5 Easy Lifestyle Changes I Made Last Month

I’m pretty proud of myself. Without trying very hard, I made several healthy lifestyle changes during the month of September. I have more energy, my body is looking better, and these changes can easily be continued long-term (or replicated by you!).

5 Easy Lifestyle Changes I Made Last Month - That You Can Make Too! #health #fitness #fit #nutrition #lifestyle

1. I took the stairs. Every time.

The hospital has 3 floors and the unit I cover is on the 3rd floor. Between every floor is a Service Floor – i.e. where all the oxygen pipes etc. are. So to get from my office to my unit, I hike up 5 floors. I do this probably 3-5 times a day, plus the 4 floors to get to my car in the parking garage.

The difference? My legs are definitely looking more toned. Who knew something so simple would make such a huge difference?

2. I started taking Probiotics.

I often have a feeling of fullness in my stomach, hours after I’ve eaten. The best way to describe it is that it feels like I can’t suck in my stomach or sucking in is uncomfortable.

Three weeks ago I started taking Pearl Probiotics. I can’t say for sure that it’s made a drastic difference but I definitely have that feeling of fullness less and, without much effort on my part, my waist is measuring an inch smaller. I’m attributing that to the probiotics, as I didn’t up my ab exercises at all or lose any significant amount of weight. My stomach feels flatter and I feel bloated less.

Pearls Probiotics

3. I bought a heart rate monitor and subsequently upped the intensity of my workouts. 

I kept seeing people take pictures of their Polar Heart Rate Monitors and post photos of their workout results to Instagram (which I always found annoying). I started to wonder how useful they are and if it would help me make my workouts more efficient. Turns out, it did. I learned a lot about the workouts I was doing (and how they weren’t burning nearly as many calories as the machine told me) and changed them accordingly. Now my workouts are shorter but burn more calories.

One Workout Video from Fitness Blender
One Workout Video from Fitness Blender

Also, just a note on cost – I bought my Polar FT4 at Best Buy. The price at Best Buy was $89.99 and on Amazon it is $59.37. Best Buy does price matching and gave me the Amazon price.

4. I chose raw veggies for lunch almost daily.

Our hospital cafeteria is awesome. The salad bar has tons of raw, cut up veggies. I usually load up a big bowl with raw broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and sliced green bell peppers. Then I grab a cup of soup or another offering as my main dish, because duh, I need actual food too. But I’ve found that by filling up so much on veggies, I’m eating smaller portions of whatever else I’m eating.

I could easily prep veggies myself at home (and pack my lunch) but I’m lucky enough that it’s convenient to just get my veggies at work. The readily available fresh foods was just the push I needed to focus on getting proper nutrition.

5. I drank 1-2 liters of water during my work day.

Every day I aimed for 2 liters. Many days I succeeded, some days I didn’t. I did always drink at the very least, 1 liter before leaving work at 5pm. At home we only drink water (and wine) so my water consumption is definitely on target. Basically, I drink coffee in the morning and then nothing but water the rest of the day.

Bottle of Water

Things I could really work on but probably won’t:

  • Eating breakfast. I don’t.
  • Making pizza a treat and not the default when I can’t think of anything to cook.
  • Quit using non-dairy creamer in my coffee. It has trans fats. I need to stop but it makes coffee so creamy and delicious.

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  • I definitely need to work on some of these things! Ive only been at my desk job for about 2 weeks but I know I’ve been eating really badly since I started. Ive never been a healthy eater, but its been worse lately and its something I want to get a handle on now

    • I don’t know if your office is this way but when I worked in a more traditional office, everyone brought snacks and baked goods all the time. At least twice a week someone stopped and got donuts for everyone. It was the worst because you just had to be around it and I don’t have the willpower to say no.

  • Dude – I feel ya on the creamer. Those holiday flavors get me. B ut I only do one cup a day and only about a tablespoon of creamer, so it’s my morning treat.

    I need to try taking the stairs now that the weather is finally cooling off. I’m in the fifth floor of our office building, and in the summer the stairwell is SO muggy that just walking into it makes me break out in a sweat, but it’s definitely something I could implement now that it’s cooling off!

    • We have the opposite problem! Our hospital is so damn cold that I take the stairs just to warm up. But honestly, all those stairs add up. Today I did 25+ flights up. It adds up!

  • Yes to the pizza as a default thing! I do that aaaaaaallllll the time! I really want to get myself out of that habit. I actually considered making my own pizzas at home as a way to curb the pizza craving but probably reduce the calories by at least 30%!

    • I made my own pizza exactly one time. And then I realized that it’s actually cheaper sometimes to just get dominos. Ones we’d bought sauce, tomatos, fresh mozzarella, and goodies to top it, it was over $12. So I kind of disregard the calories and just order Dominos.

  • You’re lucky your hospital has suCh a great cafeteria! You’d be surprised at how rare that is.

    • I didn’t realize that until families inpatient kept telling me how good it was. I guess we’re really lucky. So much fresh food and I get an employee discount so it’s cheap too.

  • I work on the 3rd floor at my facility as well. I really want to get a pedometer because, I swear, I went up and down those stairs no less than 10 times yesterday (why do all our meetings have to be on first floor?) Good for you though! I really need to work on my water intake.

    • I want a pedometer for the same reason! I just want to know how much I walk. I bet I walk miles and miles every day in the hospital. The stairs really whip your legs and butt in to shape though, right?

  • Drinking more water seriously makes such a difference!

    • I just feel better when I drink a lot of water. I’ve heard it makes your skin less dry but honestly, my skin is dry no matter how much I drink.

  • Nice job! I’ve always wondered about a probiotic – I have the same “can’t suck in” issues sometimes.

    • My stepmom started eating an Activia a day and she said it made her stomach less bloated. I’m not a yogurt fan so I bought the probiotics in pill form. I do think that it’s made a difference and I feel less bloated.

  • way to go girl! i definitely feel better when i drink more water, and i did not know that about best buy. i want a heart rate monitor now!

    • Yup. As long as the product is sold by Amazon.com (and not another vendor via Amazon), they’ll match the price. No way was I paying $30 more!

  • Taking the stairs is such an easily implemented life change but honestly it makes ALL the difference! I’m working on upping my water intake, I drink so much coffee I know I should be drinking more water.

    • Sometimes I’m so cold in the hospital that I drink a big green tea instead. If I don’t put sugar or cream in it, I say it counts as water too.

  • It’s amazing how just changing a few little things makes a difference. My trainer always talked about changing only a few small things at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed. I really need to work on this too, as I put being super healthy and active on the back burner after having my daughter.

    Try blending a Tbs. of coconut oil into your coffee. It is smooth and creamy!

    • I would have never ever thought to add coconut oil to my coffee. Maybe I’ll give that a try. Powdered creamer is really just oil solids anyways. Thank you!

  • These are awesome, small changes that make a big difference! I also starting adding almond milk and agave to my coffee instead of creamer and that’s surprisingly made a big difference!

    • I know I should do that but I like my coffee super creamy. I do use sugar in the raw because I stopped using fake sugars a year or two ago. But I love the creamy coffee that the non-dairy creamer powder makes.

  • Keep up the good work! It’s these little simple changes that do make a big difference over time. I feel you on the coffee creamer though, it’s hard to stop drinking that when it makes coffee so delicious!

    • I just consider coffee creamer (the powder kind) my cigarettes. I just can’t quit.

  • Don’t take this the wrong way but I honestly didn’t realize people still didn’t eat breakfast. I thought it was a myth….

    • Really? I just googled it because I was curious what percent of people eat breakfast. Turns out, only about 1/3 of Americans eat breakfast every day. Looks like us non-breakfast eaters are actually the majority 😉

  • These are great tips. I used to be super healthy but recently fell into a slump of coffee and junk food, this gave me some motivation though. Thanks for posting!

    http://www.akacompletemess.com

    • We’ve all got our slumps, for sure. Mine is usually November through March haha.

  • I’ve fallen off track lately unfortunately. I usually only drink water or orange/pineapple juice or alcohol. No sodas or anything like that. This has been going on for years.. until last week. I had a Dr. Pepper one morning because I was sooooo tired, and I remembered how amazing it tasted. So now I’m back to drinking sodas a few times a week. It took me a good month or two to break that habit in high school. I also haven’t been to the gym in 2 weeks! ahhh

    • I’m the same way with Mexican coke. Any coke from another country made with real sugar is my jam. I cannot turn one down.

  • What kind of non-dairy creamer do you use? I am not supposed to have dairy so I get the SoDelicious Hazelnut or French Vanilla almond or coconut creamer. So good and nothing bad:)

    Cheers,
    Alyson

    • I use regular Coffee-Mate powder creamer. I love it. They sneak trans fats into it by saying there is 0 trans fats but then making the serving size super tiny.

  • I love this. I’m always looking for ways to be healthier (especially since my pants are fitting a little tighter thanks to a little too much wine). I think the heart rate monitor is a great idea and might be a good investment!

    xo Julie
    julieupstairs.wordpress.com

    • The heart rate monitor honestly made me realize how little the elliptical was doing for me. That thing sucks! Now I do harder workouts and burn the same amount of calories in less time.

  • I need to start implementing things like this in my daily life. I STRUGGLE with eating healthy sooo badly.

    • I honestly did too before I started my new job. It’s easy to eat healthy when the foods are right in front of you. For me, it’s the shopping and the prep work that goes in to healthy eating that always makes me want to order a pizza.

  • Wow!! That seems like a deal on the heart rate monitor!! I was doing a better job drinking water, but I’ve fallen off the wagon and I don’t seem to drink anything!

    • I saw heart rate monitors like a million times on instagram and had no idea that they were under $100. Amazon definitely has the best prices.

  • I need to do some of these. I’m going to try the Pearl stuff. Every time I eat breakfast I’m always hungrier throughout the day.

    • SAME. I’m just never hungry first thing in the morning. I drink a coffee and then I’m good to go. If I do eat breakfast, I wind up just as hungry (if not more hungry) at lunch time anyway. I know they say that eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism but so does having an active job where I walk a lot. I can’t see myself becoming a breakfast eater any time soon.

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  • It’s funny how the little things can make a big difference… The stair taking is a brilliant example.

    I’m with you on the whole pizza being a default meal though… Why is just so good?!
    🙂

  • I love this! I started making similar changes a few months ago and have noticed huge changes! Drinking water makes SUCH a difference, seriously. For breakfast I usually just eat some fruit and that’s it. I try to make lunch my biggest meal with lots of protein. Do you only use powdered creamer in your coffee? I use Natural Bliss (not powdered) (http://naturalbliss.coffee-mate.com/) and I LOVE IT. Basically anything that says “natural” I assume is healthy, which I’m sure is a great mindset to have . 😉 I haven’t heard much about probiotics but I’m going to look into them because I hate feeling bloated!

  • How is the probiotic pill going? I am curious to try it but also afraid it’ll make symptoms worse. I am ALWAYS so bloated after eating.

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