Hello, party people!
How beautiful was the sky last night?
As much as I grumble about going to the gym after work, I’m pretty lucky to have access to such a nice facility.
In my post-gym, endorphin-fueled state of euphoria, I got to thinking about how much I love feeling good.
Let me explain…
Up until I was 22 years old, I didn’t get hangovers. Legitimately did not face any negative consequences from a night of one too many cocktails. At first, it was great! Because in college, consecutive nights out partying is the norm, and I, for one, was game-faced and ready every time. I’d joke that it was because I was part German or just reeeally lucky (I don’t get brain freeze either).
But at some point, my view shifted and I started to wish that I would get a hangover, that there would be repercussions for the way I was treating my body. (I should note that at this time in college, I was also eating crap food and the bulk of my exercise came from walking to and from class.)
Well that day came, New Years day 2009. I got an epic hangover. Like a day-ruining, life-reevaluating hangover. And it was awful. It felt like I was experiencing all of the previously unfelt hangovers, rolled into one. While that day was beyond miserable, it meant that I had joined the human race, and for that I was grateful.
Since then, I’ve made great strides in the wellness department. I now find extreme satisfaction in caring for my body. I love to quote my college roommate’s mom who always said “your body is your temple”. It’s true, we only get one body so we better take care of it. But beyond that, life is a whole lot more enjoyable when you FEEL GOOD on a daily basis.
Today, I thought I’d lay out the main strategies I use to do just that: feel good on a daily basis. Some of these are easier than others, and some of them I struggle with… a lot. But perfection has never been my goal.
Wellness Rules I (try to) Live By
1. Drink 5+ glasses of water a day. When I’m well hydrated, my skin shows it. Sure, 8 glasses a day would be ideal, but 5 is definitely doable, and often turns into 6 or 7…
Tip: Starting the day with a glass of hot lemon water is a great way to cross one right off the list.
2. Aim for at least 8,000 steps a day. Experts recommend 10k, but working in a cubicle for 8 hours a day makes that goal pretty difficult to achieve. And I’m all about achievable goals.
Tip: Get a Fitbit! I love mine and wear it every single day. Fitbit uses colorful graphs to make tracking my daily activity (among other things) easy, fun, and satisfying. It’s hard to change your fitness level if you don’t have an accurate idea of what you current one is.
3. Eat something green every day. Leafy greens, in particular, are some of the most nutrient-dense foods available.
Tip: Learn how to cook your vegetables so that they taste amazing! Roasted brussels sprouts are one of my favorite foods. (Toss in salt, pepper and olive oil, and roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.)
4. Limit Sugar. This is so hard to do, but makes the biggest difference in how I feel. When I limit my sugar intake, I get fewer headaches, have more energy, and my hunger levels stabilize. Beyond that, who can stop at just one cookie or one bite of cake? Sugar turns me into a crazy person: I behave like an addict and it’s not attractive.
Tip: Limit sugar to times when it’s really worth the indulgence. Tray of brownies in the office break room? Not worth it. Surprise carrot cake cupcake your husband made a special trip to drop off ahead of time at the restaurant for your birthday dinner? Totally worth it.
5. Limit grains. This is controversial and there is so much bad information out there about being “gluten free”. For the record, I do not have celiacs disease, but I do feel significantly better when I limit the amount of grains (and carbs, for that matter) in my diet. Grains leave me feeling uncomfortable and bloated, and I usually notice an increased appetite, as well.
Tip: Similar to sugar, limit grain consumption to times when it’s really worth it. Don’t blow it on store bought, chemical-laden white bread; indulge in a grilled cheese on freshly baked sourdough straight from the bakery.
6. Spend time outside. Admittedly, this is hard to accomplish working from sun up to sun down inside an office building. But at the same time, after spending 5 hours under that fluorescent lighting, a break for fresh air feels pretty great.
Tip: Get outside and take a walk at lunch. Soak up some Vitamin D and get a little closer to that 8k step goal while you’re at it. Andrew and I go for a walk every afternoon, rain or shine. Just kidding, it’s California, it doesn’t rain here.
7. Keep healthy options on hand.
(Yes, that’s “ants on a log”.)
Tip: Find a healthy snack that you like, and prep it Sunday night. I love vegetables with hummus, but when I’m starving after work, I’m not about to chop up a bunch of broccoli.
8. Eat real food, as opposed to food-like products. It’s one thing to avoid unhealthy food, but I’d argue it’s equally important to give your body nourishing, real foods that will help it perform well.
Tip: Find a farmer’s market and become a regular!
Cheers to a feel-good Friday!
Q: What’s something you do every day to feel good?