Everyone I know is always looking for quick fixes to shape up and get healthier. Even Regina George wants to lose three pounds. But, we're all smart enough to know by now that no magic pill or Swedish diet bar is just going to burn up all your carbs so you drop weight, tone up and boost your overall health.
I do, however, know plenty of simple ways you can make being healthier happen today:
1. Get out of bed on time.
Countless studies have shown that waking up early boosts your productivity, makes you more optimistic and helps you sleep better. I know it can be rough, but suck it up and do it. Don't hit snooze. You'll thank me later.
2. Don't miss breakfast.
I know I sound like a mom. But I'm a cool mom, and mom says eating breakfast really keeps your body weight at a healthy level. I'd advise against an all-carb diet, and instead, I'd suggest eating something more balanced.
For example, you can have some turkey sausage links, hard-boiled eggs or yogurt with nuts. There's need to stress out over the most important meal of the day.
3. Remind yourself how awesome you are.
"Don't let the haters stop you from doing your thang."
Remind yourself how fabulous you are every morning, and you'll live longer, become more resilient and enjoy many other benefits that come with improved well-being.
Also, your self-talk doesn't have to be as mystical as, "I shall become one with the universe." It can be as simple as, "I can't help that I'm so popular” (or whatever other saying makes you happy).
4. Go for a walk.
The next time your friends tell you to go shopping, walk to the mall instead. Walking is literally the easiest exercise you can ever perform. When it's done at a moderate intensity rate of 10,000 steps per day, it can help you fight off illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. So, stop what you're doing and go for a walk. I'll be here when you get back.
5. Play nice (once in a while).
Whether you're a good girl through and through or a queen bitch, it still pays to be kind every now and then. In fact, studies show that kindness lowers the risk of heart disease, stabilizes blood sugar levels and strengthens the immune system.
So, do a random favor for that person in the next cubicle. You never know what your good karma will bring in return.
6. Be half-plate healthy.
If you can't part from that pepperoni pizza, don't worry. You can still keep it, as long as you fill up at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
7. Eat more meals at home.
Skip the Taco Bell. Since you're in control of what you cook and how you cook it, home-cooked meals can do wonders for your health.
8. Drop and give me 20.
You don't have to be a body-builder to appreciate pushups. If you do them every day, you can strengthen your body, boost your energy levels and increase your metabolism. Start with 20 push-ups, so that your body can get used to them first. Once doing 20 becomes effortless for you, up that number up to 30, 50 and so on.
9. Clean your house.
"So fresh and so clean" won't even begin to cover your house when you're finished with it. Scrub your floors, bathroom and kitchen with a homemade cleaner, if you're feeling really ambitious (which you should be). You'll be sweating in no time. If you can't do it alone, you can always clean with a friend or SO.
10. Just do it (if you know what I mean).
There's probably no exercise more enjoyable than sex. You can lower your stress levels, sleep better, tone your body and even keep the common cold away. What's not to like?
11. Listen to music.
Music doesn't just snap you out of a funk. It can also help you eat less, increase your blood flow and speed up your recovery time when it comes to certain diseases. So, pop on some old school Xtina and belt out “Beautiful” for a serious mood and health boost.
12. Keep your good friends close.
We all need to be around good company. When you're surrounded by people who consistently treat you well, you can better cope with adversity, extend your lifespan and keep your brain in tip-top shape.
So, call and text those people. Arrange a get-together with them. Drink awesome shooters and soak up each other's awesomeness. You'll feel better for it.
13. Take some time off.
Are you so exhausted from work that you can't even be bothered to exert the minimum amount of effort? Consider that a red flag. When you allow your job to trump everything else in your life, you're at risk of a burnout, reduced productivity and other stress-related ailments.
14. Never leave your water bottle behind.
How much water should you drink in a day? "The limit does not exist."
Water may make up 75 percent of your body composition, but that doesn't mean it's self-sustaining. H2O performs a ton of functions for your body, including flushing out toxins, replacing all your lost sweat and preventing dehydration. Therefore, it gets depleted rapidly. Aim for at least four to six glasses a day.
15. Wash your hands often.
16. Log off Facebook.
You know the funny thing about Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites? If you look at someone's feed, you assume it tells you everything you need to know about his or her life. That's why social networking sites often stress you out.
That's also why you need to unplug every once in a while. Since the kind of content your friends post doesn't really change much, will you really miss anything if you don't log in for a week?
17. Do nothing.
Thanks to society's emphasis on productivity and achievements, it's hard not to feel guilty whenever you're doing nothing. Actually, lying around and letting your mind wander can be good for you.
Every time you stop treating yourself like a machine and start treating yourself like a human being who needs rest and relaxation, your body whispers a silent "thanks." You go, Glen Coco.