As the wellness editor for The Everygirl, I’m constantly on the hunt for the very best health tips to bring you, my dear readers, to help you live your best, healthiest, and happiest lives. As soon as I heard about Dr. Taz Bhatia and her mission to empower one million women to restore their health and well-being (we stan an ambitious woman!), I knew I had to ask her for all her best advice. Dr. Bhatia, MD, is board certified in integrative medicine, a certified nutrition specialist, and a bestselling author. She’s made medical expert appearances on The Today Show and Good Morning America and calls herself “a champion of super women worldwide.” In other words? She’s a royal badass.
“I think we all have unique gifts and powers, but stress, circumstances, and responsibilities can erode our ability to see or feel them,” she said. “When we are in our highest health, we attract abundance and uncover our superpowers.” I love Dr. Bhatia because she preaches that there’s a purpose to caring about your health beyond weight loss or because we’re supposed to. Being our healthiest gives us access to our best lives and truest selves. Read on for seven things you can change about your health right now and uncover your superpowers.
1. Be in control, know your body, and educate yourself
PSA: You are the #1 person in charge of your own health. Even with a team of doctors and experts (more on that below!), you should be the biggest advocate for your own health, trust your instincts, and fight for what you know your body needs. Dr. Bhatia wants every woman to know that she is in control of her health and that her well-being can be determined by how she treats and knows her body. “Health is in your control,” she said. “It’s important to understand hormone levels, nutritional status, and long-term health risks.” In other words, don’t just rely on your doctor to keep an eye out for what’s going on in your body. Educate yourself on the body’s basic functions and keep track of how certain foods make you feel. Most importantly? Trust your body. Your body knows what it needs, so if it’s communicating to you (whether it’s through symptoms, cravings, or emotions), listen.
2. Stop trying to “catch up” on sleep
If you’re sleeping five hours a night on weekdays with the plans of sleeping in until noon on Saturday, it’s not evening out like you hope. “There is no such thing as catching up on sleep,” Dr. Bhatia said. “Instead, get into bed at a consistent time every night (ideally before 11 p.m.) and sleep until 6 to 7 a.m., which helps the hormone axis and keeps hormone levels balanced.” Yes, getting enough Zzz’s is crucial for your health, but you should be getting enough sleep every night instead of aiming for a certain number of hours per week thinking you can “catch up” from shorter nights. Instead of sleeping in on weekends and sleeping less during the weekdays, aim for a consistent bedtime, sleep for a solid seven to nine hours, and wake up around the same time every morning for optimal health.
3. Rely on whole foods
We’re all trying to improve our diets and eat healthier, but it’s not always easy (or else we’d all be eating salads for every meal and never be tempted by a Krispy Kreme donut), so I asked Dr. Bhatia for her #1 tip when it comes to healthy eating: What’s most important for our health and what changes will give us the biggest bang for our buck? Dr. Bhatia said that lowering sugar and processed foods is the first step. But it doesn’t have to be as restrictive or as difficult as cutting out all the foods we love (which can actually lead to bingeing and an unhealthy relationship with food!). Instead, the key is focusing on eating more whole foods, which will subconsciously crowd out processed foods and give your body more of the nutrients it needs. “Learning to rely on whole foods rather than foods in a box or a package can be a health game-changer,” she said. Build meals around fruits, vegetables, clean proteins, and whole grains.
4. Vary your exercise
So you’re a consistent runner or you love your daily barre class? Good for you for moving your body and prioritizing exercise, but if you’re looking to kick your health game up a notch, consider switching up your exercise routine. “Using different muscles and challenging your body is important,” Dr. Bhatia advised. “Sometimes, we focus just on cardio or muscle strength, but we have to take it all into consideration for balance.” If you’re a marathon runner and love a daily jog, consider taking a day off and adding some weight training into your routine. If you’re a gym rat who spends all your time in the weight room, consider throwing in some treadmill action from time to time. Working toward a goal and doing one type of workout is great, but we need a variety of exercise to stay challenged, work our muscles, and be our healthiest.
5. Get your supplement routine right
One of the most asked questions I get as both a wellness editor and a holistic health coach is, “What supplements should I be taking?” There’s no doubt that the supplement world is confusing AF: Between probiotics, collagen, vitamins, and countless brands with pretty packaging, it seems like a new brand or supplement comes out every day that many of us feel like we need to achieve optimal health. Do we need shelves full of supplements and a budget for the latest trends? The answer: no. To simplify, Dr. Bhatia universally recommended most women could benefit from taking a methylated B vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and magnesium, as these each help women’s health pathways, but since supplement needs vary based on body, diet, and health history, it’s important to come up with a personalized plan with your doctor.
6. Build a medical team that works with you
Especially as women, many symptoms or issues go undiagnosed and untreated because of the fear that we’re being “dramatic” or because of a doctor who doesn’t take the time to listen. Dr. Bhatia stressed the importance of trying new doctors, nutritionists, specialists, and gynecologists until you form the care team that feels best for you. “If you’re struggling to diagnosis or identify symptoms, don’t give up,” she said. “It’s not in your head!” You deserve a care team that makes your well-being and feelings their #1 priority, so search around until you find a doctor who gets you, listens to you, and trusts your opinion. Finding a doctor really is like dating to find “The One!” Oh, and IDK who needs to hear this, but no, it’s not just in your head. Yes, you do know what’s best for your body, and you can find a treatment, plan, or fix to anything that doesn’t feel right.
7. Craft a life and routine you feel good about
“Restoring your health means crafting a life and routine where your energy flows and your mood is consistent,” Dr. Bhatia said. After all, your physical health is integrally related to your happiness. If you have a job that’s unfulfilling, are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, or live in a city you’re dying to get out of, it’ll show in your physical health. Know that self-confidence is just as important for your well-being as a nutritious diet and eight hours of sleep, and happiness is a key factor for optimal health. “Health starts with you,” she advised. “How you feel about yourself is the vibration or rhythm of your life, so make choices from a place of abundance instead of lack or fear, and then just go for it!” Now that’s the kind of doctor advice I can get behind.