Our culture is obsessed with dieting and weight loss. And while maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for living a long, healthy life, weight is just a number. Wellness is a broad spectrum that takes into account our physical health, as well as things like our spiritual, mental, and emotional wellbeing. When one area is out of whack, all areas suffer, which is why it is helpful at times to take the focus off of weight loss and strive for total wellness and health instead. Whether weight loss is a current goal for you or not, we put together a list of 5 healthy hacks to improve your overall wellness, and hey, you may even lose a few pounds in the process!
#1. Exchange weeknight cocktails for mocktails.
We all love to enjoy a crisp, delicious cocktail with friends after a long work week, but cocktails often contribute a lot of unnecessary calories that interfere with weight loss. For example, one glass of cabernet sauvignon (5 oz) contains 120 calories, a classic margarita contains around 200 calories, and a standard IPA has between 180 to 200 calories per 12 oz serving. If you’re only having one drink, this isn’t significant in a day’s worth of calories, but given that many alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and have no nutritional value, those calories can add up pretty quickly at happy hour. A healthy hack that not only saves you calories, but also promotes better overall health, is to exchange your weeknight cocktails for mocktails. Check out some of our favorite Red Leaf Mocktail recipes, or try some of these non-alcoholic brands on the scene that taste like the real deal: Athletic Brewing’s Run Wild IPA only contains 70 calories per 12 oz serving and Ritual’s Tequila Alternative has ZERO calories per 1.5 oz serving and pairs great with sparkling water and lime juice.
#2. Skip an episode & take a walk with the family.
I don’t know about you, but my husband and I love to cap off a long work day bingeing a few episodes of our favorite show after dinner. There’s nothing wrong with spending quality time watching tv with the fam, but one easy health hack is to swap one episode of your favorite show with a walk. Walking is a game changer when it comes to weight management and overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, even 30 minutes of walking each day can help reduce a person’s risk of developing chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. In today’s increasingly sedentary culture, many of us are barely clocking 5,000 steps per day. A forty-minute walk (about the length of one standard primetime show minus commercials) alone can equate to almost 5,000 steps. In addition to physical benefits, walking also has many mental health benefits such as decreased stress, improved memory, cognition, and even improved sleep (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Spending quality time with the people you love is incredibly important, and while watching tv together is relaxing and fun, we challenge you to build a family walk into your evening routine for a period of time and note the differences! You may be surprised just how much of an impact walking has on your family’s overall health!
#3. Swap dessert with fruit and yogurt.
Ice cream, cookies, cake, you name it, I love it! There is certainly a time and place for dessert, but if sugary, high-calorie desserts are a regular part of your post-dinner routine, it may be time to switch it up. One of my favorite healthy “desserts” is unsweetened vanilla Greek yogurt with honey, cinnamon, and blueberries. Not only is it delicious, it’s also satiating and nutrient-dense, which is exactly the type of meal you want to have before going to bed. If you’ve got kiddos with a sweet tooth, a kid-friendly dessert hack is to take sliced strawberries drizzled with local honey and top with an almond milk “whipped cream.” It’s delicious, healthy, and fun for the kids! When it comes to treats of all nature, whether you have a sweet tooth or are a fan of salty, savory snacks, opt for whole, unprocessed foods where possible!
#4. Ditch energy drinks for Red Leaf Immunity.
Most energy drinks contain anywhere from 150 mg caffeine per serving to upwards of 300 mg per serving. The FDA recommends not exceeding 400 mg caffeine daily, so you can imagine how many of us are over-consuming caffeine between our daily coffees, energy drinks, and pre-workout supplements. When the afternoon energy slump hits, rather than grabbing for a sugary, over-caffeinated energy drink or coffee, try Red Leaf Immunity. With zero grams of sugar per serving and only 80 mg caffeine per scoop, Immunity is a b-vitamin packed formula that will give you a jitter-free energy boost without negatively impacting your sleep schedule. This week is the perfect time to try Red Leaf Immunity if you haven’t already! Red Leaf’s Back to School Buy One, Get One 50% Off Sale is live and lasts through Sunday, August 22.
#5. Take note of what feels good and what does not.
This is probably the easiest and most important healthy hack you can implement into your routine. The health and wellness space is filled with a lot of people who have opinions about which exercise regimen and diet plan are best for weight loss. The plus side of this is that there is tons of information out there to help inform our decisions as we try a new program. But at the end of the day, you are unique and what works best for me likely won’t work best for you because we have different needs, experiences, preferences, and goals! Testing is important when it comes to finding out what works best for you, but the necessary practice that goes hand in hand with testing is taking note of what feels good and what doesn’t. You may try five different workout classes before finding which one is best for you, but once you find what works, stick with it!
Weight loss, and being healthy for that matter, doesn’t have to be complicated. These five healthy hacks will add more movement and thoughtful nutrition choices into your daily routine, which over time will lead to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.