10 Excitingly Small Steps To Improve Your Health
It goes without saying that most of us feel as though bettering our health and wellness is, and always will be, a tedious task.
When you consider just how many individuals wait until the New Year, and their promised “resolutions”, it seems as though the concept of living a healthier lifestyle itself is downright scary to most.
This is unfortunate to say the least.
While larger goals such as losing 30 pounds or quitting smoking are certainly beneficial, the truth is, smaller, more immediate goals (tasks) are the way to go when it comes to better health.
Even James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, think so, saying, “Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine. They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change."
We couldn’t agree with the good doctor more!
Trying to change everything, all at once, or focusing on the “grand goal”, is almost a surefire way to failure.
Instead, small steps or tasks will absolutely keep you more driven, more focused and help you achieve your goals faster than you probably thought possible.
Here are 10 easy tips to help you improve your overall health and well-being…
- Weigh in weekly! Whether you have any current weight loss, or weight gain goals at this moment or not. A simple Monday morning weigh-in will do one important thing. It will keep your weight front and center, all but ensuring that extra weight doesn’t just creep up over the months and years. In other words, seeing that number, tracking on your built-in Health App on your phone, once a week, every Monday will do wonders all by itself. Even if some of it ends up being a guilty motivation when the number begins to head in the wrong direction, who cares?
- Track your daily activity! Use an App or a SmartWatch, but do it. Obviously, a tool that will track your steps too would be awesome, but any tool that can track your daily activity (calories burned), is a useful tool. As an FYI…we LOVE the Apple Watch for this, and many other reasons.
- Try Intermittent Fasting! Before you go poo-pooing the idea of fasting, we will have you know that we are almost 5 years running on a 16:8 fasting protocol we feel, without a doubt, this is the best nutritional decision we have ever made. (We have written much about fasting already. We strongly suggest you do a little research.)
- Try meditation! Have no fear, we aren’t suggesting you sit in silence for hours on end. In fact, research shows, when done right, 3-10 minutes of meditation can have drastic impacts on the body, and the mind. Give the free version of apps like Calm and Headspace a try!
- Go green! Do your very best to have at least one green salad, or one serving of green veggies, every day. These options are filling and may help you eat less during the meal. Just remember to skip the globs of high-fat dressings.
- Downsize, don’t supersize. We hate to break the bad news, but the fast food industry has been killing us for the past 30 years. Increasing the size of unhealthy foods filled with saturated fats and/or sugars has played a major role in our increasing health epidemic and deaths. Whether you are eating out, eating in, or driving thru, force yourself to eat less than you are used to. It will make a big difference in a very short time.
- Drink more water! We think it really should go without saying at this point, proper hydration has tremendous health and wellness benefits. Surprisingly however, it can not only keep you from eating excess calories (drink a glass of water before each meal), but proper water intake has also been shown to boost the number of calories you burn as well. A dual-threat to unwanted fat if you will. Yes!
- Limit the sugary drinks! These things are absolutely the worst. They are not only easy to indulge in, without any feeling of satiety at all, they usually taste pretty good too. Unfortunately, the brain doesn’t measure calories from liquid sugar the same way it does for solid food, so we end up ingesting far more from the drinks than we would from something we had to actually chew on. Also, keep in mind that fruit juices can be just as bad as sodas, therefore they are not the way to get the nutrients you are looking for when you add them to your diet.
- Increase your fiber and probiotic intake! The bacteria in your gut, known as the gut microbiota, are extremely important for your overall health. Disruptions in gut bacteria have been linked to some of the most serious chronic diseases, including obesity. Some easy-to-implement ways to improve gut health include eating probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, taking probiotic supplements, and eating plenty of fiber.
- Go for walks! Notice we aren’t suggesting you need to dive into a full-blown fitness program here (although we will always be huge proponents of resistance training), the truth is, walking is an extremely simple way to not only burn some calories, but improve your overall heart health, as well as, provide a little peace to the normally noisy mind. Set a relatively simple goal to start such as 6000 steps and make your way to 10,000+ as quickly as you can.
Do yourself a favor, pick one or two of the above and set a goal to nail them for just one week. You can do anything for 7 days straight, if you have truly set your mind to it.
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Now, onward! You only have one life to live, one body to live it in...so take care of it. Progress, not perfection. Good, better, best with your food intake and some form of "movement" daily. Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water.
And, don’t forget, always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
Live a 3D Life...Decisions Determine Destinations!