Best Practices for Improving Your Health and Happiness
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, facing a diabetes diagnosis or simply want to improve your health, there are a few key practices every person should incorporate into their daily lives to achieve their goals. Here at Modernize, we understand that your health is one of the most important priorities in your life, so we encourage you to create this daily checklist for a healthier and happier you.
You know how important it is to exercise, and while that message can seem overly promoted, the health benefits of exercise are undeniable—especially for managing diabetes. It’s no secret that reducing body fat can help regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which will give you a cleaner bill of health overall. And while reducing fat mass and creating lean mass is the primary goal of exercise, there are other benefits as well.
Exercise is a natural stress-reliever, which may seem a bit counterintuitive when you’re on your third rep of a heavy bench press. Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that interact with your brain to trigger a positive feeling. They can also reduce the sensation of pain.
High stress levels lead to weight gain and spiked blood sugar, so we suggest incorporating relaxing meditation, yoga classes or walks into your busy schedule to keep your health in tip-top shape. Log your exercise each day, and motivate yourself with a reward for every week you exercise regularly. Some of our favorite rewards are going out to see a movie, getting a massage or buying a new book or game.
Change Your Habits
It’s easy to fall into the morning latte or fast-food trap. It’s even easier to grab takeout after a hard day at work. But small changes can significantly improve your health, and the benefits of making better choices far outweigh any temporary discomfort in changing your lifestyle.
Bringing your own lunch to work is one of the best things you can do to control your waistline and your overall health. Restaurants often exclude detailed nutritional information, and there’s no guarantee that whoever prepared your food is using correct portion sizes. The only way to truly know what you’re eating is to make it yourself. Gita’s Quinoa, Lentil and Vegetables Stir-Fryis one of our favorite quick meal options.
Changing your ways isn’t easy. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, defines habits as cycles. Every habit includes a cue, reward, and routine. In order to change a habit, one must respond differently to a cue with a new reward, which will create a new routine. In action, this may mean that after a long day at work you grab a pre-made meal from your freezer, which you prepped over the weekend, rather than takeout.
Monitor Your Progress
It’s important for anyone to monitor their weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and general physical health regularly, but even more so for those with diabetes. Create a health log to track your weight each month, and log your blood sugar levels at least twice a day.
You’ll also want to get a regular physical at your doctor’s office once or twice a year and file your records to monitor your progress. Many diabetics choose to track their calories and daily food intake for weight loss, but at the very least, it’s essential to track carbs and stay under a certain threshold. There are a variety of free food-tracking apps, and some of our favorites are Myfitnesspal, Lose It and Fitbit.
From meditating to making your own meals and keeping track of your progress, the power is in your hands to improve your health, your happiness and quality of life!