Living a Healthy Lifestyle: Where Do I Begin?

“Hey Amanda! Any advice for someone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle?”

Amanda-Juul-Sarah-Chacos-Photograhy-Minneapolis-Senior-Portrait-Photographer-27I get messages like this all the time. Honestly, it’s hard to know how to respond. 😮 Every body is different, so what works for one person, may not work well for someone else (i.e., intermittent fasting, keto, macro counting, running, etc.). 🤷🏼‍♀️ That said, there are some general things I’d recommend to someone hoping to live a healthier lifestyle, but unsure where to begin.

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 11.57.11 AM.png1) Eat real food. I’m talking unprocessed, not in a box, no ingredient list (or a short list with ingredients you understand), perimeter of the grocery store, no chemicals, dyes, or added sugars, the way God made it “real food.” I’m no nutritionist, but this has been KEY to me losing weight, eliminating bloating, stomach pains, and headaches. What you put in your body profoundly effects how you move, think, and feel.

Go-to breakfasts: smoothies (check out my favorite here), eggs with brussel sprouts, potatoes (or other veggies)
Go-to lunches and dinners: any combo of protein + vegetables. chicken (shredded, burgers, sausages, etc.), turkey meatballs, eggs, ground beef paired with spaghetti squash, cauliflower, roasted broccoli, brussel sprouts, potatoes, salad greens
Go-to snacks: apples with nut butter, nuts, rice cakes, Rx or Lara bars, beef sticks, hard-boiled eggs, celery, carrots
Go-to sauces + dressings for adding flavor: coconut aminos, salsa, marinara, guacamole, lime + lemon juices, spices (of course), Primal Kitchen brand, Sir Kensington’s brand, Tessamae’s brand

PaleOMG and Tone It Up are some of my favorite websites for recipes!

Amanda-Juul-Sarah-Chacos-Photograhy-Minneapolis-Senior-Portrait-Photographer-582) Find ways to move your body that strengthen, condition, and stretch. Find ways to move your body that you enjoy, whether it be walking, running, dancing, HIIT, group fitness classes, bodybuilding, powerlifting, yoga, swimming, Crossfit, etc. The best strength training, conditioning, and stretching is going to look different for different people. For me, I love weight training legs, shoulders, back + biceps, chest + triceps. I typically run for conditioning. Running builds both physical and mental endurance. As far as stretching goes, I love a good, hot yoga class. Foam rolling and just taking some time to stretch at home each day is great too.

If you don’t know where to start, Lauren Gleisberg has great, affordable weight-training programs, and there are tons of awesome, free HIIT workouts + yoga routines on YouTube.

Amanda-Juul-Sarah-Chacos-Photograhy-Minneapolis-Senior-Portrait-Photographer-323) Drink water. Buying a quality water bottle and carrying it around with me EVERY WHERE is key for keeping my water intake up. Take your body weight, divide it by two, and drink at least that number in ounces of water each day. I shoot for at least 100 oz daily.

Amanda-Juul-Sarah-Chacos-Photograhy-Minneapolis-Senior-Portrait-Photographer-264) Get enough sleep. You know that phrase, “Sleep is for the weak?” Well, if you ask me, a lack of sleep creates the weak. Sleep is crucial to recovery from workouts, fat loss, muscle growth, mental clarity + energy, and an efficient immune system. While we sleep, our brains literally clear out harmful toxins.

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a neurosurgery professor at the University of Rochester, stated, “It’s like a dishwasher. During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours. The process is important because what’s getting washed away during sleep are waste proteins that are toxic to brain cells. This could explain why we don’t think clearly after a sleepless night and why a prolonged lack of sleep can actually kill an animal or a person.”

Amanda-Juul-Sarah-Chacos-Photograhy-Minneapolis-Senior-Portrait-Photographer-245) Develop a sustainable morning routine. By spending time in the morning taking care of you, you’re able to bring a healthier you mentally, physically, and spiritually wherever the day takes you. “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Waking up earlier (and thus going to bed earlier) is a sacrifice I’ve learned to love as it’s taught me discipline, and made me a healthier, more productive person.
Check out an example of my routine here.

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