5 Shortcuts to Health
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
Shortcut? To health? But, Kristen, you always talk about how there aren't any shortcuts to real health! Hey, you're right. And these are things you are going to have to do every day to get real results. But they are so basic and simple, they feel like shortcuts. So choose one (or two or five) and stick to it for a minimum of three weeks and see the changes that happen.
Make breakfast count - I've written on it before, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets your hormones up for success or trouble for the rest of the day. I don't care what time you decide to eat your first meal, I just want it to be early enough so you aren't ravenous at the end of the day, big enough so you are satiated for a minimum of 4 hours and full of enough protein and fat (while avoiding processed carbohydrates) so it doesn't spike you insulin and blood sugar levels. When breakfast is done right, you'll feel sharper and have much more energy throughout the day.
Add some muscle mass - Having more muscle mass means your body may be able to tolerate more sugar and carbohydrates. Please don't see this as a free pass to eat an extra cookie. Just understand that if you do actually strength train and build muscle mass, you will be able to get away with eating the occasional treat better than someone who doesn't do any strength training. If that's not a reason to make sure you push some weight around, join my #NoExcuses Challenge or get in your daily push ups and squats, I'm not sure what is.
Eat within a window - Many of us mindlessly eat well into the evening resulting in an eating window (when we first start eating during the day to when we stop) to be upwards of 16 hours per day. Without changing a thing, we may be able to fit all of those meals into a smaller window (8-10 hours) and see metabolic changes. Chances are, you won't die without food for 14-16 hours. It will be even easier if you are eating the right things. For example, eat your first meal around 9:00 am and your last meal at 6:00 pm. Don't drink anything except non-caloric drinks (coffee or tea with nothing added) before or after these meals.
Move more than you sit - The desk job is a new phenomenon. The internet has only been used regularly since the 90s and 00s. Before that, most of us had jobs that required regular movement. Now we sit for our meals, sit while we commute, sit while we're at work, sit when we get home to watch tv, cruise the internet or read a book. A few of us spend an hour moving at the gym, but does that really make up for the other 23 hours we are sitting or laying down? I don't think so. At a minimum, set a timer for every 30 minutes to stand up and stretch overhead. This little, basic movement will be enough to get some blood flowing, use your muscles and allow your brain and eyes to get a break from a screen. Your brain and body will thank you!
Maximize sleep quality - Sleep is the biggest bang for your buck. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. You will die faster from lack of sleep than you will from lack of food. We need sleep for our bodies and cells to regenerate each night. This is one of the reasons we often get sick when we are short on sleep. Our immune function decreases when we don't get adequate sleep. The less sleep you get, the higher the chance you will be obese. And if you are obese, you are prone to every chronic disease in the book. Have I convinced you to get better sleep yet? There are lots of tactics to improve your sleep. I have 10 of my favorite here. If you aren't getting decent sleep and you aren't a new parent (good luck all new parents!), it's time you made this a priority before everything else.