Establishing healthy habits in and out of the gym is crucial to our fitness journey and quality of life. Your level of fitness isn’t the only thing that contributes to your happiness, so when I say “healthy habits” not only am I referring to the time you spend in the gym and kitchen, but I’m also referring to things you can implement outside of both to find a more profound love for your PROCESS.
Such a beautiful thing.
Okey – here it is!
Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is a REAL thing. You can read ALL about it here if you want to nerd out, or you can take my word for it with this down and dirty explanation:
NEAT is your caloric expenditure achieved from activity – you guessed it – that isn’t from exercising.
Going about your daily life requires energy, and therefore you burn calories just by existing and getting out of bed the in morning. The only problem is our life gets more and more sedentary, and we spend more and more time at our desk, or horizontal on the couch with each passing day.
Get up and MOVE.
The day before I wrote this draft, I took a meeting with my boss while I walked to a dermatologist appointment, it felt AMAZING. I had mental clarity, was able to capture my recap and notes on my Evernote app, and had a little rush of endorphins. I know what you’re thinking, a walking meeting? Groundbreaking. But have you actually ever done it? I was always like, “Oh yah, those.” But never really put the idea to practice. Now I’m never going back.
Likewise, my husband and I take walks with our son in the stroller every Saturday (we don’t work out on Saturdays) and it’s such a beautiful time to bond, be outside, and enjoy time together.
If you can walk to work, appointments, or on your way to meet up with friends, do it. Take the stairs. Park away from the entrance. You get the idea. There’s an opportunity to take MOST sedentary things and make them active if you allow yourself to try.
Increase Your Hydration
It’s incredible how much better you feel after drinking more water for days on end. Yah, it kind of sucks spending a large portion of your day in the bathroom, but hey, at least it’ll encourage you to get your ass off your desk chair and get yourself some NEAT, per the above!
There are different guidelines on how much water you should drink for hydration, but I’ve found the best guide is your thirst level and the color of your urine. When I was in the agency world, one of my clients was Gatorade, and their “Pee Key” for young athletes is forever in my brain.
Your urine should look like lemonade, so keep drinking until you match up.
If you NEED to track consumption, try any one of these water bottles or explore your meal tracker app. Most include a water tracking functionality.
A few rules I try to live by:
- Bring two glasses of water to bed with you. One to drink during the night (if needed), and one to drink right when you wake up. Sit up and chug whatever is left of both as soon as you open your eyes.
- Drink another glass of water before you have your morning coffee.
- Finish an 8oz-ish glass or bottle per hour.
Cut ONE Source of Mindless Calories
I’m not saying RESTRICT or DEPRIVE yourself, so let’s be clear. It isn’t giving up something you LOVE, but it’s about giving up something you’re indifferent about yet continue to consume out of habit. Take a look at your consumption, and if there are excessive condiments, garnishes, juices or dressed up coffee like lattes or mochas, you’ve got an excellent place to start. Kiss whatever truly does not bring you joy goodbye.
Fat loss is dependent on a caloric deficit, and when you’re trying to maintain that deficit your calories MATTER, and you more than likely are super strategic about how you consume them. A latte with 110 calories may seem negligible during your 24 hour day, but over a week adds up to 770 calories, and over a month adds up to 3,080. That’s A LOT of room to play with if you’re crunching numbers. I drink black coffee with a few drops of Stevia, and it serves the same purpose and ritual as the latte I used to drink on the regular. Now I’m able to use those 110 calories for a snack later in the day.
Or for a glass of wine.
Track ONE Meal
I’m not just talking about tracking caloric content. I’m talking about how you feel when you’re eating it and after you’ve finished.
If you’re in a deficit, doing Whole30, or implementing ANY methodology, your life is not inherently better. In fact, the cost of being lean and losing weight can be EXPONENTIALLY high. If you’re dieting, but your quality of life is suffering – what is the point? We’re doing ALL of this health and fitness shit to make ourselves happy, so if you eat a meal of chicken breast and broccoli and are miserable, you’re doing it wrong.
Mental health is just as important as your physical, which is just as important as your emotional health. Read more on finding freedom from food HERE and HERE. And then implement some of these tips to make your meals HAPPIER and more joyful (even if they are a touch bland).
- Explore. Incorporate different herbs, spices, and ingredients to add variety to tired recipes
- Sit down. Don’t eat standing up
- Chew slowly. Don’t shovel your food
- Do NOT multitask. Enjoy your food thoroughly and give it most if not all of your focus
- Use a place setting. It just provides the meal with a little something extra, you know?
- Choose music over TV. While both are sensory, TV has been proven to aid in mindless behavior, which can lead to over-consumption
Identify Your Non-scale Victories
The scale is NOT your only measure of progress. As I mentioned here, the scale doesn’t tell the entire story of your journey OR your success, and therefore, a number cannot be your only means of happiness. Identify some non-scale victories that remind yourself that you’re on the right track. Some of mine are:
- Feeling less stress in my training or nutrition routine
- Identifying an improved mindset when it comes to your relationship with food
- Progress pictures
- Your clothes fitting and feeling better
- Feeling STRONG
- Having fewer food thoughts throughout the day
Humor is a WIDELY underrated part of our daily life. We take ourselves SO seriously and are so sensitive to every. Single. Thing. That people around us say, think, feel, express, and it’s honestly fahking exhausting. Three years ago, I made it a priority to incorporate humor on the regular.
Enter my leading ladies.
Books and Netflix by Chelsea Handler, Amy Schumer, Natasha Leggero, Whitney Cummings, and podcasts like Guys We’ve Fucked, The Lady Gang, The Morning Toast, and Unladylike. I rely on these gals to make me laugh, keep my spirits high, and give me creative fodder for my sense of humor.
Identify Joy in Things You Take for Granted
If you’re single, I don’t mean to discourage you from the thought of marriage or having a family…but shit gets real routine real quick. Life with a newborn or toddler is more about survival than anything else. My standards for my personal grooming, appearance in front of my husband, and how I kept my house use to sit prettily in an ivory tour, looking down on others with a grin and a slight case of RBF.
Five years ago, my person didn’t have so much as a single hair out of place, and every decorative object had its place. Now, I literally pee in front of my husband while he tells me about his day, with a five-day-old DIY blowout and a kitchen with crumbs all over the floor. SEXUAL.
Like, HALP ME. Can you relate?
Regardless of your season of life, we’re all busy and forget to stop to smell the roses.
The other day, amid my messy kitchen, I was racing about trying to get my ass out the door to each my 7:10 AM at Barry’s. I was an actual human whirlwind leaving a trail of spandex in my wake when I stopped dead in my tracks.
In anticipation of Luke waking up, Matt had set up the toaster and laid out Van’s waffles, ghee, organic maple syrup, and banana on the counter, so all he had to do was push the toaster lever when he heard Luke stir, and then dress the waffle when they were downstairs. Like, it was the cutest fahking thing I had ever seen.
My heart rate immediately calmed, and then it swelled with overwhelming gratitude. It was the best reminder of what is truly important in life.
IMO – the best thing you can do for your mental and emotional health is to start your day listing your top priorities and three things you’re thankful for.
Trust me. Your motivation will skyrocket when you remember what you’re fighting for and why.
There you have it, Sevent Healthy Habits You Can Start NOW…so GO!