When starting out on a journey to prioritise your health it can be overwhelming. So many changes to be made.
Where to start?
I want to make this simple for you. Give you the foundational tools.
Once you bed down the foundations you can springboard to new foods, swapping ingredients that are not so good for you and trying new activities.
But first things first. Get the foundations in place.
There are five pillars of the health foundation. When you start, these should be your top priority. The first two are SO important that it is hard to determine which one should come first. So treat them with equal importance.
These five pillars are nutrition, water, sleep, movement, and stress management.
Pillar 1: Nutrition
This is the foundation of good health. A healthy diet ensures that your body gets all the necessary nutrients to function properly. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Limit processed foods, sugar, and saturated fat.
You know this of course, but let me help you incorporate it into your daily routine. The key to this pillar is to increase your intake of vegetables. Add vegetables to EVERYTHING! Have them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For example: Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast? Add in a handful or two of raw or gently wilted English spinach, a large flat mushroom grilled with olive oil, garlic, and Tamari (a low salt, no wheat soy sauce), and diced raw tomato with basil.
Having a protein smoothie? Along with your berries and half a frozen banana, throw in 2 handfuls of greens – think spinach, cos (romaine) lettuce, Swiss chard or kale, coriander, mint, or parsley, or a mix of these greens.
Pizza night? Serve up a platter of freshly washed and dried cos (romain) lettuce with a sprinkle of sea salt. Lettuce is a water based and the darker lettuces like cos contain minerals. You could also use an iceberg lettuce, but these have less minerals.
Pillar 2: Water
Drinking enough water is crucial for maintaining good health. It helps regulate body temperature, transport nutrients, and flush out waste. Aim for at least 8 cups of water a day. Get yourself a water jug or bottle and note how many refills you have in a day to help you keep track. Add herbs, fruit, vegetables, or spices if you don’t like the taste of water. A cinnamon stick or sprig of rosemary can really improve the taste and give you additional minerals. Try not to guzzle or drink it fridge cold. Room temperature and sipping throughout the day are better. As is drinking warm water, allowed to cool after boiling.
Make it a habit to have a big glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. We need to rehydrate ourselves after a night of sleep. And if you don’t own a water filter I highly recommend you get one to filter out the chlorine and fluoride that is added to the municipal water system. You don’t need them in your body system.
Pillar 3: Sleep
Sleep is essential for physical and mental health. It helps restore and rejuvenate the body, improves mood, and boosts cognitive function. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night. If you are having trouble sleeping, go to Dr Google. You will find plenty of resources to help you improve. Or check out my previous post 6 Tips to Improve Your Sleep.
Lifestyle changes that I have made that have improved my sleep include the 8-3-2-1-0 rule.
Number of hours before bed:
- 8 hours – no more caffeine
- 3 hours – no more food or alcohol
- 2 hours – no more work
- 1 hour – zero (0) screen time.
Now, in all honesty, this is not every night of my life, but I do aim to do this 80% of the time.
Pillar 4: Movement
Regular physical activity is important for maintaining good health. It helps improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and bone density. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
And add in some extra movements like squats. Start with doing blocks of 5 and work up to doing more squats per block and several times per day. Squats are fantastic as they work your big muscle groups. Check out some videos on YouTube to make sure that you are doing them correctly. Here is one that you might find helpful. How to do a basic squat?
Pillar 5: Stress Management
Chronic stress can have negative effects on your physical and mental health. Practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature. If you can find time to take yourself into a forest for a few hours each month, this can be very therapeutic. Trees have a way of de-stressing you and taking away anxieties and fears. Try it!
Don’t try and make the changes all at once. Pick one and work on it for a week or two, even a month. Once it is bedded down as a habit you can move on to the next one.
By prioritising these five pillars of health in the order of nutrition, water, sleep, movement, and stress management, you can help ensure that your body is functioning at its best. Remember to make small changes gradually and be consistent with your habits for lasting results.
If you need help in making lifestyle changes I offer two programs to help you achieve your health goals: the 5-Day Body Detox and the SexyFit Nutrition Challenge.
- 5-Day Body Detox: This program is designed to help you detoxify your body and jumpstart your weight loss journey. The program includes a meal plan, recipes, and shopping lists for five days. It also provides guidance on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle after the detox.
- SexyFit Nutrition Challenge: This program is a 33-day challenge that focuses on nutrition, exercise, and self-care. The program includes meal plans, recipes, and shopping lists for the entire month. It also provides workout videos and daily inspiration to keep you motivated.
You can find out more about the programs here: www.vickiparker.net or follow me on social media. With my expertise and guidance, you can become the best version of yourself and achieve optimal health.
Live your life vibrantly…