I know what you’re thinking.
Another article telling me my lifestyle is not conducive to optimum health, which explains to me how I need to have more kale in my diet, drink fewer mimosas and take up yoga, right? Wrong!
So, your diet consists almost exclusively of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Hot Pockets. I mean, there’s a whole grain in there somewhere, right? It says so right on the box! So it must not be too bad for you.
You even ate a salad for lunch last Tuesday. So what if it was covered in bacon, drenched in dressing and topped with five cheeses? Not to mention you went to the gym twice last week, and ran over a mile total.
You’re practically the spitting image of overall health. Or, maybe you could make a few improvements.
The problem with today’s societal views on health is two-fold. One, we are in a constant state of chaotic living, in which we settle for reheated pizza from last Saturday’s 2 am post-drinking binge. And two, we revert to watching "Seinfeld" reruns on our couch, due to over-exhaustion and lack of motivation.
Sure, what we eat and put into our bodies is one element of overall health, but mental health is just as important (if not more important) than our physical health.
Truth be told, you don’t have to take shots of kale juice or eat quinoa cereal topped with flax seeds to be healthy. A few simple changes to the way you eat, and the way you live, will go a long way toward leading an overall healthier lifestyle:
1. Eat mostly unprocessed foods.
I’m not saying you have to go full-blown hippie and base your diet entirely on raw foods. And no, you don’t have to give up your morning Pop-Tarts.
The majority of your diet should consist of lean meats such as chicken breast or ground turkey, along with a variety of vegetables. Following the 80/20 rule and eating whole foods 80 percent of the time will go a long way.
You can still have your cake, and eat it too.
2. Walk when possible.
Olympic training, marathon-based running or even CrossFit isn’t necessary for optimal health. Just don’t be a lazy ass.
Now, park further away from your office at work, or walk to the grocery store instead of making that quarter-mile drive down the street. More activity breeds better flexibility, mobility and overall health.
Your body will thank you in 20 years.
3. Drink less often.
When the doctor asks you how much you drink, you understate this amount significantly. Oh, I drink socially with friends.
You know it's 10 shots of Fireball, followed up with two Red Bull vodkas, later downed by a handful of Sam Adams (light, of course).
And that’s just the pregame.
But in all truth, limiting your heavy drinking to just one night a week will make a huge difference in liver function, and your wallet will thank you for it.
4. Bring your lunch to work.
Yes, I said it. Instead of grabbing a burger for the third time this week, bring a packed lunch from home.
It doesn’t have to be chicken and broccoli. Just bring something, anything.
Chances are, no matter what you bring, it will be an improvement over the Taco Bell value menu.
5. Take vacations.
On a regular basis, plan a short getaway, even if only for the weekend.
Hell, take a sick day! That’s what they are there for.
You have the rest of your life to be miserable working. Take a break once in a while.
6. Stay away from negativity.
If there are people in your life who just seem to be filled with negative energy, cut them off (yesterday).
7. End toxic relationships/friendships.
I mean, see point six.
8. Take time away from technology
In a world constantly consumed with and driven by technology, put away your phone and your computer.
Even if it's only for a couple of hours per day, it will help clear your mind.
As an added bonus, you won’t have to look at pictures of that guy from your 10th grade math classes on Facebook for the fourth time this week.
9. Participate in physical activities
No, you don’t have to become Arnold himself. But do some sort of activity to get you off the couch, and away from binging on "House of Cards" for the third time this year.
Take a hike. Go to the beach. Ride a bike, you get the idea.
Physical activity relieves both physical and mental stress.
10. Read more.
I know you probably haven’t picked up a book since you read the CliffsNotes for "Catcher In The Rye" in the ninth grade, but we all have to start somewhere.
Pick a topic you are interested in or want to learn more about. Maybe your thing is medieval architecture, or maybe it's just some basic biology. Whatever floats your boat.
Any type of reading will stimulate that brain of yours, and increase your intellectual capacity. (It couldn’t hurt, right?)
11. Pick up a new hobby.
You know you’ve been talking about picking up golf for the past three years.
Having interests outside your work and family will lead to a more fulfilling life. Explore a new craft.
Picking up any new outside hobby will automatically make you appear more interesting than at least 50 percent of your friends (potentially more, depending on how lame your friends are).
12. F*ck what people think.
Haters gonna hate, right? As Dr. Dre said, “If y’all don’t like me, blow me.”
A few simple changes are easy to do, right? One step at a time, and your world may drastically change for the better.