5 hacks for a healthier november

5 hacks for a healthier november1

Back in May I made a stair-only policy with myself–as in if a set of stairs is 10 flights or less and I’m not lugging a heavy bag, escalators and stairs don’t exist. Plain and simple!

I started taking the stairs at work, and in the subway, and after just a couple of weeks I found I was heading for the stairs purely out of habit. I didn’t have to think about it. It just happened. And it’s been happening ever since.

This got me thinking about how easily small behaviors can become healthier habits, if we just put our minds to it for just long enough for it to stick.

So let’s start a new tradition, shall we?

At the start of each month I’ll post 5 healthy life hacks–just some ideas on simple ways we can change up our daily routines to live more healthfully throughout the month. Who knows, maybe at the end of November we’ll have a new healthy habit!

1. Adopt a stair-only policy. If it’s 10 flights or less and I’m not lugging a heavy bag, escalators and stairs don’t exist. I started this when I began working at MyFitnessPal after just a couple of weeks I noticed I subconsciously headed for the stairs rather than the elevator. When the co-workers and I go grab a bite for lunch, I can even get them to take the stairs with me on the way back. Not only can it become a habit but stair climbing can be contagious.

2. Place a pitcher of water on your desk–and set a timer to keep you sipping. When the timer goes off, your pitcher should be empty. Take a bathroom break, refill and start over! My hydration habits need some serious revamping so this is going to be what I focus on this month. With a half marathon to run in just 17 days the timing couldn’t be better!

3. Order burritos with light rice & heavy black beans. Beans are packed with protein, fiber and folate, and are even a good source of iron. White rice brings little to the table besides refined carbohydrates. Just ask to make the swap! I’ve never been turned down yet.

4. Downsize your dinner plate. I think it’s in our DNA to fill every square inch of our plate, don’t you? And then eat every bite, of course. I’ve started using salad plates at dinnertime and it’s been helping me keep my dinner portions in check. Occasionally I’ll go back for seconds, but I’ve found I really have to want whatever it is I’m getting up for again!

5. Put a little less sugar or sweetener in your coffee. I’m sorry. I know this is totally unfair for me to suggest since I just posted a pumpkin spice latte syrup recipe the other day–but, maybe on the days you’re not savoring a sweet pumpkin latte you dial back the sugar and sweetener a bit. When ordering your #PSL at Starbucks, ask them for 1 less “pump” and you’ll already be consuming 8+ grams less of sugar. If you want to sound like a seasoned veteran as you order your double soy latte no whip, here’s how: 4 pump Venti, 3 pump Grande, 2 pump Tall.

I think it’d be fun to turn these hacks into mini-challenge so if you’re up for taking on one of these hacks, or have another you want to tackle, rock the #healthhackhottie hashtag and tag me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook! I’ll put a mini collage together at the end of each month and show off all the health hacks we rocked.

Also, feel free to share any health hacks you have up your sleeve in the comments below! I’ll be on the lookout for great ones to feature each month from here on out!

Health hacks: What do you want to work on this month? I’m all about being more mindful of hydration this month. I’m actually currently on Amazon ordering myself a new water bottle to keep on my desk at work!

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  • I’ve been a fan of the Fitbit for several years. I recently upgraded from my original Ultra to the “One” and one of the new features is that it counts flights of stairs. I’m generally just hanging around the house, but the gym, food storage and kids rooms are in the basement. It’s been interesting to track my stairs and see that I do get in quite a few every day. My 14-year also has a Fitbit and while waiting at a basketball conference, ran bleachers with his buddies and got 100 flights of stairs!

  • I carry a 1liter water bottle with me to work every day and have another 2 in the fridge at home (1 almost a liter and 1 about 1/2 liter), plus the extra 1-2 glasses I drink in the am and any extra I add to my big bottle pre-workout. I’ve always been good about drinking my water :) I do select the stairs more often than not now when I go shopping. Home and work there is no other option and the occasional subway ride no other option but stairs :)

    Elle, I have to share this with you: with the help of your fantastic employers I have lost over 100lbs over the past 2 years!!! (101.2 to be exact) Just wanted to thank you for sharing so many yummy recipes and just so much other great advice, tips, etc. Your blog and some other blogs have also had a hand in helping me to lose so much weight :D

  • Taking the stairs is a good one! In my internship, I felt so active during clinicals because I was on my feet all day and tried to take the stairs as much as possible.

  • Love these!! I get lazy and opt for the elevator a lot but I agree that using the stairs is the way to go! I’ll try to work on that more this month too. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’m already adapted to taking the stairs, except at work where I deliver food at the hospital (the cart really can’t be carried…haha.) I think I will look at hydrating better! I also want to try to take an hour a day to let myself do what makes me happy at home!

  • Love this idea! This month I’m going to focus on plate size. Our dinner plates are huge and you’re right, I tend to fill them up! Maybe I can even reward myself with some new, smaller plates as a reward for completing the challenge? :)

  • Great tips, Elle. It’s really not that hard to take the stairs. I always take the stairs (even after a hard workout…). I really do need to focus on hydration though. Thanks! =)