GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA) – When it comes to leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many of us want to do it but don’t know where to start.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, we spoke with a nurse practitioner about the five small changes you can make that will have big health payoffs.

Often, the biggest hurdle to living a healthier life is simply taking the first step.

Lina Lopez, a nurse practitioner, breaks down what seems overwhelming into five small, easy-to-take steps starting with what’s in your drinking glass.

“Number one, drinking water. We all need to drink more water. A good rule of thumb, take your body weight, divided it by two, and take that number and ounces. That’s how much you should be drinking per day,” said Lopez.

Then get moving…

“We all need to move our bodies more. We should be doing some form of exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five to six times per week,” said Lopez/

Make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

“We go, go, and go all day. We need to make sure that we are resting up the night before, so we can do it all over again the next day,” said Lopez.

Find a safe and effective way to reduce stress.

And number 5, a big one, eat healthy meals.

Lopez recommends using the “Plate Method”.

“You’re going to take a nine-inch plate, cut that in half. One-half of that is going to be good nonstarchy vegetables. Then, cut the other half in half. The top part is going to be your good lean proteins. Bottom part is going to be one carbohydrate per meal. So, if we stick to that, I mean for every meal, that is a good way to make sure that we’re eating what we’re supposed to follow daily.”

Lina Lopez, Nurse Practitioner, Bon Secours St. Francis

Lopez says another very important, practical step you can take to live a healthier life is dedicating time to self-care. Do something good for yourself every day and give yourself grace.

To submit a health topic for our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, click here.