Making Big Health Changes with Little Time to Spare

Although there has been a big shift towards healthier living over the years, adult obesity rates in the U.S. are once again on an incline. One of the most common excuses used for unhealthy habits is time, or lack thereof. For most working adults on a tight schedule it becomes harder to maintain a healthy lifestyle over the years and easier to create bad habits like choosing fast food over a well-balanced meal. In fact, according to a recent study, more than 92% of people turn to fast food because it’s a quick option. Wearables were created in the hopes of being a simple, non-time consuming way to keep a person on track to a better overall lifestyle, however, wearable technology can only do so much. Ultimately, it is up to the user. After all, while being busy may not always be a choice, living an unhealthy lifestyle is. The following steps are the small things that can be incorporated into anyone’s daily routine that take up almost no time at all, but can make a world of difference on your health in the long run.

Weigh Yourself

The first step is not only the easiest, but one of the least practiced by adults: Weigh yourself. Although this step seems logical, too many people overlook it. While it’s not exactly vital that you get on the scale every day, weighing yourself once a week can tell you a lot more about your body than you might have thought. Knowing your weight can determine everything that is required in order for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Once you’ve developed the habit of weighing yourself, it becomes much easier for you to set realistic goals and understand what you have to do to achieve them, like the number of steps you need to take a day to lose weight. If you don’t own a wearable device, knowing your weight is one of the only ways to really know when something is or isn’t helping you improve your daily routine.

Drink Some Water

Another vital thing one needs to do for their body is to stay hydrated. Not with drinks loaded with sugar or caffeine, but with good old H2O. No matter what ailment you have, more often than not, drinking water will help. While this step seems so easy, not nearly enough people are getting the amount they really need throughout the day. On average, women should be drinking about 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) a day, while men should be drinking about 3 liters (about 13 cups). If this seems extreme to you that probably means you’re not drinking enough water. Dehydration causes nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and even low blood pressure, so drink up! Water has been proven to help with weight loss too. A 2010 study showed that drinking water before meals can help you lose close to 5 additional pounds.

Although drinking water is so effective, a lot of people still aren’t getting enough daily. Sometimes it’s easier to set goals for staying hydrated. For instance, telling yourself “By 10 am I will make sure to have had at least 2 glasses.” I strongly encourage you to keep a full water bottle around at all times. Having it alongside you as you run between your daily errands, meetings, and activities can make all the difference.

Planning Your Meals

This next step towards leading a healthier life might be the most difficult and time consuming, but it’s incredibly effective. Meal planning keeps your diet on track so you won’t run to a fast food joint for a last minute meal. And it’ll help you keep the unhealthy items out of your fridge. One of the best rules to follow is “Out of sight; Out of mind.” If you don’t keep junk food in your house, then you won’t eat it. Keep that rule in mind at the grocery store especially if you’re a snacker. When you have healthy snacks already stocked you won’t feel the temptation to binge on unhealthy processed food. As I mentioned, I understand that this may be the hardest step to stick to, as it is more time consuming. Find a day though when your schedule opens up the most. Using that time to plan ahead and create a system makes it easier for anyone wanting to stay on task during his or her busy week.

Rest Up

If you’re like me, you come home physically drained after a long day’s work, but your mind is still racing and sleep seems like it’s miles away. That’s why this next step can be so challenging for some. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your both your mind and body, and doctors recommend adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Research has found, though, at least 40% of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep; the most sleep deprived Americans are under the age of 40.

So get some sleep! For those with nighttime busy-brain, try exercising daily or stretching before bed. Also, make sure you’re in bed early enough to allow yourself enough time to fall asleep, so you can get your seven hours. Sleep trackers significantly help as well, especially for those hoping to better understand when the best time for their body to rest is. When accommodating a hectic lifestyle though, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to get your sleep on. You deserve it.

Make Do-able Changes

The last, and perhaps most important step when making changes to improve your health is to make do-able changes. Self-monitoring often times only goes so far. Wearables are an easy fix that takes no time from your busy schedule that can deeply improve your health and general understanding of what your body needs. Know what will and won’t work for your daily schedule. If you take on too much too soon or make too big of changes to your daily routine you may end up right back where you started. After all, it’s the small changes that usually lead to the big changes in the long run.

Once you these minor changes become habits, you will start to see a better more fulfilled you. Choosing to make changes to live a healthier lifestyle is the best thing you can ever do for yourself, and might even make your hectic daily schedule a little more bearable too.