6 Real-World Tips for Good Health

Let’s just get right to business, shall we?  Here are 6 of my the best ways to improve your health — starting TODAY.

 

1.  Move more.  Look for and create opportunities for incremental exercise.  When carrying groceries, lift them 5 times when you load and 5 times when you unload.  Use a rake instead of a leaf blower.  Walk extra fast when outdoors.  Little bits of activity add up to big results.

 

2.  Cut portions.  Remember that a healthy portion for most foods is about the size of your fist.  Try leaving 3 bites on your plate at each meal; once you’re comfortable with that, consider leaving 6 bites each time.

 

3.  Know your fats and sugars, and try to limit them.  Processed foods and restaurant meals are some of the worst offenders.  Read the labels on packaged foods; avoid anything with “high fructose corn syrup” within the first 5 ingredients.

 

4.  Understand the food-stress cycle and make your meals work for you, not against you.  Foods that are high in fats, refined sugars and sodium can actually exaggerate the stress response (including elevated cortisol, high blood pressure, increased abdominal fat and other factors).  Choose healthfully instead.

 

5.  Add 3 servings of fruits and/or vegetables to your weekly menu; buy foods that are in season and experiment.  In-season produce is likely to have fewer preservatives and pesticides.  Choose organic when you can, especially if it’s something you eat more than twice a week.

 

6.  Choose whole foods rather than processed products.  Whole foods have more fiber and retain more of their original nutrients than those that are processed.  Look for items that are as close as possible to their original form, for example, an apple instead of applesauce or apple juice.  In the words of Michael Pollan, bestselling author of In Defense of Food, “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”

 

 

Now it’s your turn — what are some of your favorite ways to bring more good health into everyday life?

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26 Responses to “6 Real-World Tips for Good Health”

  1. Nona, great question. Lots of people wonder the same thing, thinking “fat is fat.” Avocados and nuts both have lots of fat (which means lots of calories too), but they’re better for you than others. Also, there’s no underestimating the mysterious effect of the OTHER nutrients in a whole, natural food like avocados or nuts. (BTW, with nuts, try to go for raw or dry-roasted instead of oil-roasted.) Thanks for your comment!

  2. Thanks so much for keeping it simple and doable!
    Michelle Pippin recently posted..Business Done (really, really) RIGHT.My Profile

  3. Leah Shapiro says:

    As always- wonderful tips Jessica!!

    Number 4 really struck home. After doing the 21 day cleanse…I really noticed the effect of coffee and the way it made me crave more carbs, or sugary foods. The crash from it really played with my blood sugar too.

    My healthy tips…drink more water, Fun is better, and lots of love and affection.
    My favorite tip- spend time with your partner and/or family making healthy meals together.

    And I got in the habit during the cleanse of preparing a few really healthy, vegan dishes at the beginning of the week so I could just grab something for lunch or a quick dinner. I’d make extra soup, snacks, and grains to have in the fridge.
    I know being busy and hungry leads to bad food choices.
    Leah Shapiro recently posted..Owning Your Bad-Ass SelfMy Profile

  4. Claire says:

    I’m so bad at this, I go through periods of being good and then when I get tired or stressed it just goes wrong. I know I need to do more; but it feels like a challenge when there are so many things I’m tackling all at once. I’m going to do the incremental thing; but with my diet, work on adding or changing one thing a week and then go from there. Thank you for making it feel manageable!
    Claire recently posted..Supporting each other in business – Peer to Peer MentoringMy Profile

  5. Katelyn says:

    Okay, I am trying again today because even though it said I commented I don’t see my comment….

    I love the simplicity! Easy to integrate into daily life.
    I used to love to get a parking spot by the door now I look for one in the back so I can walk.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I like to park in the back of the parking lot so that I can burn some extra calories on my way into the store. Plus it’s fun to shake my head and laugh at all of the people still in their cars fighting over the same spot in the front. I firmly believe that these small life changes make all the difference.

  7. Amy, thanks for commenting! I think I’m going to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places soon. I’m going to choose a smallish plate, color 2/3 of it green (for veggies) and smaller sections for lean protein and whole grains. Has anyone else tried this? I know there are products out there on the market — I just want to do my own. :-)

  8. Oooh, oooh! I know, Ali! It’s a function of brain chemistry — humans actually crave sugar and fat when we’re stressed because they give the brain a little “upper” and connect to the feel-good receptors. It’s all temporary, of course, and it’s mind over matter. So brave of you to pinpoint and address the issue head-on. And I love your meditation idea — wonder if you have any tips for beginners?

  9. Ali Connell says:

    Jessica, my darling, what a terrific list this is! I’m pretty dialled on these with the exception of 2 and 4. I recently hooked up with an emotional eating coach to ferret out the root causes of why, knowing what I know, I choose the worst kinda crap food in times of stress. Deep breaths!
    My fave everyday good health tip is meditate, meditate, meditate. Sit down, be silent, breathe in, breathe out. Magic!

  10. amy zellmer says:

    Thank you for these simple steps. Sometimes it really helps to break it down and make it easier. I think for me cutting down portion sizes is the big key. Especially when eating out. Portions are typically enough for 2-3 people!!
    amy zellmer recently posted..A Photographer’s Play-Time in Vegas | Amy ZellmerMy Profile

  11. Great, easy to implement tips. Thank you!
    Marita Rahlenbeck recently posted..Living In The QuestionsMy Profile

  12. Cynthia says:

    Such a great post and easily doable by anyone.

    and I think we are in the best time here in the Southern States to start focusing on number five. We are entering the season for so many good fruits and veggies. Yum.
    Cynthia recently posted..Balance, Adjustment and CommitmentMy Profile

  13. Meg says:

    Thanks for keeping it to the point!! Clean writing, with clear actionable steps, fantastic!

  14. Keep on, Theresa! Frappucino is a hard habit to break, I know! Not just the sugar but also the caffeine — oy. Yes, the hidden sugars (most things ending in “-ose”) are insidious and lurking everywhere. I don’t worry so much about the tiny-portion foods like ketchup, but my goodness — lots of things that say “whole grain” also have a ton of sugar. You think they’re really healthy, and then they sneak that in on ya!

  15. Aww, thanks, Lisa! I’m all about practical — if it’s not going to work in a real mom’s/woman’s world, it’s no good for me. I’m still working on the perfectionism part, though. That’s where your blog really helps me!

  16. I love how you always break it down in such beautiful practical ways, Jessica. I’m a big believer in slow and steady wins the race (Tortoise wins every time) so any kinds of easy daily shifts are so helpful plus they challenge the all-or-nothing perfectionism that dogs many of our clients.

    love to you,
    Lisa
    http://www.IntuitiveBody.com
    Simple Sacred Solutions To Living Beautifully In Your Body

  17. Sugar is my big guilty pleasure. I’m working really hard right now to get these under control. Got rid of my Frappacino habit – now to get rid of the other hidden sugars. It’s amazing how many places sugar turns up…even in ketchup!
    Theresa | The Tarot Lady recently posted..Your Business Has A SoulMy Profile

  18. Janis says:

    First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Many thanks!
    Janis recently posted..home remedies for constipationMy Profile

  19. I’m the same way! I’ll often deliberately make several trips, just to get in those stairs! Try two at a time — killer for the butt and hamstrings! Also, try super-slow-motion. :-) Thanks for your comment!

  20. Brandy says:

    Number four was eye-opening! I guess I didn’t realize eating would exaggerate my stress! I’m working on turning to my journal instead of food, but this is definitely motivation!
    Brandy recently posted..Rewrite The EndingMy Profile

  21. Bri Saussy says:

    Hey Jessica!
    I love this. I like to cook a lot and one of the things I like about it is that I know exactly what goes into my food. I shop at the local farmer’s market and try as much as possible to plan meals around what is in season-and now I am putting in a veggie garden so hopefully come June I will be eating what I have grown!
    Bri Saussy recently posted..Stepping Into Divinity-Reconciliation in love & lifeMy Profile

  22. Jackie D. says:

    My tip doesn’t save time AT ALL but man does it burn calories. When I was little I remember we lived in a two story house and my Mom would fold the clothes downstairs and take them upstairs either one piece at a time or one closet at a time instead of just taking the whole basket upstairs. She run up and down those stairs at least 6 more times than necessary. I now do it too!! Forget the treadmill try running those tiny t-shirts up and down the hall all night, what a workout :)

  23. That’s what it’s all about, right, Kenetha?! Making it manageable, so that it actually gets done! Thanks for your comments — keep kicking potatoes off the couch with us!

  24. What a great list of tips! It makes healthy choices so much easier to focus on. I especially love the first one because exercise is usually my weak point. Reframing it to just increasing the amount of movement I get in a day seems so much more manageable for me than scheduling an hour of “exercise.” Thanks!
    Kenetha Stanton recently posted..DandelionsMy Profile

  25. I know what you mean about the stress response. I woke up with a migraine this morning and thought “yep – that would be the pork fried rice and the entire package of Starburst I ate yesterday”. I know better, but some days I just can’t help myself. The pain factor does keep it to a minimum though. These days chocolate cake just looks like pain. ;-)

  26. Nona Jordan says:

    YUM Jessica!! Great tips – and very do-able. I love access to easy tips that can really add up over time. I am curious what your take on fats is – I eat a lot of nuts and avocado – are those okay?? xoxo
    Nona Jordan recently posted..The “Truth” About Wealthy PeopleMy Profile

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