The American Heart Association says this: “A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease… Remember, it’s the overall pattern of your choices that counts.” One of the most common fears about making a positive change is that the change won’t be any fun. However, making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle doesn’t have to be depressing. Try one (or more) of these seven diet and lifestyle changes that you can make this week.
Watch The Game Changers Documentary on Netflix
There are a few documentaries that have helped people make radical positive diet and lifestyle changes within the span of a week after watching them: The Game Changers, Forks Over Knives, and What the Health. Each of these documentaries explores, in its own way, the role of food as medicine, and The Game Changers, produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan, is perhaps the most entertaining of the three. It is available to stream on Netflix, which means that you can watch it this week and decide for yourself if there are any food-related changes you’d like to make.
Sign Up for a 7-Day Whole-Food, Plant-Based Challenge
If you’d like to dip your toe into the water of eating more healthfully, try the 7-day Plant-Strong Challenge from Engine 2. Let Rip Esselstyn, a former pro triathlete, former Austin firefighter, and bestselling author help you see first-hand the benefits of improving your diet. Rip’s dad, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, is one of the pioneering doctors in the movement to reverse heart disease through diet. As a Texas firefighter, Rip convinced many of his fellow firefighters to take this challenge–no small feat in the land of barbeque and burgers.
Drink More Water
Another lifestyle change you can make this week is to make a commitment to yourself to drink more water. Replace a sugary beverage each day with a glass of filtered water. Drinking the right amount of water (a.k.a. staying hydrated) has been shown to affect energy levels and brain function, maximize physical performance, prevent and treat headaches, relieve constipation, help treat kidney stones, help reduce hangovers, and aid in weight loss. Not bad for a clear, odorless, and tasteless liquid!
Start Taking a Probiotic Supplement
We’re still trying to get a better understanding of gut biology, but already scientists are noticing a connection between gut health and mental health, heart health, digestive health, allergies, skin conditions, weight loss, and the immune system. Probiotic pills are believed to help increase gut health and, in turn, heap positive rewards on all of the related wellness categories. You can order probiotic supplements online or pick up a bottle at your local health food store and begin taking them this week.
Download a Screen Time App
Do you find yourself longing for a time before you spent most of your free time looking at your phone? Do you find it impossible to make it through a whole movie–arguably, the most entertaining thing there is–without reaching for your phone to scroll through a social media account? If so, maybe a screen time management app is for you. The Mayo Clinic reports that cutting back on screen time can improve physical health, decrease obesity, increase time to try new activities, improve mood, and enhance relationships. They advise limiting screen time to an hour or two a day.
Get Outside More
Use some of that free time you’ve cleared up with your screen time app to get outside and go for a walk, bike ride, or other activity. Being outside more is said to help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve mood, improve focus, support graceful aging, and help us heal more quickly.
Order a Book to Read
One lifestyle change you can make right now is to go onto your favorite online bookseller’s (or independent bookstore’s) website and find a book that interests you. Order it, and anticipate its arrival. When it shows, enjoy reading it. Reading has been shown to help get ready for sleep, reduce stress, fight depression, prevent age-related cognitive decline, strengthen empathy, and improve connectivity, among other really positive stuff.