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Many people aren’t satisfied with how they look or feel.  Maybe you have dreams of being slimmer, stronger, or just healthier in general; but have no clue where to start or what to do.  Taking any step, even if it’s just a baby step, is still better than doing nothing.  Here are some things you can do to jump start your health journey.

Set a goal for yourself

Being healthy isn’t always about losing weight.  Decide what’s important to you then make a plan to achieve it.  Let’s say you want to be more active.  You can go on a daily 15-minute walk or meet up with your friends weekly to play basketball.  If you want to eat healthier, you can strive to eat vegetables with every meal or drink more water instead of soda.

Plan your meals

Cooking your meals at home is healthier than ordering takeout, but trying to decide what to eat for dinner can be annoying.  An easy way to make meal planning fun is to give each night a theme.  You can do Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wing Wednesday, Pasta Thursday, Fish Friday, Sandwich Saturday and Seafood Sunday.  Having a basic guideline to follow will save you time and make your life easier.

Drink more water

It’s important to stay hydrated so your brain and body functions properly.  When you don’t drink enough water, you’ll experience brain fog, low energy levels, headaches, dry skin and other health issues.  Generally, you want to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.  An easy way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is to look at the color of your urine.  If it’s clear or pale yellow, you’re good to go.  If it’s darker, you need to increase your water intake.

Reduce the salt in your diet

Most people eat about twice the recommended amount of sodium per day and it’s not because you’re sprinkling too much table salt.  A good chunk of most people’s daily sodium intake actually comes from eating processed and prepared foods.  Reducing the sodium in your diet can lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.  You can cut back by:

  • Comparing labels and making choices that have the lowest sodium levels
  • Picking reduced or lower sodium versions of your favorite condiments
  • Buying fresh meat, fruits and vegetables
  • Using salt-free seasonings and spices

Cut down on alcohol

Drinking excessively can take a negative toll on your body over time.  Alcohol is full of empty calories, which can cause you to gain weight.  Plus, it can lead to health issues such as liver disease, high blood pressure and stroke.  The best thing to do is to cut it out of your diet completely.  But if you must drink, do it in moderation.  This means having no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink for women.

Exercise regularly

The CDC recommends doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week, plus 2 days of strength training.  Unfortunately, only one in four US adults get enough exercise.  Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, there are plenty of short workouts online that you can squeeze in during your day.  Try a variety of workouts until you find something you truly enjoy.

Get more sleep

Many people have a bad habit of bringing their phones to bed with them.  They figure they’ll just surf the internet or check their social media until they get tired.  But hours later, they’re still awake.  Sleep is an important part of your overall wellbeing so make sure you get enough rest.  Ideally, you want to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.  You can improve your sleep by having a set bedtime, avoiding caffeine, removing the electronics from your bedroom, and keeping your room dark, quiet and a comfortable temperature.