throughout your day?
See more ways small changes can help to improve your life.