When you’re looking to get healthy, it can be difficult to know what things you should focus on first.
It’s up to you to decide what applies to your current lifestyle and goals, but prioritizing them in roughly this order can help you be more successful and keep you from getting overwhelmed! This list might sound simple, but health really can be that way! We just need to drown out all of the noise from companies and people that promote expensive and restrictive diets and products, and focus on the things that truly matter.
Load up on water, fruits, and vegetables
Filling your diet with these will make eliminating unhealthy things a bit less daunting, and will help to heal and protect your body against illness. As a driver, it’s going to mean taking every opportunity you find to eat produce; if you see fruits or veggies available in a truck stop or restaurant, buy them.
Cut back on the foods that harm our health
Reduce (or eliminate) your consumption of alcohol and heavily processed foods. Anything that comes from a package and has a list of ingredients is considered processed, but it is up to you to determine which foods you need to avoid the most. Everything from canned soup and frozen entrees to cookies and crackers should be reduced, as they all contain unhealthy ingredients that take a toll on your health. In addition, they are almost always made to be “hyper-palatable,” which means they are designed to make you crave more of that food than you would normally eat! Focus on the unhealthy foods you tend to consume the most often, rather than the things you eat occasionally. If you drink pop every day or eat ice cream 4x per week, those things should go first!
Start moving your body more
Notice that I placed two nutrition steps before the exercise? That’s because I want you to avoid the mindset that an unhealthy diet can just be worked off in the gym. You need to clean up your diet in order to get significant results and to improve your health, no matter how much you work out! That being said, exercise will provide you with a multitude of other health benefits, and can often help people to become more aware of their diet choices. Walk more, lift weights to build strength, and get your heart rate up. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Need some motivation to get moving? Click here!
Prioritize sleep & rest
Start going to bed earlier or sleeping in a little longer when possible, but that’s easier said than done, right? Be sure to optimize your sleep environment, by using the most comfortable mattress, blankets, and pillows you can find, and blocking out as much light as possible. This will help ensure you’re getting quality sleep, even if you aren’t getting a lot of it. Sleep is crucial for lowering stress levels, improving your immune system, and maintaining or achieving a healthy weight…among many, many other things! Click here for another article we shared on improving sleep on the road.
Cut back on portion sizes
If you drastically overeat, this may be higher on the priority list for you, but it still likely isn’t as harmful as eating the unhealthy foods we talked about above. Believe it or not, eating healthier foods can naturally help you curb your overeating habits! Now, if you still think you are overeating even after improving your diet, start to eat more slowly and wait before going back for seconds. You can also use smaller dishes and containers, and practice serving yourself about ¼ less food at mealtimes.
It’s so true that adding more fruits and vegetables starts you on the right track, but it is so easy to fall back into eating the crackers, chips and cookies, because they are conveniently packed and easy to grab and go. Not to mention that the healthier options are often more expensive than the junk. It takes a bit more time to get the fruits and vegetables to the point that you can bring them with you and eat them easily, and they may cost more, but if you can start the habit, it will pay dividends!