I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about the new book by Bob Harper (of The Biggest Loser fame) called The Skinny Rules. I haven’t read the book, but thanks to a sneak preview on Amazon, I did get a look at his 20 rules for dropping weight. Obviously, since I haven’t read the book or implemented any of the ideology, I can’t really comment on it—although, admittedly, I’m intrigued after hearing quite a few people say they’ve dropped weight and had more energy on his plan. Maybe one day I’ll read it and try it out, but for now, I’ll remain comment-free.
Anyway, this post isn’t about Bob Harper’s book. But it is inspired by it.
When I was contemplating Mr. Harper’s rules, I started thinking about my own set of rules. Not skinny rules. But healthy rules. My rules, either conscious or not, that I try to follow on a daily basis to feel my best and be my best. I think we all have our own, unique set of healthy rules. Whether it’s intentional or not, we set goals for ourself in all areas of our life, including our health and fitness. Maybe you didn’t write it down. Maybe you didn’t tell anyone. Maybe you didn’t even acknowledge it, but you probably are trying to hit some goal today.
It got me thinking about all those things that are second-nature. The steps that I take that are the foundation of my healthy lifestyle. My simple, nonnegotiable principles to being healthy, to borrow Bob’s tagline. I thought it might be fun to list out my healthy rules and compare them with everyone else’s. These are my daily principles for a healthy life, what are yours?
1. Drink water all day long.
My giant, pink water bottle almost never leaves my side. I know a lot of folks will give specific amounts (“drink eight glasses!” “drink your weight in ounces!”) but I find that if I just sip on water all day long, I’m adequately hydrated. It’s become a habit now. I feel naked if I don’t have my big ass water bottle in my hand.
2. Eat something green at every meal.
I’m not sure what it is about green plants that makes them so chock full of vitamins and minerals, but they are definitely nutritional rockstars. I try to pack them into every meal, every day.
3. Eat dessert everyday.
I know some folks think this isn’t a “healthy” rule, but to me, it is! Not only is it healthy for my mental state (c’mon, life is short, people!) but it is also healthy for my eating habits. By indulging a little everyday, I never feel deprived and never feel the need to overcorrect and binge on a whole pan of brownies. Sometimes it’s a small as a square of dark chocolate, other times it’s a slice of triple chocolate cake with cream cheese filling.
4. Sweat three times a week.
I’ll break down this rule a bit below, but my bare bones fitness rule is about just flat-out moving. I literally didn’t exercise more than walking from my fridge to my couch for years, and I never want to fall back into that. Just as long as I’m doing something that makes me sweat at least three times a week, I’m happy.
5. Lift heavy, lift often.
I was terrified of strength training for the longest time. Not only were the giant machines and weights intimidating, but I was for sure that I’d gain back all my weight if I focused on strength instead of spending hours doing cardio. The truth is: I feel my strongest, healthiest and fittest when I’m lifting heavy weights and lifting often. I am no longer a cardio-only kinda girl!
6. Have protein at every, single meal. And a lot of it.
Protein in my friend. It helps me recover more quickly from my heavy weight-lifting. It helps me feel full and satisfied with my meals and keeps my appetite in check for hours and hours. I wrote a whole post about the awesomeness of protein. Protein is good!
7. Keep the animal products to a minimum.
There are quite a few different sides to the whole eating animals debate. I fall staunchly in the middle. I consider myself a flexitarian, which basically means, I eat everything! But I do think that a lot of times, I use animal products (meats, cheeses, yogurt, etc.) to fill voids in my meals that should be filled up with nutrient-dense plant foods instead. Every day, I look at my meals and try to make sure I’m not filling up on cheese or chicken when I could be eating cucumbers or cauliflower.
8. Take my supplements.
I’m the first to tell you that I hate, hate, hate taking 12 pills a day. But I’m also the first to tell you that when I consistently take my supplements, I feel great! Is it actually changing something in my body? Who knows. It could just be the placebo effect, but either way, I feel the difference and that makes it worth it.
9. Get eight hours of sleep a night.
I’m one of those people who needs at least eight hours of sleep a night. Without it, I’m pretty much worthless the next day (and I’m really at my best at nine hours). It’s a definitely necessity in my life. Each evening, I figure out what time I need to wake up the next morning, count back eight hours and that is my required bed time. Nonnegotiable. Yes, that means my bed time is at 8:30 some nights.
10. Embrace the decaf.
I love coffee. I love the taste of it. I love the ritual of it. I love the romanticism of it. I don’t love how caffeine makes me feel. Just a few cups spread out over a few days, and I’ve got one nasty rebound headache. Going decaf a few years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my health and sticking to it is a daily decision.
What are your healthy rules?