This is a sponsored guest post.
When you’re trying to have a healthy body, it’s easy to get obsessed in looking at the changes digits on the scale. But how much you weigh doesn’t say anything about your body composition—changes in weight occur based on the time of day, that time of the month, food and water intake, and many other factors. While maintaining a healthy weight is important, there’s so much more to wholesome living.
Get off the scale, and try looking at more holistic ways to determine your health. Here are the ingenious measures for a healthy lifestyle:
1. Water intake
Water is the essential macronutrient that we need for human life. According to studies, staying hydrated is also essential for our overall health and wellness. It’s a common misconception that everyone needs to drink eight glasses of water per day. There are a lot of factors go into how much water an individual needs to stay hydrated, like age, gender, activity level and climate.
It’s tough to keep track of water intake; use a water bottle with time markings. If plain water is too bland for you, infuse it with fruits or herbs for a natural flavor boost. This healthy alternative to soda or iced tea will sweeten up this new habit without the extra sugar.
If all else fails, go digital. If you have a smartphone, download a water-tracking app such as Water Your Body, or set hourly alarms reminding you to take a drink. Just like how you would use a sleep calculator to determine your sleeping hours, a water-tracking app can help you monitor your hydration.
2. Consumption of fruits and veggies
Eating fruits and vegetables scores your major health points. For women ages 19 to 30, the daily recommendation is 2.5 cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit. You can use a measuring cup to make sure you’re getting your daily dose, but it isn’t always possible if you’re traveling or in a rush. So try following this rule of thumb for at least two meals a day: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, and you’re golden. And snacks count, too. For example, a banana at breakfast, a salad or grilled veggies at lunch, and a cup of strawberries after dinner will do the trick.
3. Control cravings
What you need to remember is to always aim for balance, which is all about indulging in moderation and giving into cravings wisely. Think about it: The more you resist a craving, the more it builds up. It’s beneficial to have a healthy approach to treats, sweets, and alcohol. Denying yourself all “bad” things can lead to consuming bigger, unhealthier portions later on. So when you eat a smaller, healthier portion, you can kick the craving before it grow
Experts recommend no more than 20 grams (5 teaspoons) of sugar and 1,150 milligrams (1/2 teaspoon) of salt each day, but according to Yale Health, the average American eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.
4. Wise food choices
How thoughtful you are about your meal decisions is a fundamental way of gauging your health. When you’re less focused on tallying calories and more aware of managing portion size, using healthy cooking methods, and eating real (not overly processed) food, putting together a meal becomes less stressful. Generally, choosing home-cooked over store-bought meals is a tried-and-true health move. Because frying is the most common cooking method in America, a majority of restaurant meals are high in saturated fat. And if you do eat out, it’s still possible to be smart about what you order. Educating yourself to make wiser food choices is a big step for your health.
5. Skin improvements
Studies show that more water encourages blood flow, which is a factor in a glowing, vibrant complexion. Water intake also promotes healing and decreases wound infection. Remember, pimples are essentially mini-infections. If water can help combat those, we’re totally in.
Moreover, when you start eating healthier, every part of your body reaps the benefits. Together with adequate water intake, your skin, hair, and nails are the most visible measurements of improvement, thanks to the medley of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables.
So what should we eat? From acne-fighting properties to reversing environmental damage, we call superfoods such as blueberries, tomatoes, and garlic “super” for a reason. These all contribute to your cosmetic health, proving that we really are what we eat.
6. Stress management
Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and nutritious eating should be a part of your daily routine. Taking on these habits will benefit your mind and body. One way you can measure this is by monitoring how you handle certain stressors. Physical activity encourages a better stress response, thus, it’s ideal to exercise for at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week. You’ll start seeing improvements even as you achieve smaller fitness goals.
Also, sleeping with a weighted blanket from Dreamcloud will definitely make you feel well rested. Since sleep is directly correlated to mood and stress response, experts recommend seven to nine hours of shut-eye in an affordable non toxic mattress to reduce feelings of anxiety and unhappiness, because it is your body’s time to recharge, recover, and get ready for the next day.
7. Sharper focus and concentration
Ever notice that lively, motivated post-workout feeling? There’s a reason for that. Aside from increasing blood circulation, physical activity induces mental sharpness by releasing a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor. As you exercise your body, your brain also gets a workout. Physical activity is crucial for getting enough sleep, which can also increase focus. And just like mood, your cognitive capacities depend on the recharging nature of adequate sleep.
In addition to exercise, your concentration levels will increase with better eating habits. From blueberries to salmon, the nutrients found in many superfoods are considered to have memory-boosting properties critical for cognitive development. In essence, an extra bowl of berries will bring you a step closer to your A game.
8. Normal urination and bowel movements
Now let’s be real: Urination and bowel movements are normal and necessary. So if you want to know what’s happening on the inside, look at what’s coming out. It might sound gross, but they’re also windows into our health. When your diet and health improve, you’ll notice changes in your liquid and solid waste. Healthy kidneys produce urine in a shade of yellow. The more water you drink, the clearer it is. Dark-yellow urine may be a sign of dehydration or a more serious condition. Cloudiness, unusual color, or strange odor might mean a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, or bladder issues.
As for the solid side? That holds all the information about your digestive system. When your gut bacteria are in its prime, bowel movements produce normal matter in a shade of brown. It’ll sink (not float) and won’t be too runny or too hard. Eating adequate fruits and veggies helps here: The fiber in fruits and vegetables is a major player in proper feces development.
9. Longer hours of sleeping
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults over 18 years should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you are able to achieve this amount of sleep you lower your risk of several chronic medical conditions. Although, if you can’t, you may opt to try a 30-day sleep challenge that you can also incorporate in your sleep routine.
Moreover, your mattress can also affect the optimum number of hours that you can spend in your bed. Thus, having the right kind of bed can bring you a restful night, save you from exhaustion and prickliness all day.
So, it’s better to invest in a sleeping mattress with good support with the ability to treat a sore neck caused by a poor sleeping posture. Whether it’s latex vs. memory foam, it starts with a good research. Also, asking a sleep expert what is a weighted blanket may save you from sleep deprivation.
10. More time spent in moving
Physical activity is crucial in maintaining strong bones, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes, and improving your mood.
If counting steps motivates you to move more than the thought of going to the gym, then great. You should enjoy whatever exercise you do. You can also incorporate some form of physical activity into your daily routine. Studies have found a link between exercising at least 30 minutes per day with a reduction in the risk of early death.
As for how many steps you should take, she said that the number varies depending on your level of physical activity, but a good sign is if the amount you take allows you to break a sweat.