A new year, a new you. Isn't that the way it is supposed to go?
Well, sometimes plans change. Life happens and we get busy. Our good intentions are set aside and the grind of life takes over again.
Without health, we have nothing. So this year YOU are really going to make this happen! I want to help you. I want you to invite you to take a challenge. I want to show you how to start a health routine and commit to stick to it for 2 months. Say what? Well, the science says that it takes 66 days to form a habit. Once it becomes routine, then it becomes a habit. Get out your pen and paper and start writing down your new routine, then hang it where you will see it every single day.
I also want you to focus on adding in new habits and health routines. Now is not the time to worry excessively about getting rid of bad habits. Once you begin to feel healthier and are on your path to wellness, the bad things have a tendency to take care of themselves. Focus on doing good for yourself.
Creating a health routine allows you to have ownership and accountability over your health too. Take charge.
I believe the pillars to good health are: sleep, real food, detoxification, and movement. If you are missing any of these important health practices, then it is almost impossible to feel your best.
Let's dive in.
How to start a Health Routine
Sleep is vitally important to maintaining your health. You can't go without it. Lack of sleep can cause a whole host of health problems and degenerative diseases! People who get fragmented sleep even experience neurocognitive decline!
“Numerous medical disorders involving the immune system are associated with changes in the sleep-wake physiology–either being caused by sleep dysfunction or being exacerbated by sleep disruption. These disorders include infectious diseases, fibromyalgia, cancers, and major depressive disorder” (source)
Sleep deprivation changes the way we think and make decisions. This is why it's at the top of my list. Once you start sleeping, it will be easier to stick to a health routine and make good health choices.
This may be painful for some of you, but if you want to get really good sleep then you need to limit screen time in the evening. Exposure to artificial light in the evening hours (after the sun has set) suppresses the production of melatonin. Melatonin is our sleep hormone. I tend to work on my computer right up until I go to bed at night, so I ALWAYS wear these glasses to block the artificial blue light and preserve my melatonin production.
I have actually already written an entire post about how to optimize your sleep, so head on over to my “15 Sleep Enhancing Tips” post to read more detail.
Another detail that you might not have considered before is your mattress. Not just how hard or soft it is, but how TOXIC it is. If you are breathing in toxins while you sleep, it is going to have negative health effects. We recently purchased a non-toxic mattress and have definitely noticed a deeper level of restorative sleep. We love our mattress so much that I wrote a post all about it! Head on over to my “Non-toxic Mattress” post to learn more.
Next, let's dive into Real Food. I named my website after it, so it ranks pretty high on my list.
As the old saying goes: “You are what you eat”. It's true, what we put into our mouths becomes the building blocks that rebuild and repair our bodies. Eating food with zero nutritional value not only does not help us regain health, but it actually leeches micronutrients from our body. If a food lacks enzymes, then our body has to make enzymes to break down that food. Eating sugar depletes magnesium, which is needed for enzymatic activity in the body. I could go on and on.
What is Real Food? Just that: real, whole food. Not processed. Think raw carrots, grass-fed meat, raw milk, fresh greens, nuts and seeds. Food that comes in a box or a can is going to be nutritionally devoid. Real food breaks down over time and loses its nutritional value. Just think how long the boxed foods have been on the shelves.
It can be hard to change eating habits. We are very emotionally attached to food. So, I suggest grabbing a few good cookbooks and cooking your way through their pages. It makes this change so much easier. Here are a few that I recommend to get you started.
Grab one of those books, jump right in, and don't be hard on yourself. It can be hard to change lifelong eating habits, so do it one bite at a time. You make the choice about what you put into your body. Remember that. It's all about choices, let's make them good ones! If you make a bad choice, own it, then move forward with good choices.
If you need a little more assistance in the kitchen, then you should definitely check out 20 Dishes. They are my favorite meal plan service. They give you all the tools you need to prep an entire weeks worth of healthy meals in under one hour per week!
If you live in an area that does not have access to healthy foods, or local co-ops then you need to check out Thrive Market. It is like Costco meets Amazon Prime. Wholesale prices, free shipping, real food. We buy so many hard to find items from there every month. You can even shop by category: Paleo, Gluten Free, Mom, Raw, Staples, and Vegan!
Let's talk detox.
In our modern age, our bodies are bombarded with a huge toxic burden! WAY more that we were experiencing even 50 years ago. Toxins from our food, water, household cleaners, personal care products, EMF's, and the list goes on and on. We need to keep our detoxification pathways open and in good working order. How do we do this? Well, the first step would be to minimize your toxic burden. Next, you need to do regular detoxification. I am going to go over how we do this every single day.
First: ditch as many toxins in your life as you can! Take a look at what you use daily, on your body and in your home. Do you wear makeup? Do you clean your house with household cleaners? Do you use detergents and fabric softeners? Do you brush your teeth, drink tap water, use shampoo? You catch my drift. Start looking at the labels on everything you use. This will probably be shocking to you. I know I was terrified once I really dove into this one!
Let's start with makeup.
“Women put 515 chemicals on their face and body every day by using beauty products that contain dozens of ingredients, some of them potentially harmful. A survey found women typically use up to 13 products, most of which contain more than 20 ingredients, including additives.” (source)
Do you want to know how many toxic chemicals the United States bans from use in personal care products? Eleven. Do you want to know how many harmful chemicals are banned in Europe? One thousand three hundred. The last time that we even passed a law regulating this was in 1938. This is just plain wrong! Join my safe skin care facebook group, where we continue this discussion and offer solutions!
Okay, we have cleaned up your personal care products. Now we move to household cleaners. They are filled with harsh chemicals. Get them out! I have a bunch of homemade cleaner recipes on my DIY Cleaners Page. You can also find a lot of different recipes online that use essential oils instead of toxic chemicals. Let me tell you, these homemade cleaners seriously get the job done too! I use a cleaner called Thieves cleaner, from Young Living, and it works better than any cleaner I have ever used!
So now that we have detoxed your personal care and cleaning products, let's move on to detoxifying your BODY! I have to advise, as with any wellness routine, always consult with your primary care provider before embarking on any detoxification program. None of this is meant to be taken as direct medical advice, its simply an account of what I personally do to support my detoxification. I wrote a post where I detailed “How I Do Regular Detoxification“. I also do regular coffee enemas. Say what? Yes, they are amazing and you can read my post all about “Why I Do Coffee Enemas“.
Okay so we have talked about sleeping, eating, and detoxifying. Let's move on to the final pillar of health: movement.
Again, I am going to give you the disclaimer to check with your primary care provider before starting any new exercise routine. Also, start slow. If you go from the couch to long distance running, you will get injured. That is a fact.
I am a runner and have been for many years, it's hard to go a day without getting in my run! One summer in college I was working too many jobs and didn't have time to get my runs in. I gained 38 pounds in 3 months! I also wasn't sleeping enough and my diet was not all that great (I worked at a pie shop). Oops. As soon as school was back in session I was able to run again and the weight came off. But, that experience is forever in my mind. I remember how I felt. So limited, so tired, and in disbelief that none of my clothes fit anymore. I understand how it feels to be trapped inside of a body that doesn't feel so great. I am here to help anyone in this situation to find freedom.
Remember that you will not SEE immediate results, but you will almost always FEEL immediate results! Be patient and don't be hard on yourself. Consistency produces results! Stick to the plan, every day!
Start slow. Go for a walk every day. Even if it's for 10 minutes. It all adds up. If you don't want to head outside to exercise, then pick up a rebounder and bounce on it for 10 minutes every day. Rebounding is also great for lymphatic support. Get moving!
Find exercise that makes you happy. If you dislike running, then don't run. It's just that simple. If it's an activity that does not bring you joy, then you are very unlikely to stick to it. My husband LOVES to lift weights, but he really dislikes running. He knows what he likes and that's what he does at the gym. I love running because it's quiet and I get to be outside on my trails. The thought of the peace that I experience when on my trails is what gets me to lace up my shoes when it is -20 degrees outside!
Try yoga, you get the benefit of detoxification with yoga too! Or check out T-Tapp, its gentle and effective!
Whatever you do, just make sure that you are moving. Try chasing your kids around the yard, or just stretching on the living room floor for 20 minutes. Elevate your heart rate as much as you can tolerate. Challenge yourself. But most of all, have fun with it!
If you start the mental conversation about your workout, and find that you are talking yourself out of the workout, just picture this…
Okay, let's recap and make this actionable. Here is where you need to grab that pen and paper that I mentioned earlier.
Write down action steps. I have listed below some of the easiest first steps in the right direction. Pick from the lists, or do them all. Just get started. Now. Then, do them every day. After a few months they will become routine and you won't even notice that you are doing them anymore. At first, wearing the orange glasses at night seemed so odd to me. Now I can't be without them, I even take them along on trips!
- Sleep: get some orange glasses, go to bed when you are tired, limit sleep time in the evenings, eat dinner earlier so you are not digesting while you are sleeping, invest in a new bed, get some extra magnesium.
- Real Food: buy a cookbook, subscribe to a meal plan service, go to the health food store and shop the periphery (where the real food is) not the box aisles, buy some fun new kitchen gadgets to make cooking fun (I have a list of my favorites HERE), enlist the family and make cooking a great interactive activity that everyone enjoys, throw out all the junk in your cabinets and start fresh.
- Detoxification: start reading labels on everything, throw out the personal care products and cleaners that contain harsh and toxic chemicals, buy some non-toxic makeup that you can feel good about putting on your skin, try making your own personal care products and cleaners, get started using essential oils (your home will smell amazing and your wellness and mood will improve!), get yourself a coffee enema bucket and take the leap, get a sauna and sweat it out (I use mine 5-6 times per week!), take a detox bath, make a detox smoothie, make my favorite detox salad, grab some supplements to help support your body in its detoxification efforts.
- Movement: find a form of movement that you like, then do it most days of the week. Gradually increase your level of activity. Rest and repair. Do not over do it with exercise. Too much exercise causes oxidative damage to the body. Everything in moderation. Make a list right now of all the ways you plan to move this week. Then check them off as you go.
One more VERY IMPORTANT step. I want you to write down your WHY. Why do you want to achieve a higher level of wellness? Go deep on this one. Ask yourself questions about the why that you come up with to peel back the layers. For example, let's say that my why was to lose weight. That's great, but WHY do I want to lose weight? So I can be more active with my children? So I have more self-confidence? So my lab values improve and my health markers are better? Go even deeper. Why do you want your health markers to improve? So you don't end up with a chronic, or terminal disease? Yes, go there. Now write all of these down. Everything that comes into your head. Put it on paper. Even the painful ones. Be real. Be honest. Now, hang this one next to your wellness plan. Look at it every day.
Finally, every morning when you look yourself in the mirror say this out loud: “I forgive you, I'm sorry, I love you, thank you”. Show yourself love and forgiveness. Sometimes the ability to forgive and move on can open doors to finally sticking to a healthy living routine! Let go of limitations and reservations. You can do this. I got your back.
There you have it, this is my list and the action steps that I take every day to move down the path to elevated health and wellness. You can do this too. I would love to hear from you in the comments below! Which steps are you going to take right now?
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None of these health benefits have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. They should not be used in place of personal judgment or medical treatment when needed, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. (Only your doctor can diagnose and treat disease.) Read my full disclaimer.