You know that state of being when your body feels puffy, you have no energy and the smallest task feels like hiking a mountain? Well, that was me a couple of weeks ago. I’d been staying up too late, drinking too much coffee and sometimes too much wine, not exercising and eating whatever was easiest to grab whether it was cheese and crackers or the boys’ leftover goldfish. I was still using my essential oils, but they were having to work on overload and were crying out for me to take care of my body in other ways.When I go down this path, I begin to gain weight and feel sluggish. As a busy, busy mom, I’m always on the lookout for simple everyday ways to feel better and lose extra weight.
One thing I know about myself is I can only stay down for so long. I can only do the ‘woe is me’ dance for a short while before I look in the mirror and say, ‘Get over yourself.’ That happened recently and boy oh boy, after a few intentional changes, do I feel better. Within the first few days of my detox/reboot, I’d lost four pounds (mostly water weight, of course), felt significantly more energetic, and was much more pleasant to be around.
Today on the blog I want to share a few very simple tips and tricks that will help anyone’s body feel better. If you’re lethargic, irritable or just all-around annoyed with yourself, try some or all of the following and I assure you, life will get brighter. Check out these five simple tips that will help you feel better and lost weight.
1). Wake up with lemon water: This one is so easy and the benefits of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning are abundant. If you merely Google ‘benefits of drinking lemon water,’ you’ll see what I mean. But no need to jump on Google because I’m going to tell you right here. Not only does a glass of lemon water hydrate the body like any glass of water would, but by adding lemon, your morning glass of water now contains vitamin C, flavonoids, antioxidants and citrate. These powerhouses support digestion, detoxing, immunity, healthy skin and proper bladder/kidney function. You can use fresh lemon or Lemon essential oil that’s been approved for ingestion. Young Living is one of few companies in the world that offers an FDA-approved line of oils to ingest, and the one I use each morning is called Lemon Vitality. DO NOT go out and buy an essential oil from the health food store and consume it. Either use Lemon Vitality or squeeze fresh lemon. The temperature of the water is up for debate but the bulk of research suggests room temperature or warm water works better, as opposed to ice water. The body may digest and absorb the water better when it’s not freezing cold.
2). 3-5 minutes of daily diaphragmatic breathing: I recently read that as little as three minutes of diaphragmatic breathing a day can positively benefit a person’s health. Diaphragmatic breathing is defined as “slow, deep breathing that fills your belly.” According to a research-based article in Men’s Health, diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to have the following benefits for both men and women.
• Helps lower blood pressure, and therefore the risk of heart disease
• Helps lower blood sugar, and therefore the risk of diabetes
• Releases serotonin, which not only makes you feel good, but can reduce cravings for processed carbohydrates and other junk food
• Eliminates free radicals from the body, improving cellular function and lifespan
• Increases the secretion of growth hormone and slows the aging process
• Improves mental focus and clarity by increasing blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex of your brain
• Improves sleep quality
• Facilitates weight loss by balancing stress hormones with anabolic hormones
Pair your deep breathing with essential oils and positive cognitive thinking, and every day will begin on a high note.
3). Three-day whole foods cleanse (then make whole foods a priority): Much of our weight and lethargy stem from the foods we eat. Seemingly harmless foods like snack bars, diet sodas, coffee drinks, yogurt, sandwich meet, etc. cause inflammation in the body. Alcohol, such as wine and beer, also causes inflammation. Inflammation is a natural bodily response when things it doesn’t like enters into the system. Inflammation is fine in small doses but when it becomes the body’s everyday state, negative consequences ensure such as weight gain, drowsiness, skin problems, digestive issues, and a host of diseases, from diabetes to obesity to cancer.
I’ve got good news. Even a quick three-day whole foods cleanse significantly cleanses the body of a lot of those toxins. Last week when I began intentionally choosing my foods, I lost weight immediately. A lot of weight we carry around isn’t actual fat but water weight due to inflammation.
When eating whole foods, think of foods you don’t have to cook, nook or heat, so whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, and homemade vegetable/fruit juices. If this seems overwhelming, you can also do wonders by eliminating dairy, gluten, and sugar for three days. This type of three-day cleanse allows you to eat farm-fresh eggs, healthy protein, and cooked whole foods. And to be honest, if you really want to stay at optimal weight and feel good, this is the way you should eat almost all the time.
4). 10 min of exercise three to five times a week: Surely we can all find a mere 10 minutes here and there to get ourselves in shape and feel better. If you’re involved with exercise or fitness on any level, you’ve probably heard of high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. These are quick workouts that combine aerobic activity and anaerobic activity with periods of rest. Recent fitness studies indicate a 15-minute HIIT workout burns more calories than jogging on the treadmill for an hour. I absolutely love these workouts. A friend of mine is great to send me pins from Pinterest that offer tons of different HIIT workouts. Shape magazine lists the following eight benefits of HIIT workouts.
- You burn more fat
- You’ll build a healthier heart
- You need no equipment (but can certainly incorporate equipment if you have it)
- You’ll lose weight, not muscle
- You’ll increase your metabolism
- You can do it anywhere
- It’s challenging and invigorating
These types of workouts are perfect for busy moms. Believe me, they work and results come quick. I can rarely find an hour or two to run, but I can always squeeze in 10-15 minutes for a HIIT workout. If you want to feel better and lose weight, try a HIIT workout. Below is an example of a workout so you can get an idea, if you’re unfamiliar.
5). Adequate sleep: When the boys were little, I used to say sleep was a magical elixir. If they got enough, they were little joys to be around and if they didn’t, they could be utter terrors. Adults are no different. We just like to blame it on everything else. If we’re not getting adequate sleep each night, we often blame it on stress or our diet or not exercising. Similarly, we always find excuses not to go to bed at a decent time. Another episode on Netflix, one more chapter in a book, a late dinner out, too much work to do, etc. For the past couple of weeks, I have made sleep a top priority. I’ve been going to bed between 9:30 and 10:30 (as opposed to 11:45 or midnight), and I cannot tell you how much better I feel. I feel happier, more on top of things and more alert cognitively for work. Sleep studies have shown that adequate snooze time improves memory, increases lifespan, curbs inflammation, fosters creativity, increases stamina, improves grades, sharpens attention, maintains weight, reduces stress and curbs depression.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try some essential oils in a diffuser and on the bottoms of your feet. Lavender, Orange and Cedarwood all work really well for sleep. Melatonin is also very helpful. A cool room also helps a person doze off, as does darkness. Even the smallest amount of light can prevent some folks from sleeping well. Sleep not only makes us feel better but also contributes to a healthier weight. A recent study from the University of Chicago compared weight-loss results between individuals sleeping 8.5 and those sleeping 5.5 hours per night. In both groups, people ate the same number of calories (about 1,450 calories per day). The well-rested group lost significantly more fat than the tired group.
Well, there you have it. Like I said, I was heading down a very unhealthy slope which is highly unlike me. I’ve always been a nutrition and fitness addict, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back in my comfort zone with health and wellness as top priorities.