5 Ways to Feel Great in 2023!
The end of the year is a good time to reflect on your habits - to figure out what’s working for you, and what is not.
The most basic question to ask yourself is: do I feel good? If the answer is no, focus on adding one habit that can help you feel better and improve your health. Need a place to start?
Here are my top 5 healthy habits to help you feel great, year after year:
1. Eliminate inflammatory foods.
It’s often under-estimated how food can affect your overall well-being but Inflammatory foods can absolutely keep you from feeling your best. Inflammatory foods not only cause noticeable inflammation in the joints and digestive tract, but also in the brain – which can trigger symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, depression and headaches.
What are inflammatory foods? Generally, processed packaged foods with more than 5 ingredients is a good place to start eliminating. Foods with unpronounceable ingredients, especially those containing seed oils that are sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, will stoke the fires of inflammation.
If you’ve already eliminated junk foods and other sugars but still aren’t feeling great, consider a two-week respite from gluten, dairy or both. Many people are sensitive to these foods, too, which results in chronic inflammation.
And, in some cases, if you are really inflamed even healthy foods can cause inflammation! A Mediator Release Test (aka food sensitivity test) might be a good next step in determining those triggers - what you’re sensitive to and what you’re not - followed by an individualized elimination diet. This is the gold standard for determining your BEST foods.
Generally, when you focus on whole, healthy, minimally processed foods, you will see immediate improvement in how you feel!
2. Focus on real food macronutrients.
Macronutrients - protein, fat and carbs - are the building blocks of your body. They fuel you, day in and day out, by helping your organs function properly and giving you the energy you need for life’s demands.
While many of us spend years restricting food and under-eating, we are also depriving our bodies of the fuel it needs to function optimally. Over time, things slow down including our metabolism and organs like the thyroid!
When you are strategic about eating balanced macronutrients, your energy level will improve and so will your metabolism.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber and compounds called polyphenols. They can act as antioxidants, meaning they can neutralize harmful free radicals that would otherwise damage your cells and increase your risk of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. They also help to colonize healthy gut bacteria and signal to mitochondria - which is where your energy is produced at the cellular level.
The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps you feel full, helps you maintain healthy gut bacteria and supports detoxification.
Increased consumption of vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peas, yams, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and even white potatoes (not fried!) add fiber and will help to boost alpha-lipoic acid, which is critical for mitochondrial energy production.
The more colorful your plate, the more poloyphenols and antioxidants you will provide your body to do the hard work every day.
4. Eat more protein.
Protein is a macronutrient breaks down into amino acids - these are at the heart of nearly every function in our bodies! So if you’re feeling slow, look towards your protein sources as fuel.
L-carnitine and creatine are two amino acids that clearly support mitochondria energy production and can be found in grass-fed beef, bison, eggs, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Protein also helps you feel full and satisfied, and a high-protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to reduction in cravings
5. Incorporate strength training.
Increased muscle mass helps to improve mitochondria performance, which means improved energy levels. Exercise also slows the loss of mitochondria, reduces leaky gut and helps to maintain gut biodiversity - an important factor when it comes to your overall health and immune system.
And because iIt takes more energy (calories) to build and maintain muscle than fat, increasing muscle mass also improves metabolism and overall body composition.
Finally, strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) specifically can increase the number and the function of your mitochondria, which is the secret to slowing down the aging process!
The bottom line is that your body wants to FEEL GREAT you just have to put it in the right conditions by eating well and moving more.
If the idea of starting ALL of these healthy habits feels overwhelming, slow down and just pick one thing to start with! What is the easiest thing for you to do right now? Make a plan that works for you and your current schedule… and if you’re ready to go ALL IN on your health, consider a program like my FASTer Way to Fat Loss nutrition and fitness program to help walk you through these changes!