12 Simple Changes to Live a Healthier Life
Welcome to my party!! I’m so glad you’re here (: I’m Marissa, a holistic health coach who loves helping fellow 20-something women live happier, healthier lives by creating balance and eliminating overwhelm! I love writing about my experiences, advice, and more on my blog every week. But I’m active daily on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there for updates, mini trainings, daily life, and much more!
TW: This post mentions eating disorders and body image struggles. If these topics are triggering for you, this post might not be for you.
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Everyone wants to live a healthier life, but how do you actually DO it?
That seems to be the question these days, doesn’t it?
People are always looking for the best diet, the best workout program, the best of the best of the best! All because they want one thing… to be healthier.
Unfortunately, we have over complicated health SO MUCH that we’ve forgotten we already have all of the answers. We’ve just been looking in the wrong place.
The best kept health secret of all time is to listen to your body. Your body is constantly doing amazing things, some of which we still have yet to discover.
And yet we choose to ignore the signals our bodies are constantly sending us. Every one of us is guilty of this at some point… maybe you didn’t workout one day because you felt too tired even though you knew that you were only tired because you hadn’t worked out. Or maybe you, like me, learned to ignore your hunger cues because you didn’t want to eat “too much.”
Why do we do this?
Because that’s what we’ve been taught.
We’ve grown up hearing all about weight loss, diets, intense workouts that burn crazy amounts of calories, hustle culture, and so many other narratives that have actually impacted our health in negative, not positive, ways.
And while I know telling you “LisTeN to YoUr bOdY!” is so simple and sounds like an easy task, it’s quite the opposite.
It takes a lot of unlearning and rewiring of the brain in order to really get the hang of it. And none of us will ever be perfect at it (hellooo, that’s impossible), but we can sure try our best to reconnect with these wonderful bodies we get to live in, so that we can take care of these homes the best we can. (:
When I began my ~health journey,~ I had very little clue what I was doing.
I was a young high schooler who knew very little about nutrition and workouts, and I sure as heck had never even heard of intuitive eating and exercise.
I was incredibly insecure (so much so that it deeply affected my relationship for years), and I compared my body to basically every other girl I laid eyes on.
I wanted my butt to be bigger, my stomach flatter, and I wished that my bone structure was a little more petite.
Pretty soon, I started calorie counting, learning about macros, spending more and more of my free time doing extra workouts (that I didn’t even really enjoy, tbh). I was rapidly going downhill.
Eventually, I developed what I’m pretty sure was orthorexia, although I was never diagnosed. At the very least, I had some extremely disordered eating going on.
I was anxious around food, constantly overthinking what I should eat, worrying if I was eating too many “bad” foods, weighing and measuring myself and feeling terrible every time I saw the numbers, and just feeling all-around terrible about myself.
One summer night, I had just gone out to get ice cream with friends (something I LOVE to do), but my disordered eating habits had stolen the joy right out of me.
It probably wasn’t too noticeable to those around me, but I was REALLY struggling that night. At one point, I remember the thought of throwing up my ice cream crossing my mind, which was terrifying.
I had never had a thought like that, and I didn’t want to think like that. That’s when I knew something needed to change.
The start of my change
Luckily, around that time, I had been seeing various accounts on Instagram posting about intuitive eating, anti-diet culture, and things of that nature.
I hadn’t really given much thought to them before, but I wanted to, so I started looking into it more and suddenly realized there was SO much more to health than I had previously thought.
It wasn’t just about nutrition and exercise; stress, relationships, sleep, and a million other things affect health too!
Learning this felt so FREEING. But it also quickly became overwhelming.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to explore many different things that can affect health over the last couple years, which allowed me to create this list of 12 simple changes that have really helped me improve my health and happiness.
Now, I’m more confident than I ever have been, and I don’t compare my body to others. I haven’t weighed myself in so long that I can’t even remember the last time I did. I move my body in ways that feel good to me. I eat the foods that fuel my body best. I’m not scared to eat out or grab ice cream on a late summer night.
Of course, I’m still a work-in-progress, so I’m not perfect. But if you had told me 2 years ago I’d be where I am today, I would never have believed you.
If you’re looking to make simple changes to your life that can drastically improve your health AND your happiness, you’ve come to the right place.
12 Simple Changes to Live a Healthier Life
Our bodies were not made to be sedentary 24/7! Humans have always worked on their feet – until recently.
Luckily, increasing your daily movement doesn’t have to mean working out for hours every day or getting a job where you’re on your feet all day. In fact, lots of non strenuous movement seems to provide more health benefits than hours of intense exercise.
Start small at first by doing things such as: parking farther away from your destination, walking or biking instead of driving, taking the stairs, or purchasing (or making) a standing desk!
Stop letting an app or another person tell you what, when, and how to eat. No one knows your body like you do, so start focusing more on how you’re feeling and what foods and nutrients your body is asking for.
At first, you might be going straight for the less nutritious (I don’t like the word “junk”) options, and that’s totally normal!
Eventually, you’ll start craving fruits, veggies, and more! Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to give it what it’s asking for.
Drink more water
I used to be TERRIBLE about drinking enough water (still am some days)… but when I stay hydrated, I literally feel like a different person.
I have SO MUCH more energy, my skin looks and feels better, and I just feel better all around – because I’m nourishing my body!!
We all know screen time isn’t ideal for us… but it becomes even more apparent when we get a break from it.
I deleted all social media for some time in high school, and it’s INSANE how much less cluttered my brain felt.
When I take the first few hours of my day off my phone, the same thing happens. I feel much less stressed; more creative, excited, inspired; and just better.
Get more sunshine
Unfortunately, most of us do not get outside often enough. And we don’t get enough sunshine either. 🙁
Going outside and spending time in nature, especially when it’s sunny, can also help us fill our cups.
Go for a walk, read a book in your yard, or just take a few minutes every morning to sit and breathe in the fresh air.
Whatever way you can get in some extra outdoor time, DO IT!
Improve sleep hygiene
Sleeeeep… the thing we could all benefit from more of. Yet a huge thing everyone forgets when it comes to health.
Let me remind you, your body REPAIRS itself when you’re sleeping. This is when your brain stores memories, and your body is taking care of things it can’t easily do when you’re awake.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body isn’t able to take care of itself in the ways it needs to.
This can result in nearly immediate results, such as increased fatigue and lowered concentration, attention span, and reaction time. But it may also cause long-term health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, mental health problems, reduced immunity, and more.
Find hobbies you love
I think this is one of the health tips that many people forget about, but it is SO important!
Finding things that bring you joy can make a huge difference in your mental health, which oftentimes affects your physical health.
Think about what you liked to do for fun as a kid, things that look fun that you’d like to try, or do things you already love to do!
Some of my favorites (if you need a little inspiration) are painting, playing outside, reading, and writing.
Start talking kindly to yourself
You can change your diet, your workout routine, your sleep habits, start doing things you love… but if you’re not talking to yourself like you would talk to someone you love, not much is going to change.
The way you speak to and about yourself has enormous effects on your confidence, the actions you take, and how much you care about yourself as a person.
It’s really important to start being kind to your mind because it really makes the biggest difference in how happy and healthy you are!
Need some help with this? Try these books:
- The Coffee Self-Talk Guided Journal
- Self Talk: How to Train Your Brain to Turn Negative Thinking into Positive Thinking & Practice Self Love
Create your ideal morning and night routine
Morning and night routines can help you sleep better, feel more confident and productive, and a nice morning routine gets you on the right track for the rest of the day!
I have an Instagram post all about how to create the ideal morning routine, so be sure to check that out. (:
Make time to rest & refresh
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy to be considered self care; some of my favorite things to do are read, take a hot bath or shower, and cuddle with my dog. (:
I don’t mean to scare ya (really, I don’t), but many products that we use DAILY (cosmetics, sunscreen, plastics, etc.) are filled with toxins and other foreign ingredients that our bodies don’t recognize.
Many of these toxins have been studied and found to cause adverse health outcomes, such as cancer, hormone disruption, and more.
Luckily, there are much better options all around us; we just need to be aware of them and buy those as alternatives (when possible).
It’s impossible to avoid EVERYTHING, so don’t stress about changing your entire lifestyle and buying all new things. Strive to replace one or two things at a time, and don’t worry about being perfect. If you want to learn more about this topic, I’d suggest following @environmentaltoxinsnerd on Instagram!
Just like intuitive eating, intuitive movement is working out in ways that feel good for YOU. It’s all about paying attention to what you’re needing in that moment and honoring your body enough to listen to it.
This can be especially helpful for those with a uterus because our hormones can drastically affect our energy levels throughout our cycles. Depending on which phase of your cycle you’re in, you might feel better doing different workouts.
I started exercising more intuitively a few months ago, and it’s made me much less stressed when it comes to workouts. I feel so much more freedom and flexibility with what I can do to move my body!
I hope these 12 simple changes that you can make to live a healthier life were helpful! Let me know which ones you’re going to try in the comments, and if there’s anything you’d add to this list. Don’t forget to come visit me on Instagram; I can’t wait to connect with you! ((:
If you enjoyed Marissa’s post make sure to check out all the other fantastic posts on her blog! And since we are on the topic of healthy lifestyles check out some of these other related blog posts:
- 10 Successful Tricks To Fit Workouts Into A Busy Schedule
- The Anti-Anxiety Morning Routine You Need In Your Life
Until next time,