Contrary to what many women think (and what some misguided fitness professionals will tell you), lifting weights will not make you "big and bulky." Women lack the testosterone levels necessary to achieve a significant amount of muscle gain. The truth is that lifting weights will help you get leaner and will increase your bone density, which is critical for the prevention of osteoporosis—a disease affecting 44 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. (See: 5 Reasons Lifting Heavy Weights Won't Make You Bulk Up)
"Healthy living" to most people means both physical and mental health are in balance or functioning well together in a person. In many instances, physical and mental health are closely linked, so that a change (good or bad) in one directly affects the other. Consequently, some of the tips will include suggestions for emotional and mental "healthy living."
The more muscle you have, the higher and hotter your metabolism runs. In fact, strength training can help boost your metabolism by as much as 15 percent! A faster metabolism means you'll burn more calories all day long (even sitting in front of your computer) and get lean and toned faster. (The other benefits of lifting weights will also convince you to get to the weight room.)
Yes. Just allot yourself enough time to get a good night's sleep. Stick to a regular sleep schedule as best as you can, rather than sleeping and waking up at different times from day to day. Do not exercise within 2 hours of sleeping. Do not eat large amounts of food before going to sleep. Avoid caffeine or sugary foods and drinks before sleeping. Try not to use your TV, computer, phone, tablet or any other screen shortly before sleeping. Dim your lights before you go to sleep. All of this, combined with living a healthier lifestyle all around should greatly increase your quality of sleep.
The plant-based packaged-food category is more expansive than ever. “The plant-based movement ties into a number of trending consumer priorities, including health protection, environmental stewardship, and ethically driven eating,” Sass says. “My clients constantly tell me they feel better physically and feel good about how they are spending their food dollars when they eat more plant-based foods.” When it comes to new finds, think pumpkin seed butter from 88 Acres, algae oil from Thrive, chia seed oil from Lekithos, and even dark-chocolate-covered chickpeas from Biena.
Your choices rub off on others: I took immense satisfaction when I received a Snapchat from a teammate of mine a couple of weeks ago. He wasn’t showing me how drunk he was at 2am; instead he was dipping some celery into a tub of hummus while on the couch at home. He was the last person I was expecting to see this from, but I guess that’s the power a healthy lifestyle can have on those impressionable people around you.
"Fallbacks" are exercise and diet options that you can fall back on if life gets in the way of your plan. Nutritionally, this may mean having a stash of Larabars in your car or desk drawer so you always have a healthy food option. When it comes to your workout routine, you may find that an a.m. workout can prevent a crazy workday or p.m. slump from convincing you to skip the gym. Take a little time today to identify three fallbacks (diet or exercise) that you can use if your day doesn't go as planned.
Be wary of the lattes at your local coffee shop, as they're often loaded with extra sugar and empty calories. Pure coffee beans contain powerful health-boosting antioxidants. Don't erase these benefits with a waistline expanding helping of whole milk and added sugar. Opt for regular coffee and add a splash of your own cream and zero-calorie sweetener—or try to drink it black.
Planks and side planks are an excellent way to strengthen your core, fast. Find one minute today to fit in an extra plank. If you can't hold the position for the full 60 seconds, hold as long as you can and then repeat as many times as necessary to total 60 seconds of work. (See what happened when one woman tried planking for five minutes a day for an entire month.)
Do you wake up with enthusiasm for the day ahead? Do you have the high energy you need to do what you want? Do you laugh easily and often, especially at yourself? Do you confidently find solutions for the challenges in your life? Do you feel valued and appreciated? Do you appreciate others and let them know it? Do you have a circle of warm, caring friends? Do the choices you make every day get you what you want?
Eating healthy doesn't mean that you need to deprive yourself of delicious flavors and foods. (See: Please Stop Feeling Guilty About What You Eat) Try one of these healthy desserts for a snack that satisfies your sweet tooth or—if you're really dying for that ice cream or pizza—go ahead and indulge in something "unhealthy." (Just don't make it an all-the-time thing.) Life is all about balance, right?