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Happier & Healthier: 10 Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier

Happier & Healthier: 10 Things I Wish I'd Known Earlier

Everybody wants to be happier and healthier, but we don't always know the best ways to make it a reality. If you're ready to make a change, here are ten things you should know to get the most out of your efforts and get started on the pathway to a happier, healthier you!

1) Good Sleep Is a Need, Not a Want

There are few experiences which feel better than sleeping in on the weekend after a long week of hard work and short nights. Unfortunately, all too often days where we allow ourselves to sleep until our body wakes up naturally are few and far between. Sleep doesn't just feel good, however, it's also an essential part of your physical health. Making the changes in your schedule you need to get a full night's sleep can have a profound impact on your life.

2) You Don't Need to Abstain to Be Healthy

Many people make mistakes when changing their lives by thinking it's an all or nothing proposition. When you decide you have to completely give up vices like going out for a drink with friends or indulging in a Netflix binge session all day it more often than not leads to breaking and abandoning the change altogether. Instead, moderate your unhealthy choices, slowly tapering off how often and how intensely you indulge.

3) Exercise Doesn't Have to Be a Chore

Everyone knows that regular exercise is important, but it's not always fun, and that's why so many people don't exercise as often as they should. Finding a physical activity you enjoy turns your chore into a treat, and makes it easy to get in better shape.

4) Variety Truly Is the Spice of Life

Another common problem of dieters is getting bored with what they're eating. When a diet is too restrictive, such as having the same meal every single day, the allure of breaking the diet can become overpowering. A better option is to opt for a diet plan which allows for some variation, such as an HCG diet, while also still keeping your meals healthy. You get the change of pace of not eating the same thing day after day without having to sacrifice the benefits of eating healthy.

5) Smaller Isn't Always Better

Because the majority of health plans tend to be undertaken with the goal of losing weight, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that smaller is always better when stepping on the scale. While a plateau may be a sign that you need to change things up, if you're including workouts in your plan it may be a sign that you are building more muscle, as well.

6) A Little Moderation Goes a Long Way

Diet plans which rely on fasting are the hottest trend in weight loss, but they can be very dangerous when done incorrectly, and such extreme measures are not necessary. A better weight loss option is one which uses moderation of meal sizes to reduce calories while still allowing you to eat lunch and dinner every day. Knowing that your next meal is just a reasonable time away also makes it easier to stay on a diet.

7) Tiny Changes Add Up

Continuing with the theme of thinking small to make a big change, you can have a massive impact on your overall health by making small improvements in multiple areas. Pursuing a lower-calorie diet, adding a half-hour of moderate activity and an extra hour of sleep each day, for example, can provide you with a strong improvement on your overall fitness.

8) Mental Health is Physical Health

Commonly when we discuss health we stick to the physical aspects of what we are doing with our bodies and what we're ingesting to fuel them. It's just as important to think about your mental health, however. Stress and anxiety can manifest in physical pain and discomfort as well, so you should always seek help when you're struggling.

9) Partners Make a Change Easier

The best way to reduce your risk of falling off a health plan is to not go it alone. When you have a partner you can each push the other to stick with it, as neither wants to be the one to break when their partner is staying on course.

10) Get Outside to Feel Good Inside

Spending time outdoors in the sun and fresh air is great for your overall health. Not only is it good for you physically, but it also helps ease mental stresses caused by spending long days indoors and hard at work.

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About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read