When it comes to health, most of us claim we want the good guy who treats us well while running after the bad boy who brings nothing but trouble. You know you should eat greens. You know they’re good for you and they’ll help you slim down and maintain steady energy — and you claim you want all those things. But what do you do? Go straight for the donut, which makes you feel great for two seconds before pulling the blood sugar equivalent of standing you up for that date. All that excitement quickly becomes dizziness and nausea. If you really want to get healthy, these are the stupid-simple ways to do it. They’re not the bad boys, but they’ll never do you wrong. Even better, you can start them today.
We all know it’s a long road to get healthy. But that’s why you should treat today like that date: Who do you want to go out with, the good guy or the bad? These are the strategies that, like a relationship with someone good, feel effortless. They make the long journey a pleasure, not punishment. So do something good for yourself today. Say no to the bad boy and welcome some of these quick and easy ways to get healthy into your life. Or at least say yes to a lunch date.
Get healthy with easy strategies from Dr. Lipman
Metro talked with Dr. Frank Lipman, integrative medicine specialist, and author of the new book HOW TO BE WELL, about improving your health. He’s the man to ask since his book is all about practical ways to boost your health and happiness daily — and none of them feel daunting. He dished on those steadfast strategies that will never steer you wrong if you’re trying to get healthy. But the beauty of them is just how simple they really are.
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Humor us for a minute while we break down why we’re calling them stupid-simple strategies. You won’t find one on this list about calories or working up a sweat. There’s no counting or measuring, only eyeballing. Forget about your purse; there’s nothing on this list he wants you to purchase. In fact, depending on what’s in your fridge, you can use all of them by sundown today.
Make Friends with Fat
Holding back from the avocado trend? Don’t! “Eating a diet of low fat foods is not the ticket to health we once thought,” according to Dr. Lipman. “Fat is absolutely essential for every function of the body and brain including healing and repairing functions, and when you eat enough of it every day, you enjoy a bounty of benefits.” Put down that low-fat 100-calorie snack pack right now and make sure you heard that very good reason to double down on the guac: Fat is essential to basic functions of your body.
What can a day of healthy eating with the right amount of fat do for you? “Stable, LONGER-LASTING energy and fewer hunger highs and lows,” are just the beginning, says Dr. Lipman. If your goal is to lose or maintain weight, you’ll also enjoy a more efficient metabolism and fewer cravings. Just want to feel great throughout the day? Golden. You can also thank that handful of almonds for “clearer thinking and more balanced moods,” he tells Metro. Healthy fats are also a hair, skin and nails supplement you’ll actually enjoy taking. Sold yet?
Seriously, Eat the Veggies
You know it, so why aren’t you doing it? “If there is one game-changing action you can start today that will utterly transform your state of well-being, it’s upping your consumption of life-supporting, phyto-chemical-packed, mineral-and-vitamin-rich, fiber-laden vegetables,” Dr. Lipman tells us. Read: There are just too many benefits to actually eating some roughage to keep ignoring this one.
To hit optimal levels, which is around two-thirds of your food intake, focus on adding veggies in throughout the day instead of taking other things away. It’s not about depriving yourself, but rather shifting your focus. As Dr. Lipman told us, all you need to do is “shift the green or crunchy portion of your meal from sidekick to starring role.”
Enjoy a Big Lunch
We’ve all heard the advice to eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper — but some people just aren’t hungry in the morning. There’s no need to force food down in the early hours, says Dr. Lipman. In fact, he suggests you “eat your largest meal of the day at lunch, in sync with when the sun is at its zenith, and a smaller meal at night, as the sun sinks out of sight.” Bonus points if you eat your lunch where you can see the sun at its zenith — more on this in a second.
Your body is most prepared to handle a big meal around this time, Dr. Lipman tells Metro, because “the ‘clock’ in your GI tract triggers hormones that set off hunger pangs and cue the liver and digestive system to get ready to process nutrients.” But he explains that these processes wind down at night just like we do, “which is why many people find that digestion and elimination, as well as sleep, are more satisfying with substantial lunches and lighter (sometimes soup-based) dinners.”
Rest Like You Mean It
You work hard, you run errands, you get stressed — but you keep going. We get it, you’re superhuman. But it’s time to treat sleep seriously since it has such a big effect on your health. So, sorry supermom, but that means taking care of yourself as well as you do your family, starting with tearing yourself away from the TV and your tablet. “The evidence is irrefutable. If you want to sleep better, take back control of after-dark tech habits,” Dr. Lipman summarized.
Sure, that episode of your favorite TV show kept you wanting more, but it can wait until tomorrow. That habit of winding down in front of the TV or your phone “squelches sleep triggers,” he explains, “not just because of light disruption, but also because it promotes alertness and mental revving.” Let’s put it this way: You’ll appreciate the show more and write wittier comments on your friends’ Instagram posts tomorrow if you sign off early and rest up tonight.
Get Outside, Already!
Parks aren’t just pretty — they’re like a stress-busting prescription for the average person. (Not to be confused with your actual anti-anxiety or depression prescription if you need one.) Spending “intentional time” outside — as in, paying attention to your surroundings — “restores something of your original human condition,” Dr. Lipman tells us. This includes “a calm body with an optimized immune system, and a brain in a state of restful awareness, alert to surroundings but unencumbered by constant thought.” Those bird sounds act to quiet down those anxious thoughts constantly running in the background of your brain — but only if you tune in and pay attention.
Ready to get healthy? Grab your hearty lunch packed with veggies and filling healthy fats, go outside and listen to the branches swaying in the breeze while you eat tomorrow. You’ll have checked four of the five boxes for a better you in a matter of minutes.