Here are five health changes I’m making this summer and the small tweaks to set me up for success.
I’m sure you know the feeling: You’ve been humming along at life, busy and distracted, and realize that you haven’t really focused on your health much lately.
Mindfulness is key to a healthy lifestyle. I truly believe that if we aren’t mindful, we’ll just trend towards habits that aren’t as health-focused. Sugar, fat and alcohol are delicious and addictive for a reason. It takes more time to prepare a salad than pick up a quick meal. You have to be mindful if you want to put your health first and set yourself up for success.
Every now and then I like to do a check in with myself and figure out some small tweaks I can make to set myself up better for success. Whether it’s mental health or physical changes to my diet or exercise routine or just checking in on the habits that add up to make up your total health foundation.
Here are a few of those reflections and five health changes I’m working on to focus in on the areas of water, strength, walking, dessert, and wine.
5 Health Changes I’m Working On
Getting intentional with my water consumption
While my giant 32 ounce Hydroflask follows me around my house all day, I admit I am not the best at drinking from it! I tend to use thirst as my guide to drink (naturally). And unless I’m sweating in the sun, I don’t feel thirsty all that often!
But we all know how good H20 is for you, and I decided I wanted to be a little more proactive with my water consumption.
Thus, I’m trying to drink one whole bottle (32oz) before lunch and one whole bottle after. It’s a loose goal, but I am doing better! I’ll tell you: drinking water is b-o-r-i-n-g but it always always makes you feel better and it has countless health benefits!
Sipping water while writing this post!
Focusing on strength
As I detailed in this post, I did so much cardio in March and April when I was away from the gym. I probably did one strength workout each week. I decided that I missed feeling more toned, and I have committed to at least two full body strength workouts each week.
Now that I’m back at the gym, I love to do strength classes. I don’t push myself nearly as hard when I’m on my own! The classes I attend are 45 minutes and cover almost the whole body – with a focus on triceps and biceps one day and chest and back the other. We’ll also focus on lunges one day and squats on the other. I find I’m the strongest, most fittest version of myself when I go to these classes! And I LOVE the music and community that come along with them.
If you don’t have a gym or strength classes you love, I highly recommend the Sydney Cummings YouTube channel. It was my go-to in 2020 when I was working out at home. (Other alternatives are the Peloton app or Nike+ app.)
I LOVE Sydney’s style, and her channel is great because I can watch them for free right on my big downstairs TV.
Sydney has all kinds of classes and different times too, so I choose the style, time, and focus based on how I’m feeling that day.
Favorite Sydney Cummings classes I’ve done:
- 30 Minute HIIT Legs, Cardio, and Agility Workout
- 45 Minute Full Body Workout
- 15 Minute Full Body Friday
- 30 Minute Full Body HIIT Burn Workout
On the non-strength days – I Peloton, play soccer or walk! Check out my favorite Peloton classes and instructors in this post. Sometimes I run but I’m mostly walking or Pelotoning these days to rest my foot that has chronic pain.
I made a walking desk out of my treadmill
Speaking of walking…I’ve been walking during calls and while watching courses on the treadmill! We have a NordicTrack 990 (review here).
I took our dining room table leaf and flipped it upside down on the tread. (*do not try this at home). It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t slip. Perhaps long-term I’ll have Thomas make me a more permanent sturdy version.
But while I’m doing Beautycounter calls or checking emails, it’s been kind of fun to get my workout in at the same time. (I’m usually doing this during Birchie’s afternoon nap). The most I’ve done was 3.5 miles (at incline 5) doing an hour and a half of work! That is the definition of efficient. It’s also about the max I could do in a day – I could never have a walking desk for an 8 hour workday! I needed a good foam roll after my hour+.
Check out the updates to our basement fitness room here.
Typical: Cutting back on sugar
I am all about desserts when the time is right – an ice cream cone mid afternoon on a hot day, a slice of cake at a party. But I feel better when desserts are reserved as a “sometimes” occurrence than a daily habit.
Dark chocolate is the exception – a square or two a day is always encouraged! But nightly dessert bowls after dinner? Thomas and I got a little too used to having ice cream after dinner for a while there, and I made the decision that I would reverse that habit back for a bit. It was an easy change to make (surprisingly the easiest of them all!)
I find that if I brush my teeth early in the evening (especially if I floss!) the craving for dessert goes away. So I go up and do my nighttime skincare routine and brush my teeth right after putting Birch to bed.
Doing a little reading on the benefits of cutting back on sugar always inspires a bit too. There are so many health conditions and public health PSAs surrounding added sugar, and who doesn’t want to put their health as the very top priority at the end of the day?!
A change that wasn’t so easy is going back to wine on the weekends. I’m not sure if it’s feeling like so much has been taken away during the pandemic or a reaction to actually following a program for a year (or both) but it’s been hard for me to say no to a class at 5:00 during the week! It seems the nights that Mazen is with his dad are the ones that feel a bit more like a vacation and I find myself craving that glass at the end of the day. Progress not perfection is my goal here, and I’ve been doing better taking some nights off.