Steph’s note: Please welcome my guest Ellen Jaworski of Triple Peak Paleo to the blog today. Ellen’s an expert in helping busy people maximize their health and well-being. Sound impossible? Keep reading and learn her 10 favorite healthy hacks for the time-crunched. I guarantee you’ll come away with at least a couple tools to make food and fitness less stressful. Take it away, Ellen!
“Busy” and “healthy”: two words that don’t seem to mesh.
As a busy person, you’ve got a million things on your plate. Your ‘to do’ list is a mile long, the meetings are never ending, the emails don’t stop, you’re constantly strung out on caffeine, and before you know it, it’s 10pm and all you want to do is collapse in a pile of exhaustion on your desk.
When your life is this crazy, adding one more to-do like being healthy seems counterintuitive, but the truth is, when you make small lifestyle tweaks like eating cleaner, moving your body, sleeping, and managing stress, busy becomes easier.
Like an expensive sports car, the fuel and nourishment you give your body has an enormous impact on your performance and when you’re trying to get it all done, you need every advantage you can get.
By simply supporting your body, you reap benefits like steady, consistent energy, increased physical stamina, emotional resilience, mental sharpness and focus, a tough immune system, and a strong body, capable of tackling whatever task is thrown your way.
When you’re operating on this level, productivity is guaranteed to go through the roof.
With these 10 healthy hacks, you can easily upgrade your busy life without adding another to-do, and supercharge your productivity to take control of your busy life and cross everything off your list before dinner!
[bctt tweet=”Check out these 10 healthy hacks for busy people!” username=”stupideasypaleo”]
#1 Be prepared with nutritious snacks
When you’re constantly on the go, meals aren’t always available when hunger strikes. To avoid a state of “hanger” that could derail your performance and start World War 3 with your coworkers, it’s essential to have a nutrient dense snack on hand.
Stash conveniently packaged single serving paleo snacks like Epic Bars, RX Bars, or Artisana nut butter packets in your work bag, office desk, or even in your car’s glove compartment so you can give your body energy rich fuel when you start to feel the first pangs of hunger.
Not only will this keep your energy steady and focus strong until you can get a real meal, but it will also prevent you from hitting the point of hanger where those cupcakes in the break room start to seem like a good idea. And if all else fails, eat several bars and call it a meal!
#2 Get it delivered
One of the most common excuses I hear as a health coach from busy clients is, “I don’t have time to eat healthy.” Here’s some tough love: if you have time to eat, you have time to eat healthy. These days, you can get anything you want delivered directly to you – and food is no exception!
No time to meal prep? It’s all good – use a paleo meal delivery service to have high quality meals delivered straight to your doorstep!
Whatever the scenario, by taking just a couple minutes to place an order online, you can get fresh, healthy food delivered directly to you in less active time than it would take to walk around the block to the nearest McDonald’s and order a mystery meat sandwich. And you’ll feel so much better!
#3 Stop stress-eating
If you’ve got a big deadline coming up, you may find yourself compulsively reaching for carb and sugar filled snacks…even though you’re not actually hungry. In times of high stress, our bodies turn on cravings for cupcakes and cookies as a means to self soothe because foods like these release “feel good” chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) in the brain.
But the problem is, these chemicals are just a quick fix. They create a temporary high, followed by both a physical and emotional crash, which starts the craving cycle all over again, wreaking havoc on your energy levels and putting even more stress on your body.
In busy, high stress times where you find yourself poking around the cupboard every few minutes, stop and ask yourself, “am I eating because I’m hungry or because I’m stressed?”
By creating this interrupt between your emotion and your craving, you give yourself space to choose a healthier, more sustainable strategy (like taking a short walk or chatting with a friend) to combat your stress.
#4 Minimize your workout time with HIIT
Some days the hours just roll by too quickly and before you know it, gone is the hour and a half you needed to make that CrossFit or yoga class.
When your window for working out becomes a fraction of what you planned, get the most bang for your workout buck with a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. Studies show that just 15 minutes of HIIT burns more calories and builds more muscle than an hour of jogging on a treadmill!
HIIT workouts alternate periods of short intense anaerobic activity and rest to effectively burn fat, build muscle, and increase your endurance so when time is short, squeeze this is the workout to do. Plus HIIT doesn’t require any equipment so you can get your workout on anywhere!
#5 Carry a water bottle
Did you know that just a 5% drop in your body’s fluid levels will result in a 25-35% drop in energy? So one of the easiest ways to keep your energy going strong is to stay hydrated.
When you’re on the go, drinking water can slip your mind, but if you make a water bottle one of the essential items in your work bag you’ll have a visual reminder to drink water whenever you go! (Steph’s note: These are my favorite water bottles.)
#6 Turn off your stress response before eating
“Busy” and “stressed out” tend to go hand in hand, and unfortunately, your body can’t tell the difference between “work” stress and “being chased by a bear running for your life” stress.
When your body is in this stress response, it slows down digestion to send blood flow to other parts of your body that could actually save your life, significantly reducing your metabolism and nutrient assimilation. Have you ever felt your lunch sitting like a rock in your stomach? That’s because it is.
To get the most benefit out of the high quality food you’re eating, you need to be in a state of relaxation, which isn’t always easy when you’re go-go-going.
So here’s a trick: it’s a simple, 3 minute breathing exercise called 5-5-7 breath that can be used before eating to relax and prime your body for optimal digestion.
Simply inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 5 seconds, and exhale for 7 seconds. Repeat 10 times and then enjoy a stress free lunch!
#7 Create an arsenal of healthy meals
Decision fatigue is real, my friends.
When you’ve had a long day leading the charge at the office or traveling, the last thing you’ve got energy for is choosing a new, healthy restaurant or recipe when it’s so much easier to just default to one of your good ‘ole carb heavy comfort foods… which will leave you feeling like crap at work the next day.
Cut out the decision making by creating a list of “go to” healthy options so you don’t even have to think about it.
Choose five cafes or restaurants near your home and/or office and a real food meal you can order at each (and/or a list of five simple recipes you can cook in a few minutes at home) so when you’re leaving the office after an exhausting day, making the healthy choice to fuel your body doesn’t require any extra effort.
#8 Use technology to hold you accountable
You know the saying, “there’s an app for that?” Well it’s true, even in the health and wellness realm. You’ve got so many different things to remember so take advantage of technology to help keep your healthy habits in check.
Simply Google “App for ___________” (whatever you need some extra support with), download, and set it up to your specifications.
For example, do you need a reminder to get your 8 glasses of water a day? The app Daily water will send notifications to your phone as often as you’d like! Or do you need help a little push to get that 8 hours of sleep a night?
The iPhone’s built in “Bedtime” function will alert you with a reminder when it’s time to start winding down in the evening, based on your wake up time the following morning.
#9 Prioritize sleep and nutrition
When you’re a busy person, there are times the work/life balance can easily become an overwhelming 99% work and 1% life. Maybe you’ve got a huge presentation due next week or a TV set that goes live in three days and five new pages of notes from the producers and studio executives.
Whatever the circumstances, in times like these, you’ve got to let your intricate wellness routine go and just focus on the essentials, which – spoiler – doesn’t include that hour at the gym.
If you’ve got no time, the best healthy practices are to continue to feed your body real food and get 8 hours of quality sleep.
This will keep your energy steady, your brain sharp and focused, your sugar cravings in check, and maintain your mental fortitude – all of which are incredibly important qualities in times of extreme stress and pressure. You have to eat and sleep anyways, so why not do it to the best of your ability?
#10 Put yourself first
It seems counterintuitive when you’ve got a never-ending list of to-dos, a boss that won’t stop calling, and three places to be at once, but the fact of the matter is, you have to prioritize self care because you are your biggest asset in both business and life.
If you don’t have a sharp, focused mind, a strong, healthy body, and steady energy, how can you do your job effectively?
As a busy person, you need every advantage possible if you’re going to get it all done, which means being the best possible version of you. You can only give your 100% to everyone and everything when you’re operating at your full potential…
…so to do that, put yourself first and take care of the one body, mind, and soul you’ve got.
At first, incorporating these healthy hacks into your busy life takes a little extra effort, but with consistency and practice, these hacks will soon turn into effortless habits, allowing you to tackle whatever your busy life throws at you with ease and confidence, knowing you’re operating at the highest level of you.
Here are the 10 healthy hacks for busy people:
- Be prepared with nutritious snacks.
- Get it delivered.
- Stop stress-eating.
- Use HIIT to maximize your workouts.
- Carry a water bottle.
- Turn off your stress response before meals.
- Create an arsenal of healthy meals.
- Use tech for accountability.
- Prioritize sleep and nutrition.
- Put yourself first.