The new year is a time where reinventing oneself is a pretty commonality. I mean, New Years Resolutions are incredibly popular and they usually involve improving yourself, right?
Between this post the other upcoming post about New Year, New You, which will go live on a later date, I will cover both how to get on track to be healthy inside and out.
Your health is probably the most important part of you. It doesn’t matter how immaculate you look or if you have the best skin care routine available, if your insides and overall health isn’t up to par, it won’t make a difference. So making sure your body is working at full capacity is top priority.
I will always be an advocate for getting a yearly physical. As someone with a variety of somewhat minor medical issues, you never know when something might decide to show up.
I personally think getting blood work done every year is a great way to make sure you’re in full working order. Your doctor can make sure you’re getting the right amount vitamins and minerals, a lot of people are deficient in things like iron, vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. It also makes sure your cholesterol is in check, among other things.
It’s also a great time to mention anything that might have come up but you didn’t think was important enough to warrant a visit. Most insurances cover preventative care, so you won’t have to worry about much in terms of copays.
Check Your BMI
I know there will be some people who disagree with this, but while making sure your internal organs are working right, making sure you have a healthy BMI for your height should also be on your list.
You may be completely okay with however much you weigh, and that’s perfectly fine. But keep in mind that if you are over or under weight, you may not see any immediate issues, but staying at either end of the spectrum for too long can have lasting health issues.
Both of my parents are considered obese. My dad has a BMI of about 39, which and my mom has about a 33 BMI. I currently sit at 24, which is just below overweight. I’ve been working on losing weight and getting myself healthy for a while now. Anything over 30 is considered obese.
- Overweight (not obese), if BMI is 25.0 to 29.9
- Class 1 (low-risk) obesity, if BMI is 30.0 to 34.9
- Class 2 (moderate-risk) obesity, if BMI is 35.0 to 39.9
- Class 3 (high-risk) obesity, if BMI is equal to or greater than 40.0
Both of them were extremely skinny when they were younger. My mom was 4’11” and 99lbs until she became pregnant with me, and my dad rivaled David Bowie in level of thinness. Some of the issues they have dealt with include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, broken pinky toe (literally carrying too much weight around broke the toe), joint issues, pancreatitis, and sleep apnea.
While you may not end up with any of these issues now or at all, being outside a healthy BMI puts you at risk for these issues and more.
“But I already eat healthy!” you might be thinking.
But, do you really? Have you tracked exactly what you ate down to every crumb and secret snack?
I’m guilty of thinking about what my major meals are, but forgetting about the occasional snack (or more accurately, the more than occasional snack) so I end up overeating without meaning to. And in case you didn’t realize, over eating healthier things like fruits and vegetables is still not the best thing. If you eat more than you consume you will gain weight. It’s thermodynamics.
So maybe in this new year you want to kick start a healthier you by eating better. The biggest suggestion I can make is to look into slow cooker recipes, and into batch cooking. If you make enough to eat for lunch for a week, then you have your lunch covered and not only will it save you money, you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.
Looking for inspiration or recipes? Check out my Slow Cooker – Batch Meals Pinterest Board! You can also check out Binging on a Budget for some low budget recipe ideas.
My favorite breakfast right now to make sure I have enough protein (which keeps me fuller longer) are Kodiak pancakes/waffles. My local grocery has them in both the freezer section and in the regular pancake mix section. I’ve found they have enough protein for me to stay full well past lunch time if I have to.
Related: Bad Habits to Avoid in Your 20s
Keeping hydrated is so important and something a lot of people gloss over. I will always tell this story to reiterate how keeping hydrated is so crucial. I was 17 when I had my first kidney stone.
When I was in high school we weren’t allowed to keep water bottles due to some idiots bringing in vodka and ruining it for everyone. And going to the water fountain wasn’t really an option since just trying to get to the bathroom was a fight with some teachers. My body had to adjust to not being able to drink for most of the day, and it did. But I was super dehydrated and didn’t realize it.
It wasn’t until one Saturday I was laying on my bed doing homework when I started to get a sharp pain in my right side. I thought it might go away, but as the next half hour or so went by the pain only got worse and I could feel my muscles around that area tighten up. I had to call an ambulance and go to the ER. Due to where the pain presented the doctors assumed it was my apendix, so I wasn’t allowed to drink anything due to potential surgery.
Thankfully after a CT scan it was revealed that I had a delightful little kidney stone hanging out in my uterine ducts. I was so dehydrated that it not only helped cause the kidney stone but made everything so much worse.
Now, I’m not saying you will end up with kidney stones if you are dehydrated, my family has a history with them so it’s something I’m prone to if I stay dehydrated for a while. But it does have so many affects on your health. You’ll feel sluggish, low energy, tired, it will make your skin dry, and in all honesty, it just doesn’t feel good to be dehydrated.
So maybe take a gift card or Christmas money you got and get yourself a reusable water bottle you can take with you. That way you won’t have to worry about having a drink on hand.
Probably one of the most neglected versions of health I’ve seen. When you start eating junk or not sleeping enough, it shows pretty well in how you function on a daily basis. But what about stressors? A lot of people think they’re just normal and part of life, but there reaches a point where stress is no longer “just stress” and has crossed over into something else.
Burnout is a real thing. It’s not a myth or made up, and it most certainly affects your overall health. Some of the signs of burnout are:
- Chronic fatigue
- Forgetfulness/impaired concentration and attention
- Physical Symptoms (chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, etc.)
- Increased illness
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of enjoyment
You can check out the full article The Tell Tale Signs of Burnout … Do You Have Them? for a full list and more in depth look on burnout.
Getting Enough Sleep
This is something I never understood in college. People would actually brag about how little sleep they got, or how many all-nighters they had to pull during finals week. How is that even remotely healthy and helping?!
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night to be fully functional and healthy. Some people have the magical ability to sleep closer to 6 hours and be functional.
I am not one of those people.
If you need a place to start your New Year, New You, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. You never know what symptoms you might have that are caused from lack of sleep!
Too much stress and not enough sleep can lower your immune system. If you’re getting sick more often than usual, maybe take a look at your sleeping.
You never know how much exercising can benefit you until you start it then stop. Seriously. I had been going to the gym for about a week, maybe 3 times a week after work. I was sleeping so well, I had more energy, and I didn’t really hit the 3PM slump most people get. It was great.
The next week I was busier and had things to do after work so I couldn’t make it to the gym. My sleeping slowly declined in quality, I most certainly hit that 3PM slump, and I’m eating more to keep myself away and functioning. Not cool.
You don’t have to go all out into some form of bootcamp or HIIT class, either. I was just swimming for 25-40 minutes. Taking it slow because I’m fantastic at going at full speed then wearing myself out and not going for a while. It also keeps my asthma in check.
Even something as little as a 20 minutes swim was improving my health so much, think about what it could do for you!
What are you doing to be healthier this year? Do you have any other tips to add? What do you think of my tips?
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