Guest Post By Gayle Cohen
One of the biggest obstacles of living a healthy lifestyle is time. The number one excuse is “I’m too busy” – “my job is demanding – working so many hours – the last thing I want to do is come home and cook a meal…even though I know that’s good for me” or “I get up early with the kids, work all day, and then chauffeur the kids around for after school activities and sports – I have no time already -where can I fit exercise in? Or pack myself a healthy lunch to take to work?” Or “I’m just too tired”
These are all things I’ve said to myself
I am just like you…we’re tired, we’re too busy…we just don’t want to add anything else to our already brimming over plate. So this begs the question…how do we create health in a busy world (whatever that world is for us).
I think the first thing we need to do is answer the question “what does health mean to me?” Is it:
*Drinking more water?
*to name a few
Whatever change you want to achieve – the goal should be to keep it simple…and automate as much as possible.
Today, we are going to talk about a few key players in “getting healthier”
- Food choices/nutrition/eating healthier:
- One way to eat more vegetables is to stock up on different frozen vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc. These are easily and quickly ready to eat. Oftentimes, I will add frozen broccoli to the pasta as it’s cooking, so I get all the glory and benefits of broccoli with no added time or effort.
- You can do is add vegetables to your smoothie (smoothies are also a quick and easy way to start the day off right – with protein, healthy fats, and fiber). My nutrition coach recommended adding cauliflower to my smoothies instead of ice – its mild taste won’t compete with the other smoothie ingredients, they make the smoothie creamier, and they add all the good nutrients and benefits of cauliflower without washing, chopping and cooking You can also add spinach to your smoothie – it doesn’t change the flavor or consistency, so you get the benefits of eating spinach without “eating” spinach. One thing I should note – it does change the color – it can look a little murky, but it doesn’t affect the deliciousness of the smoothie.
- If your resources allow for it, sign up for a meal subscription service I do know, from the research I’ve done is that there’s something for everyone…and more and more the focus is on options – especially healthy options – higher protein, lower sugar, lower carbs. Ingredients for these meals are shipped right to your door and detailed instructions are provided. The benefits are that you still are cooking (if that’s important to you), you’re not buying more than you need (a definite challenge for small households), and a lot of recipes can be done in 30 minutes (practically no time at all). ..you have the recipes if you want to make a dish on your own.
- A great healthy habit is to have your groceries delivered. In today’s world, we have everything we want at a click of a button! Utilizing Instacart, Amazon Fresh, Pea Pod, etc. can easily save an hour or two roaming the aisles. It also helps in curbing impulse purchases like the super delicious candy bar that you swear you’ll only eat one small piece at a time…and then because it’s in your house you inhale it in one sitting…Now I get a lot of people don’t have this challenge, but I do…Also, if you have small children, you don’t have to subject them or you to this task and it provides more time to do something more fun with them (unless of course, you all have fun at the grocery store). You can even automate this so that you have your staples always set up so you don’t have to recreate your list each time.
- If you are cooking, double the recipe or at least make a few extra – that way, you’re taking the same amount of time, but creating one or two additional meals for later in the week. Think of this as a mini food prep or batch cooking. For example, one of my favorite dishes is Tempeh with Cabbage and Onions. When I made this on Monday, I doubled the recipe and am eating it all week for lunch. Cooking more didn’t take much extra time during the actual cooking, but I now have lunch all week!
2) Let’s take exercising
One of the best ways to squeeze in exercise if you truly don’t have the time is to get up a little earlier (I know that may conflict with getting more sleep – but you have to decide what you want to work on). You don’t need to get up a lot earlier – even 10 minutes reaps benefits. Start with a 7 minute workout or sun salutations or even marching in place… it sets the tone for the day on a positive note…and it’s a small time investment.
- If you just can’t get up early and you like to watch t.v., do little workouts during the commercials…sit on a bosu ball, do squats or sit-ups, planks, yoga or stretching…Or you can watch your favorite Netflix show while you’re riding an indoor bike or taking a walk.
- If you’re at work, set an alarm several times a day to remind you to take a little walk (or at least stand up). If you have an iWatch, this is even easier – my iWatch reminds me to stand if I’ve been sitting for the first 50 minutes in an hour (in fact, it just reminded me). Even standing for 1 minute an hour is a good start…you have to start somewhere.
- Make physical activity a family activity – take walks after dinner as a family (even a short one); being active as a family hits two goals in one – exercising and spending more face time with family. You can even do this with friends – instead of getting together for a food activity, replace it with a walk or a hike or a bike ride or an exercise class – this way, you still get your face to face connection at the same time as you move your body.
- Schedule your workouts like a work meeting!
3) Drinking more water – This will be easier for some than others. I love drinking water…my husband hates it. He knows it’s good for him, but he hates the taste or idea or some other thing about plain water. On the other hand, I love everything about drinking water – how it makes me feel, how it makes me look and knowing that it does a body good. Even with all that, even I have trouble sometimes drinking as much water as I know I should.
- Ideally, we should try to drink half our body weight in ounces. And, you’ve probably heard this before, but if you get thirsty, you’re probably already water deprived…it’s best to drink water throughout the day.
- Set alarms (or reminders) for every hour – and drink a cup of water.
- If you don’t like the taste of water, like my husband, liven it up a bit – add fresh lemons (great to drink all day, but especially first thing in the morning). You can also add other fruits or vegetables – cucumber water tastes especially refreshing. You can even add flavor drops, like my husband, but please try to pick ones not full of sugar or chemicals.
- Put a glass of water on your night stand so it’s there for you to drink first thing in the morning. ..and drink it as soon as you wake up…not only is it an easy way to add water, it also helps to wake up the body.
- You can also keep a water jug with you to remind you of how much you want to drink. I keep a gallon jug in my fridge – I don’t carry it with me, it’s too heavy – but I use it to monitor how much water I drink at home…any water I drink outside the house is “extra credit”.
The important takeaways – pick one thing you want to focus on to start (if you already feel you’re too busy, adding multiple new goals may just be overwhelming and then you won’t do anything), start small, automate, and be consistent. Doing a little bit every day is better in the long run than going full out once in a while (e.g., exercising 10 minutes a day every day will you your body and mind more good than going to the gym and working out hard one day a week).
Gayle Cohen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her focus is to help people live their best lives possible, especially in the area of graceful/healthy aging. What you do today materially impacts how your life will be tomorrow. Gayle’s website is nutrition2glow.com; her instagram is @nutrition2glow and you can find her on Facebook as Gayle Bazerman Cohen. She welcomes any comments you may have and would love to hear from you!