12 Essential Health Tips for Busy Women
By Jessica Sepel
If there’s one thing I constantly hear from women it’s that they want to live a healthier life but don’t have the time to do so. I completely understand this dilemma and have immense compassion for women who are living hectic lives. The truth is that finding time to take care of your health can be challenging, but it’s incredibly rewarding. As a clinical nutritionist, I simply can’t emphasise just how important it is to prioritise healthy eating and self-care. For those seeking inspiration, I’ve listed 10 tips to help you live a healthier life.
Commit to food prep: Every Sunday, I schedule one to two hours to prepare my food for the week. Firstly, I do my market shop to ensure my fridge and pantry are stocked with everything I need. Next, I prepare my food and snacks. I peel and chop veggies, chop fruit, package my healthy snacks, make healthy treats and prep on-the-go breakfast options (such as overnight oats and chia puddings).
Don’t skip breakfast: Regularly skipping breakfast can slow down your metabolism and throw your blood sugar levels out of balance, which makes it hard to stay focused throughout the day. Food provides energy and fuel for the body, so ensure you’re getting a protein- and fibre-rich breakfast. Some options include boiled eggs and avocado on seeded toast, protein smoothie, warm porridge, chia pots, Greek yoghurt with berries.
Eat protein and good fats at lunch: These satiating macronutrients will keep your blood sugars stable, which is the key to preventing afternoon cravings.
Cap your caffeine intake: I recommend drinking one coffee a day before 10am. Consuming too much caffeine can cause a rise in cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause all kinds of hormonal issues, in addition to weight gain around the midsection. If you’re craving a coffee in the afternoon, try having a dandelion tea or a chai tea with almond milk and a teaspoon of honey.
Cook extra food at dinner: Leftovers are lifesavers! I love making a huge dinner and portioning my lunch for the following day. Another great tip is to make meals that freeze well and can be re-heated. Some great options are Bolognese, healthy curry, soup and sweet treats. They’re perfect when you’re strapped for time and need a quick fix.
Reduce your stress levels: When your body is producing too much cortisol – the stress hormone – it can disrupt your sleep and make it hard to shift weight. Go into the JSHealth Stress-Free Zone every day for 10 to 20 minutes. This means putting your phone away and following a breathing practice, putting your legs up against the wall, reading your favourite book or going for a walk in nature. Taking some time for yourself is so good for the soul. If you’re strapped for time, why not try closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing while you’re on public transport or even in your car between appointments.
Give up dieting: The JSHealth philosophy is all about giving up dieting for good. Simply put, dieting may be causing you to overeat and hold onto excess weight. Eat nourishing wholefoods and indulge with moderation and control. To find our more about my philosophy on dieting, click here.
Establish a healthy nighttime routine: It’s so important to unwind and slow down your nervous system before sleep. Switch off technology at least two hours before you go to bed, dim the lights and have a bath or read a book. Read about my nighttime routine here.
Get more rest: If you’re lacking in energy, it’s important to prioritise rest. Ensure you’re getting to be early (between 9.30 and 10.30pm) and getting eight hours of sleep. Also, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to social arrangements when you need to relax and recharge – your friends will understand.
Watch your drinks: Limit your intake of soft drinks and diet drinks as they can cause sugar cravings and contain chemicals, flavour enhancers and additives, which create a toxic load in the body. Save a few glasses of alcohol for the weekends. Enjoy two glasses of wine with dinner. If you prefer spirits, stick to gin or vodka with soda a fresh fruit segments.
Supplement with magnesium: A magic mineral, it helps with stress, constipation, sugar cravings and energy.
Prepare your snacks: If you’re organised and have your own healthy snacks on hand, you’re less likely to be tempted by vending machines and café treats. Some great options include a handful raw nuts, Greek yoghurt with cinnamon, JSHealth protein balls, carrot sticks with hummus, flaxseed crackers with a slice of cheese or a protein-rich smoothie.
Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, best-selling author, international health blogger and the beloved voice behind JSHealth and @jshealth. She recently lauched the JSHealth App, which features a world-first nutrition clinic, hundreds of healthy recipes, a daily meal planner, health guides, body love support and much more.