44 Small Changes That Impact Your Health In Big Ways

by Samantha

So, you’ve had the same New Year’s resolution in 2013 and 2014, and you thought 2015 would be your year. You are sick and tired of feeling insecure, and you're ready to make a change from what you know may have been some pretty bad habits.

If you’ve always dreamed of feeling confident in your own skin, I promise, 2015 is most definitely your year.

As a vegan, a gym-addict and a nutrition enthusiast, I am excited to share my top 44 tips that will help you get fit in 2015. Generation-Y is all about looking strong, not skinny.

There is no better time than now to decide you are worth the health transformation you have always dreamed to experience.

Start out by incorporating a couple of tips that seem the most manageable to you, and then, promise yourself you'll stick with them.

Increase the number of tips you follow until you reach your health goal.

1. Prioritize

I guess I should start with the bad news: There is no magic pill for weight loss. Looking fit occurs when you decide to put your health before everything else.

Yes, this means before your insecurities of sweating in front of everyone at the gym and before you decide to have that last drink at the bar.

2. Make a schedule

If you are not used to incorporating a workout into your schedule, it is easy to come home from work or school and make up excuses to not go to the gym.

We often lie to ourselves and say that we are too tired or that we’ll make up for our lack of determination at the gym tomorrow.

However, I promise that you will never see results from an unsteady fitness schedule.

Every Sunday, look at your upcoming week and make a schedule that blocks out time for your fitness routine. This way, there are no excuses.

3. Include interval cardio workouts

We all see those people at the gym reading a novel while riding the bike. I never understood the purpose of bringing your favorite novel or magazine to the gym.

This is your time to workout and to reap the stress-relieving benefits of working out! One major key to becoming fit is doing interval workouts.

Shape magazine states, “Interval training targets your waistline, and adding bursts of speed can help you lose stubborn abdominal fat."

If you do not workout often, start with five minutes of an intense cardio interval workout on the machine of your choice. Ideally, you want to be able to increase your interval training to 30 minutes.

4. Weight training

Lifting weights (yes, even for women) is a great way to target specific parts of your body. It is the only way to achieve the fit look that is taking over Generation-Y’s social media platforms and is by far the best way to develop strong bones and a healthy blood pressure.

5. Consume only real food

No, this does not include the Cheez-It box in your pantry that won't expire for three more years. If your food is boxed, it most likely contains chemicals that your body does not know how to digest.

These toxins build up in your body and turn into fat or bloating. Instead, fuel your body with fresh produce.

6. No fad diets

Writer for Women’s Health Gretchen Voss states, “By some estimates, more than 80 percent of people who have lost weight regain all of it, or more, after two years” from dieting.

This is because going on a diet simply teaches you how to follow that particular diet, not how to live a healthy lifestyle on your own. So, long story short, do your research! There are many healthy eating tips below.

7. Start off your morning with a cup of hot water and lemon

Lemons have antibacterial properties. Therefore, drinking warm water with lemon first thing in the morning helps to flush out any toxins that entered your body from the day before.

You can also put in a dash of cayenne pepper and it will help to boost your metabolism for the day.

8. Never skip breakfast

Eating first thing in the morning kicks your metabolism into gear. Never go a day without breakfast.

9. Smoothies for breakfast

Think about the typical breakfast foods that you eat. Are they pancakes, eggs and french toast? What nutrients in these meals actually nourish your body? Probably not much. Instead, make a smoothie that is high in fruits, vegetables and healthy protein.

10. Eliminate dairy

We are the only species that drinks another species' milk. Weird, right? Milk and dairy are comprised of much more than you would like to know, like cow hormones, blood and even pus.

So, promise me that the next time you are at the grocery store, you’ll pick up a jug of vanilla almond milk, instead.

11. Limit your drinking

Alcoholic drinks contain an abundance of calories, not to mention the awful effects that ethanol (the chemical compound in alcohol) has on your body. Pick and choose between whether you will indulge in a “cheat” dessert or a drink at the bar.

12. Try doing meatless Mondays

Even the leanest meats still contain fat from the animal. Meat also contains all of the chemicals and growth hormones that the farmers put into the animal's food. Even being vegetarian or vegan for one day a week can make a big difference in your body.

13. Eat at the dinner table

When we are eating in front of the television or the computer, we are often not aware of how much food we are consuming because we are distracted.

Have you ever been watching your favorite television show and then, all of a sudden, the whole bowl of popcorn is gone?

14. Try vegan desserts

Who said that you couldn’t be fit and still enjoy your favorite desserts? Vegan desserts allow you to fulfill your cravings without any lingering feelings of guilt.

Trying purchasing coconut milk or almond milk based ice cream, indulging in grain sweetened chocolate chips or even indulging in some of Eat Pastry's cookie dough.

15.  Create muscle confusion

Switch up your workout routine every four weeks. You will see the best results with muscle confusion.

16. Be motivated

Create a form of motivation that gives you a reason not to give up. My favorite motivation tool is made with two mason jars and a pack of popsicle sticks.

Place all of the popsicle sticks in one jar and move each stick over with each pound you loose.

17. Meal prep

Meal prep is key for eating healthy meals when you just want a quick fix. Each Sunday, plan and prepare your meals for the week.

Make sure that you have cut up fruits and vegetables available so you can quickly grab a healthy snack when you are on the go.

18. See the doctor regularly

Make sure you do not have a vitamin deficiency, food allergy or thyroid disorder that could cause weight fluctuation.

19. Spend some time relaxing, too

Stress causes an increased of amount of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that can increase your appetite.

20. Work out with a partner or take a fitness class

Still not confident that you can do this on your own? Grab a workout partner (a friend, family member or significant other), pick your favorite “get fit” tips together and stick with them.

Make each other accountable for sticking with your “get fit” plan.

21. Portion control

Put a hearty and healthy amount of food on your plate and don’t go back for seconds and thirds. It really is that simple.

22. Infused water

When you pack your water bottle for work, make sure it’s filled with watermelon, cucumber and mint. This is the ultimate cleansing/detox drink.

23. Confidence

Feeling self-conscious about going to the gym? Get some new workout gear. Make sure you feel confident you can attain your goals and be determined to have your best workout.

24. Eat food for its real purpose

The next time you sit down to a meal, make sure you are eating food that will nourish your body. After all, isn’t that what food is for, anyway?

In our culture, eating has become this grand social event, especially around the holiday season. Make a pact with some family members to have a filling, but healthy holiday meal.

25. Detox tea

A healthy detox tea every now and then is a great way to make sure that your liver and kidneys are able to clear out the toxins that get into our system from everyday products, like plastics, perfumes and even our conventional foods.

26. Healthy protein

Protein does not just have to come from meat. Try using almond butter, protein bars, beans and quinoa to get your daily dose of protein.

27. Eliminate red meat

Consuming red meat does a number on your cardiovascular system. It can also promote Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and breast cancer, due to the added hormones.

28. Instead, choose fish

If you enjoy eating meat, try to focus on consuming more fish. It is the most easily digestible meat and has great benefits, like omega-three fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, ability to reduce the signs of aging and weight loss properties.

29. More meals

Try to have smaller meals throughout the day instead of eating three really big meals. This allows your body to be constantly nourished without causing you to feel like you need to stuff yourself. You won't lose energy in between meals. .

30. Do not eat two hours before bed

When we go to sleep, our body goes to sleep, too. If we have a big dinner right before bed, our stomach suffers.

31. Let go of eggs

I know, your whole childhood, you are told to eat eggs for protein, but as an adult, did you ever do a fact check?

They are high in cholesterol and you can just get as much protein from healthy substitutes, like tempeh.

32. Choose brown rice

Rice is naturally brown. White rice is typically stripped of its natural ingredients in order to get the white coloring.

33. Make vegetable pasta

Addicted to pasta? Who isn’t? Next time you're craving a traditional Italian feast, try making zucchini, squash or sweet potato pasta. You can purchase a spiralizer and turn your favorite vegetable into guilt-free pasta.

34. Drink green tea

Green tea is a must-have super food for your diet. It can aid in the process of fat-burning and is extremely high in anti-oxidants, which are great for your body and your skin.

35. Eat ginger

Try making a ginger salad dressing. Ginger helps ease the stomach if you are having any abdominal discomfort.

36. Be aware of when you are hungry and when you are just bored

Sometimes, we eat out of boredom and not because we are actually hungry. If you realize that you are just bored, make sure to do something productive. Finish that last work assignment or get in a quick workout at home.

37. More sleep

Make sure that you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night so your metabolism is on point.

38. Don’t be afraid to ask about the ingredients when eating out

If you want to keep up your healthy habits while you are out at a restaurant, try to pick the choice on the menu that best suits your health needs or concerns (i.e. no dairy, no meat, etc.).

If you happen to see a meal you're craving, but it goes against your health plan, don't be afraid to ask the waiter to make changes, like using olive oil instead of butter.

39. Let go of soda

If there is one tip that you decide to incorporate into your life from this list, it should most defiantly be this one.

If you are addicted to soda, you are damaging your body so much more than you may even realize. To start, soda dehydrates your body and gives you a whopping dose of sugar, which turns into fat.

Diet soda is even worse for your body. The aspartame in the drink can lead to "seizures, brain tumors and emotional disorders." Try making infused water instead. It tastes really sweet and boosts your health instead of damaging it.

40. Incorporate coconut oil

Coconut oil has "powerful effects on metabolism." Try putting a teaspoon in your morning smoothie to give it a tropical flavor.

41. Use natural sweeteners

There are so many natural sweeteners, like Stevia, that taste even stronger than the traditional brands.

42. Try juicing

Looking for a low-calorie mid afternoon snack? Try juicing.

Juicing is an excellent way to get an abundance of nutrients in just one drink. Start out with a simple fruit juice and then increase the amount of vegetables you incorporate to really reap the health benefits.

43. Find something you love and perfect your craft

It is difficult to live a healthy lifestyle if you have not found a workout that you truly love. If this speaks to you, don’t be afraid to get out there and try something new.

Be bold: Try a dance, kickboxing, Pilates or even an aerial yoga class. When you find a workout that you truly love, living a healthy lifestyle will become second nature to you.

44. Don’t give up

Whatever tips you decide to incorporate, promise yourself you'll never give up. Often, the first step for attaining health is realizing you are worth it and this is possible.