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  • Julie Branstetter

17 Steps to Happy & Healthy

Happy and Healthy

The #1 New Year’s Resolution year after year always has something to do with losing weight or trying on a healthier lifestyle. Some are successful and many just barely make it out of the gate. I have spent the last few years collecting better health habits that are not only easy to start but easy to stick with so here are some tips for a successful new start towards a healthier and happier you.

1. Drink MORE Water. You don't have to stop drinking soda or coffee, but if you will try to drink more water you will naturally cut back on how much of the other you consume. Consuming sugar and caffeine all day does more to harm a person’s health than most people realize and not consuming enough water will only exacerbate the problem. Many health problems begin with simply not having enough water in your daily routine. Try drinking a whole glass of water right after you rinse when brushing your teeth (and flossing) in the morning. Try drinking a whole glass of water right before you eat your lunch and if you can choose to drink it with lunch. Do the same at dinner and the same right before lying down to go to bed. You will notice a dramatic change within the first week.

2. Exercise regularly each week, but think of it differently. Maybe a gym membership isn't for everyone. Maybe walking or hiking or bike riding or gardening is another form of exercise that you will enjoy better. Join a sports team locally. The key is to find something that you enjoy. Running on a treadmill can be terribly boring for some people, but maybe if you read in the process it won't be? Or maybe skip the treadmill and try playing some racquetball. You lose weight faster and burn more calories on a racquetball court and it can be loads more fun. It's also very good exercise for your heart. Maybe swimming would be more enjoyable? Set aside ON YOUR CALENDAR when you will be working out each day/week. Make it a part of your weekly schedule because if you wait to have time for it you will always do something else instead. Plan other activities around those workout times just like you would if you had an appointment with a doctor or a social event that you were required to attend. If you don't make it a priority, who will do that for you? No one. Find what works and get active, REGULARLY!

3. Replace your usual butter and margarine with smart balance butter and use about half of what you used before. You won't notice the difference in your food but you will in your health. Try only adding butter to a finished food item rather than using it as a cooking ingredient, for example: Don’t boil veggies in butter water. Just cook them in water and then season them and add a pat of butter to them if needed on your plate. This makes a huge difference.

4. Replace salt with a new rack of seasonings including a salt substitute. Your food will taste just as delicious and your health will spring forward. Too much sodium is not good for you. Pay attention to what you eat when eating out. Cooking and eating in is always healthier and cheaper!

5. Replace your cooking and frying oils with coconut oil. Coconut oil is so much better for you that I could write and entire article on it alone! It is better for your heart and numerous other parts of the body. It can be used in so many ways besides cooking it would benefit you to do research on the benefits of coconut oil. You can even use it to replace butter on toast and a table spoon a day will have your body running in the right direction.

6. Deep fry your foods less often. Use coconut oil when you do deep fry, but try to bake and broil in place of some of the deep fried foods. You can oven fry chicken without oil and bake fries and chips.

7. Try grilling more of your foods. It allows excess fats to drip away and is a better method for cooking plus it is enjoyable, less costly, and tastes so much better much of the time.

8. Ditch the multi-vitamins. Your body is probably kicking out half of it anyway. Try choosing a few supplements that better target your overall health. Adding Vitamin D3 to your daily routine would be a fantastic boost. D3 is absorbed better than Vitamin D alone so make sure you get the D3 variety. You can do some research and find out all the good things VD3 will do for you. Taking B12 can really boost your immune system and help you to feel better overall since you are boosting the oxygen flow in your cells to all of the organs of your body. Find a couple of supplements like this and take them regularly.

9. Drink fresh juiced fruit and veggie juices. Buy a juicer and juice your own fruit and veggies. A glass a day will give you many of the antioxidants your body needs to repair environmental damages that often cause diseases like cancer and many more. Also consider adding a little Keifer to your juice to help boost the immune system and a healthy gut. Many diseases and sicknesses begin in the intestines and adding heavy probiotics will help keep you regular and healthy. One of my favorites can be found at and you will find more information about how good it is for you too. Many grocery stores now carry Keifer in their refrigeration sections.

10. Eat smaller portions more often!! You do not need a weird diet pill to boost your metabolism. I don't care how "natural" those pills are touted as being, it's not good for you and who wants to maintain the kind of lifestyle? Let your food be your nutrition. Try eating 6 times a day instead of 3. Alternate your meals with a snack and make sure you keep your meals to one plate and your snacks around 200 calories. Try to have a protein and a vegetable on every meal plate. You can have bread or potatoes, but make sure it is a reasonable sized portion and that you always have a green vegetable or slow processing carb with it. This will cause the faster carbs (starches) to turn over to glucose much slower in your body which will also allow your muscles to process more of it. By allowing the muscles to process more you will not be storing so much as fat and you will be maintaining your blood sugar levels so your metabolism doesn't slow down. By eating the right amounts in the right combinations every 2-3 hours you maintain your blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism burning fat instead fo storing it all day long. You will lose weight by simply taking this lifestyle of eating on alone with no exercise, but you can boost it even more with regular exercise. You will burn fat all day with evenly spaced out proportioned meals. You don't have to stop eating anything, no not even carbs like bread and cake, you just have to combine it properly and eat the right portions. By eating this way you will be eating every 2-3 hours so a small meal is okay because you will soon be munching again! So don't worry about whether one plate of food is enough to "hold you over" you only have to go 2 hours before you will be eating again and even if you don't feel hungry at first, make yourself eat every 2-3 hours. After the first several days your metabolism will begin to function properly again nd your body will be ready for nutrition every 2-3 hours. For more information about this type of eating plan check out the Food Lovers Fat Loss Program. I used it with no exercise at all and in 21 days lost 13 lbs. (that was only 3 weeks and I was not overweight) and I lost several inches from my waist. I jump started my metabolism and it burned off the fat without one day of exercise. Since then I have added exercise and continued to tone my body while strengthening my heart and my overall health. My blood pressure went from 140 over 92 down to 106 over 70. There is no diet plan better than understanding how your body processes foods and optimizing the way God created your body to work. Eating right and exercising is still the best way but if you don't know how to do those two things then you won't get results. It's not hard, you can do it. Who doesn't want to be able to eat everything they love, and often? Just keep the right portions and space eating out evenly time-wise.

11. Try some kind of daily de-stressing activity. Dealing with stress is really important. Stress is not always a result of bad things happening in your life. Even joyful or exciting things can cause stress so relaxation is very important. Try reading before bed or taking a long quiet relaxing bath. Try drinking a warm bedtime tea before you sleep or take more time to pray somewhere quietly in the evenings. Listening to calming music while you work. Take a walk or go for a long drive in the evening with the windows rolled down. Find a way to bring the tension down.

12. Be sure that you are getting fiber in your daily diet. This will help keep you regular and keep your colon healthy. Many diseases begin in the colon and are linked to unhealthy eating habits. Eat more vegetables and fruits and switch your breads to whole grains. There is far more benefit than noticeable differences in taste.

13. Leaner and lighter meats are better for you. Set yourself up with a list of good recipes using chicken and fish and turkey. You can have beef but try not to make it a daily routine. Turkey can be a successful and easy substitute for beef.

14. Don't use artificial sweetener. Seriously, the artificial stuff just isn't good for you either so if you are considering it, just use sugar but if you can cut back on the sugar do it. (And of course YOU CAN) This includes diet soft drinks. We went from drinking 2 cups of sugar per gallon of tea to drinking up to 1 cup of sugar per gallon of decaffeinated tea and I lost weight. In the beginning you will think, wow, this isn't nearly as good but it's because you are jacked up on a constant IV of sugar liquid. And your tastes will adjust if you will be consistent. You'll also notice that your foods taste much better after a while if you will allow your taste buds to detox from all the sugars in your drinks. Give yourself 1-2 weeks of cutting your sugar back by half and when you taste another soda it won't be nearly as pleasing. Why? You've cleaned your palate and now you can really taste it.

15. Create healthy routines! Eat around the same times and be sure to go to bed and wake at the same times. Rest is very important and directly related to the function of your metabolism. Yes, your fat burning abilities are linked to your sleeping habits. Don't skip meals, even if you don't feel hungry make the effort to eat something around the same times each day. Your body will adjust so well to it that your stomach will be growling when it has become use to the routine you have set. THAT is a sign that your metabolism is in high gear!!

16. Be consistent and be patient!! Here is the biggest part of it all! Try to implement these things gradually. Adjust to one new thing at a time. Be patient with yourself and also take the frame of mind that you are changing your lifestyle habits, not just knocking weight off as fast as you can. Do it calmly and you will keep it off. Good things take time and something that lasts is far better than something that works for a week or two. You'll be running in circles any other way. Let this year be the year you walk away from the old HABITS and discover a new healthy life for yourself and those around you. Be consistent! It is easier to stick with something when it is one new task at a time so don't overwhelm yourself. Every little change is better than before. You will become healthier on the inside before you notice changes on the outside so give it time and stick with it. You don't need a lot of nutritionist and gym counselors, you just need to be patient with yourself and make these simple changes. You don't have to cut anything out completely! Just cut those things back or make better alternative choices for some of them and eat smarter.

Last and definitely NOT least....

17. Try to live with a clean and healthy conscience. Be good to other people, be kind. Sometimes that means just being quiet. Let others have their opinions and you have yours. Do good to those who mistreat you. You will feel much better knowing that you did not stoop to a level that embarrassed you. Hold yourself to a high level and live up to it. You are a special individual, fearfully created by God, and you can do great things, but you must require it of yourself. When you lay your head down at night, it is good to know that you have done no one wrong and have nothing for which to be ashamed. Know that things will always work out because that is how life works. Pray and seek after holy things. Meditate on God's promises to you in Scripture. Spend time with God both speaking and listening. A light conscience makes life easier. If you make a mistake, admit it and try to make it right. There is no shame in an apology. Try to find a way to help someone in need. This helps keep your perspective of gratitude in the forefront so depression cannot attack and gain a foothold in your mind. You are in charge, so take charge.

Ultimately a healthier happier you is a more effective person. Take care of your body; you only have one. God bless you and help you reach your health goals this year whether physical, emotional, or mental!! Let me know how you are doing! I would love to share stories and tips with you.

#stepstogettinghealthy #newyearresolution #newyearnewyou

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