04/15/2015 08:04 EDT | Updated 06/15/2015 05:59 EDT

Want to Be Healthy? Take the "Captain Obvious" Approach

Les and Dave Jacobs via Getty Images

You don't have to spend tonnes of money on cleansing programs, protein powders or the latest miracle food to achieve your health and wellness goals. I am not saying don't eat goji berries (or this month's equivalent miracle food). I am just saying that you don't need to spend oodles of money or follow a restrictive "diet," you just need to get back to basics.

Adopt what I call the "captain obvious" nutrition and wellness plan! Meaning, use common sense and don't assume that just because you have heard the advice a million times that you are actually following it. The most obvious and boring solutions are usually the best, yet often they are the ones we ignore.

"Captain obvious" health solutions:

1. A. Be mindful!

Don't eat in front of the TV, while you are working or while you walk. Take the time to be mindful of what you are putting into your body, how much you are eating and WHY you are eating.

1. B. Chew your food

Part of being mindful is taking the time to really chew your food. Paul Chek is a health expert whom I respect. He taught me the phrase you need to "drink your food and eat your water". As in, chew your food until it is liquefied and don't gulp your water. Sip slowly and swoosh the water around your mouth before swallowing. Chewing your food and sipping your water will help improve your digestion and help you feel more satisfied.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink a glass of water and lemon as soon as you wake up in the morning. Keep a bottle of water at your desk. Drink one bottle before lunch and another bottle during the afternoon.

If you get peckish after dinner have a glass of water and wait 30 minutes before you let yourself munch in front of the TV. Tell yourself that if after 30 minutes you are hungry (versus tired, thirsty, bored, depressed etc), and you still want a snack, you can have something small.

3. Listen to your body!

This is a big one! Don't just eat for the sake of eating. You don't have to finish everything on your plate. Stop eating when you are satisfied. Don't wait until you are stuffed to push away your plate. If you have had enough, stop. Period, no exceptions.

4. A. Don't eat the product if you can't pronounce the ingredients.

Aim to eat nutritionally dense fresh, unprocessed foods. When possible, cook at home so that you know exactly what is going into your food.

4 B. Avoid processed foods!

Processed foods usually have limited nutritional value and contain tones of sugar, artificial sweaters and additives. Carry around a few unsalted nuts and an apple so you never "have to" grab a candy bar.

Word of caution, watch out for what I call "unhealthy healthy foods." These foods have been marketed as healthy, so they seem like an optimal option, but if you look at the ingredients you will realize they aren't actually good for you. Examples: sugar-filled yogurts, granola bars, granola, and salted fruit and nut snack mixes

5. Don't keep crap in the house.

Sure, at the grocery store you can tell yourself that you will be disciplined, but you won't always have the same resolve. Don't tempt yourself. If you want a treat go out and have a small portion at a restaurant or at a friend's house.

6. Most importantly, remember that your health quest is something you are doing for YOU!

The goal of adopting a healthier lifestyle is to feel better. You are a grown-up deciding to be good to yourself. Try to revel in how wonderful it is that you can eat healthy foods and exercise. Eating fresh berries is a present to yourself, not a punishment. Deciding to eat processed crap full of preservatives is not a "prize."

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is about self care! Care enough about yourself to put healthy food into your body.

If you always put others first, remember that you deserve the same care that they do. Try to give yourself the same attention and time you give to others. Use the skills currently reserved for your friends and family and devote them to your health!

The main take-away is that you don't need to spend money and energy investing in every new miracle cleanse and/or diet. Sure, drinking more water and being mindful of your portions might not seem flashy or innovative, but "captain obvious" suggestions are the cornerstones of long-term health.


Awesome Recipes That Happen To Be Healthy