Summer’s the season when a healthy lifestyle path can get diverted by vacations, weekend getaways, family reunions, friends visiting, and much more. When Fall rolls around, I see many of my clients wishing to get back into their healthy lifestyle routines. For some, it’s easy and for others it’s more of a struggle but, as I like to remind my clients, it’s do-able for all! Here are tips on how you can refresh your healthy habits with a Fall reset.
Tips to Get Back to Healthy Habits
If late summer nights have gotten you off track, make a re-commitment to getting back on a regular sleep schedule. Sleep gives our bodies time to recharge and renew. The benefits of getting a good night’s rest include stress reduction, less inflammation in the body, more energy and alertness during the day, a healthier heart, possible weight loss, and self-repair of the body.
Ideally, we should be sleeping for seven to nine hours per night. If you’re struggling with sleep, try some of these sleep tips.
Schedule in Exercise
Besides feeling great immediately after a sweaty workout session, there are many benefits to exercising regularly, both physically and mentally. What I hear many people say is that often the hardest part about exercising is getting to the gym! When it comes to exercise, my #1 recommendation is to schedule it in your calendar as you would a doctor’s appointment (make sure you allot time for getting to and from your workout studio as well). By carving out the time, you are making a commitment to exercising and will knowingly work your schedule around it. If you need to cancel, reschedule immediately.
If time is a factor, sign up or look for free exercise classes online. There are many to choose from. Keep in mind, a little exercise is better than nothing. If you can’t make it to the gym that day, think of ways to sneak in exercise – take the stairs at work, park further from the store, ride your bike to the train station, or take mini-breaks throughout the day to do some lunges, pushups, or jumping jacks.
Track Your Diet (at least for two weeks)
There are many free food / diet trackers available (one of my personal favorites is MyFitnessPal). Tracking your food intake helps you to see exactly what and how much you’re eating daily. It is a great way to get back on a healthy eating schedule, especially if you’ve strayed this summer. If food tracking is a chore, I recommend you try to stick to it for two weeks as it will give you a good glimpse into the habits that you’re in which may give you the incentive to make some healthy updates or changes.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Take the time to practice self-care! Spend time doing things that you enjoy to increase your mental and physical well-being. When you take care of your needs, you will be at your best for your colleagues, family, and friends. Here are ways to practice self-care.
- Take care of yourself. Eat regular meals, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly.
- Make your self-care a priority by setting aside time to practice it.
- Free and easy ideas self-care ideas: a detox bath, reading for 30 minutes, doing an at-home facial, gardening, meditating, journaling, working on your favorite hobby, going for a long walk with your dog, cooking your favorite meal, giving yourself a positive pep talk, star gazing, dancing to your favorite music.
- Other self-care ideas: a spa day, a weekend wellness retreat, taking a mental health day off from work (and not feeling guilty about it), getting acupuncture, attending a cooking class, planning a vacation, going to a museum, exploring a new city, taking a class to learn a new hobby.
Remember: a few minutes of self-care is better than no self-care.
Boost Your Immune System
Adding nutrient-dense foods to your diet will help to crowd out other high-sugar / processed foods and will help boost your immunity, which is especially important as winter approaches. If your body feels nourished and healthy, it’s most likely that you will also mentally feel better.
This article shares immune boosting foods to add to your diet.
Make Some Healthy Food Swaps
Some simple food swaps will save you on calories and support a whole foods lifestyle that will improve your health, immunity and assist in reaching your weight loss goals.
- Breads, Tortillas, Wraps: Swap out your sandwich / burger bread or bun with lettuce, grilled portobello mushrooms, or sweet potatoes. If you really want a carbohydrate item, you can reduce the caloric load by eating a whole grain muffin. Look for minimally processed and/or grain-free tortillas, taco shells, and chips. One of my preferred brands for those items is Siete Foods.
- Pasta and Rice: Spiralized vegetables – zucchini, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, and squashes – are a wonderful and healthy substitute for traditional pasta. Cauliflower rice is a great substitution for rice and is conveniently available in most frozen food aisles at your local grocery. Quinoa is full of protein and fiber and stands in for rice very well. There are also many tasty gluten-free options such as brown rice pasta and grain-free pasta at the store. Purchase a few different brands and see what you like best!
- Snacks: Choose your snacks mindfully. While the sugary or salty snack may be instantly gratifying, you may suffer from a slump a few hours later. Snack foods that will give you energy and keep you satiated include nuts, trail mix, packed tuna, hummus and vegetables, fruit, hard boiled egg, sliced turkey, string cheese, and Greek yogurt. I recommend keeping some of those snacks on-hand in your office and/or home so you can grab something easily. One note about protein bars: many contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Instead, make your own energy bites at home. Here are two of my go-to recipes: Beauty Protein Bites and PB&J Bites.
If this sounds like a lot to do, pick two or three of these tips and practice them for one to two weeks. Once they become a habit, pick up another. Before you know it, you’ll be back on track and feeling better than ever!