Small Changes To Boost Your Health And Wellbeing
The first step to making changes is to be clear on your goals. What do you want to achieve? Be as specific as possible. ‘I don’t want to be overweight’ isn’t going to be helpful when you get started. It’s not specific enough and it’s not measurable. Also, using a negative for your goal will make it more likely to fail. The reason for this is that you’re focusing on the negative. Turn it around by focusing on the positive instead. So, your goal could be, ‘I want to lose eight pounds by Easter’, etc.
As well as being specific and measurable, goals also need to be realistic. There’s nothing wrong with a challenge and pushing yourself; but setting objectives that are likely to fail, means they probably will. So work out whether your goal is achievable.
If your goal is to be fitter or healthier, again be specific. What aspect of your health do you want to improve? Do you want to boost your immune system to reduce the number of colds you get? Do you want to feel more alert and less tired?
Once you have laid down your objectives, you decide how you’re going to achieve them. This is where your detailed planning comes in, this could be outlining meal plans, setting up exercise rosters, etc. Rather than revamping and rescheduling your whole life, start with the small things.
There are many changes you can make to your diet. Make a list of all the healthy choices you make. Now make a list of areas where improvements are needed. Again, don’t just jump to a full diet plan, build up slowly.
Few of us drink enough fluids each day. We’re so used to being dehydrated that we don’t even notice anymore. So a good start would be to introduce more fluids into your diet. Rather than introducing eight glasses of water a day, add a couple. Or, you could decide to swap one coffee a day with one glass of water. Once you are used to this, build from there.
It also makes sense to look at unhealthy habits that could be accumulating over time. For example, grabbing a cappuccino on the way to work each morning. Or, eating a candy bar as an afternoon snack. For the coffee, you could reduce this to one or two a week and replace with a low sugar version. And if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, look for healthier options.
One area that many of us could improve on is our intake of sugar. But again, it’s very difficult to suddenly cut a whole food group from your diet. And sugar appears in almost everything! Begin by cutting down and then go from there. Here are several simple ways to cut down on your sugar intake:
- Replace sugar in coffee and tea with healthy artificial sweeteners
- Swap sugary drinks with low sugar alternatives
- Read the ingredients on packaging when you do your grocery shop
- Replace sugary cereals with whole grain alternatives
- Switch to a protein-based breakfast
- Make your own healthy smoothies instead of buying processed versions
- Cut out takeout and ready meals and opt for home-cooked meals
- Make your own healthy ready meals by freezing meals
- Replace yogurt with low-sugar or plain versions
- Limit fruit juices as they contain large amounts of sugar
- Don’t buy biscuits or sugary treats, replace them with healthy alternatives
- Keep veggie sticks in the fridge to snack on if you’re peckish
- Buys smaller plates and reduce your portion sizes
Sites like http://blog.paleohacks.com/12-ways-cut-sugar-diet/# have more info on cutting down on sugar. When making changes to your diet, why not start with a boost? Flush toxins from your body with a simple tonic. Find instructions on sites like http://www.thealternativedaily.com/2-ingredient-tonic-will-flush-pounds-of-waste-from-colon/.
Embarking on a new exercise regime also has its pitfalls. That’s why so many people have gym memberships that they never use. Instead, try increasing your activity in increments. If you’re in a bit of a slump and hardly exercise at all, don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone. It can feel daunting in the early stages. But even small amounts of exercise will be of benefit.
If you have an office job, you’re likely to sit for the majority of the day. This is not good for your health. Set a timer at twenty-minute intervals to remind you to stand up. Even a minute spent walking around or stretching will have a positive impact. Take regular breaks and walk around. Try to leave the office and get some fresh air at lunchtime.
If you have a busy lifestyle, it can be hard to fit in exercise. But it’s surprising how much you can achieve with the minimum of effort. If you take the bus or train to work, get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. Leave the car when you’re going on short journeys. Walk instead. You may even save some time if the traffic is bad or parking is scarce.
If you don’t feel confident taking a class, start by exercising at home. Find something you enjoy and look for online tips. For example, beginner yoga or Pilates. Even if you started with ten minutes each weekday, that’s almost an hour each week.
It’s never too late to make a change. We only have one life, and we should make it as happy and healthy as possible. You don’t need to feel like a failure because your health plans fail. You’re probably taking on too much. Try making small changes instead and build from there. Even the tiniest changes can have a big, positive impact on your life. And, if you start small now during the holidays, you won’t feel so overwhelmed come the new year. A healthy lifestyle is a habit and a way of living as opposed to a crash diet or binge workout once or twice a year.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!