10 Ways to Be Healthier Without Really Trying

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Heart your health

Living a healthy lifestyle does not mean you have to be perfect or spend all of your time dieting and exercising. In fact, there are several things you can start doing today that require little to no effort but can make a big impact on your long-term health.

1. Commit to a junk-free grocery list.
You’re going to eat junk food at some point, especially when going out or on special occasions. That’s perfectly normal, but when you’re home, you can significantly reduce the amount of empty calories you eat by simply not keeping junk food in the house. The less convenient you make it, the easier it is to avoid.

2. Use smaller dishes.
Studies have shown that when people were served a smaller amount of food on a large plate (such as a dinner plate), they ended up wanting and eating more. When those same people were served the same amount on a smaller plate (like a salad plate), they ended up eating less and still feeling satisfied.

3. Eat your vegetables first.
Eating healthier isn’t just about eliminating bad things from your diet, but adding good things as well. By eating nutrient-rich vegetables first, you make sure that you’re getting the most out of your meals before you fill up.

4. Make friends with a good bottle of water.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but carrying around a bottle of water with you throughout the day will encourage you to stay hydrated. If you’re not a big fan of plain water, try adding some lemon, lime or orange slices to it.

5. Redesign your sleep routine.
Sleep is a critical part of our overall health—allowing our bodies to heal and recharge. Evaluate your current sleeping habits to see if any changes need to be made. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal sleeping environment is cool (about 65 degrees), minimal in artificial light, clean and quiet. Learn more about proper sleeping habits.

6. Multi-task while you exercise.
A common complaint when it comes to exercising is that it takes up too much time that people just don’t have. The solution? Work small amounts of activity into what you’re already doing. Try walking in place while watching television, doing calf raises in the shower or doing a few lunges during your break.

7. Keep healthy snacks on hand.
There will always be temptations out there—a child’s birthday cake, donuts in the break room or the smell of buttered popcorn at the movies. By keeping some healthy snacks nearby, you may be able to avoid the temptation and make a healthier choice instead. Nuts, granola bars and tangerines are all great options.

8. Drink water before meals.
Many times when we think our brain is telling us that we’re hungry, it’s actually trying to tell us that we’re thirsty. By drinking a full glass–or two–of water before your meal, you may not only help quench your thirst, but you will feel fuller while eating less.

9. Store healthy food more prominently.
Remember when we mentioned that when things are inconvenient, they’re easier to avoid? The same basic principle applies here. In your pantry and refrigerator, move your food around so that the healthier options are more visible while the junk food is more hidden. Subconsciously, you will end up eating the healthy food more often than the junk just because you see it first.

10. Find new reasons to move.
No matter how in-shape (or out-of-shape) we are, we all move every day. The problem is that as a whole, we’re not moving enough. Take an assessment of when and how you move during the day. Are there ways to increase that amount without much hassle? What about delivering a message in person instead of sending an email? Or parking a little further away from the entrance? Maybe you could take your dog around the block one more time than you usually do. What would work best for you?

These are just a few ideas that can be implemented in your life with little effort. No effort is too small and every choice counts.

About Dr. Meek

Meek, Bradley L. Dr. Bradley Meek is a native of Baton Rouge. He received his medical degree from LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, LA, and completed an Internal Medicine residency, serving as Chief Resident at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has been in practice since 1999. Dr. Meek specializes in adult and adolescent primary care and preventive medicine, and his special interest is in treatment of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.
Dr. Meek sees patients ages 18 and older and practices at Internal Medicine at Picardy. Click here to schedule an appointment online.
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