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Published on September 25, 2018

back to basics sign

#TryItTuesday: Falling Back to the Basics

September marks the end of summer, and for many of us, it's the perfect time of year to reset our healthy lifestyle habits.

Over the summer, I got a little lax with my healthy eating and exercise routines. I’m ready to get back to the basics of moving more, eating better and getting more sleep.

While it’s tempting to try and implement all the changes I need to make at the same time, I remind myself that living a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Too many changes at once, and I will feel overwhelmed and give up at the first hurdle.

To help me get started, I’ve written down a few basic tips that I’m going to focus on this month.

Basic Tips for Healthy Eating

A big key to implementing healthy eating is to plan and prepare.

Eating less processed food

  • Trying new recipes (this helps especially with food boredom.)
  • Meal and snack planning
  • Purchasing healthy snack and food options
  • Substituting turkey sausage patties for pork sausage links

Portion control and nutritional value of foods

  • Tracking my food keeps me aware of my food choices. I’m often surprised at the calories or amount of sugar in certain foods. To help with tracking my diet (and activity), I use the My Fitness Pal app.
  • Using one-half slice of cheese (instead of a full slice) on my cheeseburger
  • Substituting plain yogurt when recipes call for sour cream
  • One of my most favorite snacks is graham crackers with frosting, instead of the frosting, I’m substituting with peanut butter.
  • Eating a half sandwich instead of a whole

Eating more fruits and vegetables

  • Including a fruit or vegetable with every meal
  • Adding lettuce, tomato and onion to my turkey sandwich
  • Instead of bread for my tuna sandwiches, using romaine lettuce
  • Making a smoothie with 1 cup berries, ½ to 1 banana, 1 cup spinach, ½ cup Greek yogurt and ¼ to ½ cup almond milk instead of a can of soda
  • Increasing the serving size of vegetables at meals
  • Having a fruit or vegetable for a snack
  • Having fruit as my dessert
  • Substituting zoodles for noodles
  • Instead of chips, having carrots and sliced peppers with a teaspoon of homemade ranch dip

Drinking fewer calories

  • Increasing and keeping track of my water intake. A quick tip: I keep eight popsicle sticks on my desk. Every time I fill my water bottle, I remove one popsicle stick. Once the eight sticks are removed, I’ve met my water intake goal for the day.
  • Substituting sparkling water in my wine glass, instead of the Cabernet.
  • Only adding creamer in my coffee on the weekend.

Basic Tips for Exercise

A big key to implementing exercise is to schedule it, and having a goal of being active every day.

  • No time for the gym, no worry. For a quick 10-minute workout, do some squats, burpees, lunges and running in place in your living room.
  • Or go for a quick walk around the block
  • Or have a dance party in the kitchen

Having a physical activity plan helps guide my daily exercise choices:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday are for cardio workouts. A few of my favorites include Zumba, circuit training and running
  • Tuesday and Thursday are for strength training.
  • Saturday and Sunday are fun exercise days like swimming, biking and hiking
  • Daily stretching. Five minutes in morning and evening, with a few minutes spread throughout my workday.
  • Yoga or Pilates two days a week just for fun.

Other things I do to increase physical activity can include making family events active events, like taking the grandkids swimming, or to the park.

Basic Tips for Sleep

We often overlook the impact insufficient sleep has on our health. Here's how to create and stick to a sleep schedule:

  • It really helps me to have the same bedtime and wake-up time, even on the weekends.
  • Setting my phone alarm as a reminder to start my bedtime routine.
  • Practicing a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Reducing blue light exposure in the evening
  • Eating dinner by 6 p.m.
  • Creating a restful environment
  • Keep room cool
  • Eliminate electronics from the bedroom
  • Diminish any light
  • Eliminate any noise

Basic Stress Relief Tips

Stress is typical for most of our days. Implementing and practicing some basic tips can go a long way toward preventing stress-related diseases.

  • Daily physical activity
  • Scheduling 15 minutes a day to read
  • Lighting a candle
  • Journaling
  • Spending time with friends and family
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Listening to soothing music

Which of these back-to-the-basic tips are you going to implement in your daily routine?  

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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