I think everyone is always looking for the easiest way to do things, and being healthier is no different. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to look for an easy way to do something, as it’s often effective and efficient. Here are a few pointers that you can probably figure out on your own, but if you had, you’d already be doing them, and if you are, keep it up.

-Stop smoking. That includes vaping and smoking weed. Your lungs are meant to inhale oxygen, and no matter how many ailments and diseases you think that weed is an absolute cure for, you’re not ever going to convince this RN that inhaling smoke of any type is healthy.

-Stop drinking soda. Soda is loaded with sugar and is the highest sugar intake item in the regular diet of many Americans. The first thing that many physicians will tell you when you ask “how do I lose a few pounds?” is going to be “cut the soda out.” That includes diet soda. If you’re looking to get healthy and you mean it, diet soda isn’t part of that either.

-No more fast food. This one should be as obvious as the last point. Fast food is way too high in sugar and sodium and is almost always fried. Avoid it, you don’t need it.

-Take a multivitamin. A lot of people don’t consider this but it really can be beneficial. Vitamins are cheap and easy to make and so you’re not going to be paying much for them, and they’re not being infused with unhealthy substances to get you addicted to them like fast food and soda are with sugars and caffeine.

-Avoid food and drink vices. You know those people who make jokes (but you know they’re being serious) about not being able to function without their morning coffee, or those people who “never” smoke UNLESS they’re having a couple of drinks? Don’t become one of them. Coffee is not a terrible thing to have but don’t become dependent on it. Don’t become one of those people who just HAVE to have a night out of heavy drinking every Friday to blow off steam. If you have to do something unhealthy just to unwind on a regular basis, then you need to make some life changes.

-Don’t drink regularly, or heavily. Studies are showing that occasional light alcohol use isn’t unhealthy, and of course some even say that a little red wine now and then is beneficial. But if you’re going through a case of beer per week, it’s too much to be healthy. If you’re polishing off a fifth of whiskey every four or five days, it’s too much to be healthy. If you’re getting off work and having a half a bottle of wine before bed, yeah, it’s too much to be healthy.

-Drink water. I know they say eight glasses a day is what you need, but who knows how much a “glass” is supposed to be? Try drinking between 1.5 and 2 liters of water per day. Better yet, REPLACE something unhealthy that you’re drinking with water instead. Your kidneys will be healthier for it.

-Eat at home. If you can replace restaurant meals outside of the home with meals planned out and shopped for at the grocery store and prepared and cooked at home, you’ll likely see some weight loss and increased energy. I’m not talking about package and processed meals. I mean meals that require cooking. You know, like actual RECIPES. You don’t have to be a chef and eat farm fresh every meal. Just don’t eat out all the time and don’t always settle for those overly-processed foods.

-Spend a little more time outside. However much time you spend outside, try to take a little more of your inside downtime and make it OUTSIDE downtime. Even if all you’re doing is sitting in your backyard or on your porch or balcony. Open the windows in your house, if it’s feasible.

-Start going on walks. A mile or two is really nothing as long as you’re not already injured or disabled. If you already go for walks, grab a light pack and make it a ruck. If you’re already rucking, then good for you. Grab a long gun to carry along if the laws and the local environment permits it, and if not, carry a 2×4 or something to simulate it.

-Start your day and/or end your evening with a set of crunches and a set of push-ups. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a hundred of each, but a small set, increasing a little over time will benefit you. Squats are easy to add to that routine. Stretching in the morning wakes you up and helps to prevent injury through the day’s activities.

See that? Simple stuff. Now get it done. If you do all or most of this, you’re likely to see positive results in just a couple of weeks.

Side note: Please do not let your kids drink soda, sweet tea or juices that are high in sugar. The pancreas of a young child is not mature enough to be repeatedly dumping insulin for large doses of sugar. Let them drink water so that when they become adults, their pancreas gets a head start and hasn’t been forced to compensate for a steady stream of added sugar when it’s not yet

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