Six out of every ten Americans has a chronic disease such as arthritis, cancer, or diabetes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worse yet, four out of ten struggles with two or more of these long-term conditions, increasing health care costs as a nation to $3.3 trillion per year.
Statistics aside, when you don’t feel your best, you also don’t do your best. Both your work and home life suffer because all you can think about is simply making it through your day. If this is where you are currently, here are seven life hacks that can help you improve your health based on your individual goals.
Goal: Eat Less Overall
Life Hack: Set a Meal Timer
The slower you eat, the less you eat because your body has time to recognize your fullness cues. Therefore, to help you reduce the speed in which you eat, ultimately causing you to eat less overall, set a timer for 20 minutes before you even sit down for your meal. Then aim to make your food last until your timer goes off.
Goal: Curb Emotional Eating
Life Hack: Create a Non-Food Cupboard
When you are stressed, bored, or angry, do you instantly go to the cupboard? If so, why not move your normal food items and create a non-food cupboard instead. Stash items there that can actually help resolve your current emotion. For instance, fill it with books or walking shoes for when you’re bored. Add a journal if you need to vent.
Goal: Eat More Greens
Life Hack: Make 2:1 Meals
The CDC also reports that nine out of ten Americans don’t get the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies per day. To overcome this issue, make meals with a two-to-one ratio. In other words, for every serving of non-fruits and veggies on your plate, there should be two servings of fruits and veggies. This will greatly increase the amount you eat.
Goal: Eat Fewer Processed Snacks
Life Hack: Designate Sunday Snack Prep Day
During the work day, it’s super easy to find yourself standing in front of the vending machine, looking for a little pick me up. However, if your health-related goal is to eat fewer processed snacks, designate Sunday as your prep day and put together some grab-and-go options you can take with you the rest of the week. Options include containers with veggies and hummus, baggies with seeds and nuts, or anything else that will satisfy your urge to snack.
Goal: Drink More Water
Life Hack: Download a Reminder App
One of the hardest things about increasing your water intake is remembering to continuously drink up. Fortunately, there are several apps that can help you accomplish this goal. To find one for your phone, do a search in your app store for “hourly chimes.” As an example, if you have an Apple phone, you can download Reminder with Voice Reminders. With this app, you dictate how often it goes off and you can even have the sound of water as your reminder.
Goal: Get More Cardio Exercise
Life Hack: Wake Up with Your Workout Clothes
Even though you may know that cardiovascular exercise is good for you, that doesn’t always make it any easier to fit this type of activity into your schedule. To work your way around this, put on your workout clothes right when you get up. This will help get your mind in the exercise game, increasing the likelihood that you’ll do it.
Goal: Build More Muscle Without Having to Buy Expensive Weights
Life Hack: Use Household Goods
If you’re on a budget and want to build your muscle without having to buy expensive equipment or weights, look around your house and see what type of items you can use during your strength training sessions instead. Some common household goods and their weights are:
- 1 pound – bottle of water
- 5 pounds – bag of flour or sugar
- 10 pounds – bag of potatoes
Using these types of items enable you to increase your muscle strength without decreasing your savings account.