I like acronyms, I came up with W.A.S.H. as a way to evaluate why my kids may be acting up, it works for adults too! These 4 behaviors build on top of one another to provide the foundation for feeling good consistently. I hope you get something out of this simple checklist that will improve things for you and your family, keeping you all healthy and feeling good consistently.
One thing I've noticed in my own life and about people that I work with, is that people who consistently drink water tend to have more energy, they are more enthusiastic and more dependable. With everything we now know about sugary drinks, coffee and even sports drinks, it amazes me how many people will chug these things all day and then wonder why they don't feel well. When you get in the habit of drinking water you begin to crave it, by understanding the feeling of being hydrated you can recognize the sluggishness of dehydration.
Benefits of drinking water according to Medical News Today:
• Healthier joints
• Skin health
• Regulation of body temperature
• Flushes waste
• Maintains blood pressure
• Delivers oxygen throughout the body
• Helps your body access minerals and nutrients
When you read the above, What's not to love???
Staying hydrated at work: Get yourself a water bottle and spend a few extra dollars to get one that fits your preferences. If you like to drink out of a straw, get a good cup or bottle that has one! Other tips, a wide mouth is always better if you like ice in your water, insulated cups are generally higher quality and really do keep your water cold. Me personally? I put a bag of old classic #Bigelow green tea w/lemon in with my ice water every morning at work, it adds flavor and give me the green tea benefits (antioxidants, amino acids, caffeine).
Staying hydrated at home or on the jobsite: The best solution I've found for staying hydrated on the weekends or anytime I'm out working on the farm is my $4.00 Gatorade squirt bottle. After my morning coffee I fill it full of water with lots of ice. I like how durable it is, it's spill proof and I can get big gulps with one squeeze, just like the old days spraying it through my facemask on the football field. I suggest you buy 4 of these to have around the house, the kids think its fun to have dad spray water into their mouths as well.
To feel good, be ready for anything and live your most productive life YOU NEED TO DRINK WATER! Start today!
We were created to move! Endorphins are a real thing! How many studies have to be done that show the correlation between exercise, activity and a healthy happy life before we will finally start committing ourselves to getting that exercise and activity in? Our bodies are capable of incredible feats and, just like well maintained machinery, our bodies and minds work and perform their best when they avoid downtime. If you are able bodied and you aren't getting in some sort of physical activity on a daily basis, what are you doing? And what are you doing instead? Television? Screen time? Nothing at all?
We have allowed ourselves to forget the joy and fulfillment that comes from activity. For me, this is my daily workout or jog, I also get a lot of activity in on the farm, working the land or around the house. Early in my career I spent a couple years doing 12-hour manual labor for my job, even then I went to the gym for an hour before work to keep my body strong and prepared for my work. For many people who've been sedentary for a long time, it starts with a daily walk, it can then lead to some jogging and then a more dedicated workout program with weight training. For you dads out there, get up, get coats and shoes on the kids, get outside and move around! Active kids are happy kids, they need fresh air! Don't coop them up inside all day, sitting on your rear and then blame them for being misbehaved, lazy and bored. If you won't get up and move around, why should they?
• Do not underestimate what you are physically capable of
• Rediscover the joy of physical activity
• Set the example for your family, active kids are happy kids
• Move your body, get your heart rate up, be ACTIVE every day!!
If you don't feel energetic and enthusiastic about your life, work or family, take a hard look at how much ACTIVITY your life contains. Moving your body every day is a key to feeling good! There is no debate.
How many times a week do you hear somebody utter the words, "I'm so tired." If your experience is similar to mine, you'd like a dime every time you hear it. I find it interesting that most of the people I hear talking about their fatigue are not those who exercise consistently and rise out of bed early, but rather they are usually people who are mostly sedentary and get to work late. We all know the benefits of sleep: longer life, better mood, healthier habits, more energy, less anxiety and stress.
My wife has helped me understand the importance of sleep. She has a routine that starts at 5:30am. When we first had the kids, it was her way of getting time to herself before they woke up, because when they did, things got crazy real quick! They still do! If you'd like to learn more about how a mom of 2 sets of twins does it you can visit twinmomtwice.com. My kids have also helped me understand the importance of sleep, in an indirect way. When you become a parent, life starts to move real fast, you feel like you're playing catch-up the first couple of years – if you've been through the infant stage you understand there is no fatigue like "infant at home" fatigue. However, once you get through that stage, it is critical that you don't allow yourself to get into a routine of binging on Netflix and sitting in front of a screen until 11 or midnight, hitting snooze 3 or 4 times and rushing out the door in the morning.
As a dad especially, when you get some time to yourself in the morning to have your coffee and consume the morning media of your choice, you're allowing yourself time to prepare for the awakening of your children, you'll be kinder to them, more patient with them and genuinely excited to see them. Hugging a happy dad first thing, makes their morning better too!
Some strategies I use to get more sleep:
• If there isn't an important game on, I don't turn the TV on
• Get in bed earlier to get to sleep earlier, even if you want to surf the web or social media (i'm a Pinterest guy) before bed, get under the covers at 8:30 and surf comfortably instead of sitting in front of the TV until 11pm on your phone.
• Start reading a book. I could still read more than I do, but I'm always reading something, I encourage you to rediscover the joys of relaxing in bed and reading. Truly enjoyable and good for the brain.
• Stay away from the afternoon coffee at work. Drinking more ice cold water and getting more activity, will help eliminate this craving.
• Take a shower after the kids are in bed. Getting clean and in some comfy cotton should help you feel more ready to lay it down at a reasonable time
• Use your iphone bedtime setting on the clock app. You tell your phone when you'd like to wake up and it will calculate when you need to go to bed and give you an alert.
• Challenge yourself to wake up earlier! Don't be the last one out of bed, sauntering down the stairs while the kids are eating breakfast. Set the example, get your activity done in the morning, get an early start on work, get caught up on sports or news. I started getting up at 6am to follow my wife's example. It gets me to bed earlier and gives me time to wake up and check my apps or blog or work before the kids get up. It makes my morning so much more enjoyable!
Before you can Shine & Crush, you have to Rise! Be a leader, set the example, get to bed earlier and get out of bed earlier to feel more energetic and get more done.
H: Healthy Food
How to write about healthy food. Hmmmmmm. One could all day with endless amounts of research, discussing healthy food, so I'll keep this simple. My boss likes to say it is better to work with clean water than to filter dirty water. Eating healthy food is giving your body clean fuel so that any exercise or activity leads to benefit instead of merely filtration.
1. One thing that will help you eat more healthy food is to meal plan each week and cook dinner at home. For families without a stay-at-home parent, this takes a lot of teamwork and planning. One realistic, cost-effective way to cook at home can be found on my wife's blog: twinmomtwice.com. In order to cook at home more often, which will lead to healthier eating, you must meal plan. Go shopping as a family once a week, take a list, get everything you need. We love going to the grocery store together, it helps the kids understand the value of money and planning and what it takes to get a meal from the shelf to their plates! This way everyone knows what needs to be cooked each night and all of the ingredients to make that pre-planned meal are in the house and ready to go. We are by no means perfect, we enjoy some desserts, we eat hamburgers and hot dogs in a pinch, and yes our kids love Happy Meals just like yours. What is important though, is that 9/10 nights we cook a whole food dinner and we sit down to eat together. Take your family time and family diet seriously, plan ahead, shop ahead, eat together. You will see benefits quickly.
We all know that eating together as a family has many benefits for the whole family. If you need to see actual research click here:
Simple strategies for eating healthier at home:
• Cook foods that require preparation (cutting, steaming, boiling)
• Substitute ground beef with ground turkey. Amazing for tacos, burgers, chili, nachos, spaghetti!
• Try replacing pastas with vegetables or brown rice or kamut. My wife does a lot of rice bowls, sweet potato bowls and zucchini noodle bowls for our family.
• Do slow cooker/instapot soups and chilis. So much good stuff can be disguised in soups and chilis, all with great flavor, the meat of your choice and with very little effort. Put the ingredients in, set the timer and enjoy!
• Salads, salads, salads! A full head of iceberg lettuce is .99, and with vegetables added and the meat of your choice, it feeds the whole family! We do steak salads, taco salads, bbq chicken salads at least once a week. The kids do well with crispy lettuce, fresh cucumbers, carrots and cherry tomatoes and a little Hidden Valley Ranch helps too.
2. Take a hard look at your lunch habits. I stopped eating big lunches in 2009 while teaching english in South Korea. They were charging me a daily fee for cafeteria lunch at the school and the dishes were very traditional, I could not get myself to eat much more than the white rice. I asked them to stop charging me the fee and I stopped eating lunch. I replaced the cafeteria meal with small snacks I would bring from home and I've never looked back. We all get hungry in the middle of the day, but there are much better, and more affordable solutions to going to a restaurant with your co-workers and gorging yourself. Be honest with yourself about whether or not you need to go out to eat everyday, think how much money and calories you could save by bringing a small snack and going for a walk, or exercising during lunch. Lunch is also a great way to finish leftovers! Don't let the money you spent on last night's dinner go to waste! There is no doubt you'll also feel more energetic and be more productive in the afternoon as well.
When it comes to my lunch time habits, I've learned that I'd much rather be hungry with energy in the afternoon than full and feeling tired. My go-to lunch is the last of the previous evening's leftovers, a few hand fulls of almonds or veggies straws and cheese or a bowl of oatmeal with nuts, raisins and peanut butter (I work for an oatmeal company). I'm also very fortunate to work close to my house so most days I head home and complete a Beachbody workout or jog the Crushlife Trail. When I used to have a gym membership, I worked out at lunch time.
Keep your lunch small, keep it simple and go DO SOMETHING instead sitting down, eating a ton of food and DOING NOTHING. You'll be healthier and feel better physically.
3. The power of smoothies. When I was in high school, my friend's dad was smoothie guy. He was also a very competitive racquet ball player, successful salesman and high energy mentor. We affectionately called him "Big Stevie," he is now in his 60's and can still keep up with any dude plans we put together while also cleaning all of us up on the golf course.
Now at 37, I see why Big Stevie always drank those smoothies. There is no better way to start the day, recharge after a workout, replace a meal or kill a dessert craving than to get out the Magic Bullet (link below, less than $40 for these machines now??!! Incredible!) and toss in some frozen fruit, yogurt and ice with some protein powder. Efficient, healthy, delicious, what's not to love??
When I make smoothies, I use Beachbody's Shakeology product for 3 reasons:
1. It is the best tasting protein powder I've tried
2. It combines protein supplementation with super food concentration and a multivitamin
3. It contains pro and pre-biotics that actually improve digestion as opposed to stopping you up like other protein powders
4. Physically, I feel better when I add it to my smoothies
SHAKEOLOGY SIMPLY IS THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER I'VE EVER USED.
My recipes are comprised of whatever we have in the house at the time. Favorite ingredients include: bananas, yogurt, ice, frozen fruit of any kind, milk, almond milk, peanut butter, flax/chia seeds, spinach, kale, arugula, coconut, oatmeal.
SIMPLE FORMULA: Drink more smoothies, consume more fruits and veggies, take in less calories, feel better.
When you don't feel energetic, healthy and happy or you notice your kids are out of whack, I encourage you to take my W.A.S.H. strategy into consideration. Water, Activity, Sleep and Healthy Food all contribute to better functioning, more energetic, consistently performing body and mind, the lack one can negatively affect your energy, performance and mood. All 4 combine to allow you and your family to be your best at home and at work or school.
Rise. Shine. Crush.....and W.A.S.H.