I tweeted this a couple of years ago:
There is no magic bullet or pill or shot that will make you healthy. It is about making small and lasting changes to your lifestyle.
I still 100% believe this. I see and hear so many people who are trying quick fix plans for fitness or weight loss. Shots, weird supplements, prescription medications, severely restricted calorie intake, etc. It makes me both sad and frightened. Sad because while quick fix plans may work in the short-term, when you return to your “normal” life, your normal behaviors will return. Sad because often exercise/activity is not even mentioned in these plans. Frightened about what people are doing to their bodies. Frightened for what they might be putting into their bodies.
Ever see some dramatic before and after photos and think that plan or supplement is for you? I strongly recommend you read Roni’s post about what happened to her.
For some, the thought of starting their path to health and fitness can become overwhelming. That’s why it is about making SMALL changes. Think of the small things you can do that will add up to big results in the long-term. Here are a few of my suggestions:
Small Changes For a Healthy Lifestyle
Start moving. If you have been a couch potato for years, you will not want to start off with a 5K. Try walking 10 minutes a day for 3-4 days per week. When that becomes comfortable, add 5-10 minutes and an additional day. It doesn’t have to be walking. There are so many different types of movement – find what works best for you. Find what you LOVE.
Replace your sodas with water. Even if you start with replacing just ONE soda at a time, you are making progress. Do I still drink sodas? Yes. But so much less than I used to and I make sure to get my water in every day. Lots of water. Learn to make your water interesting by adding crushed ice, fruit, or infusing the water.
Take the stairs. If you are always taking the escalator or elevator, start taking the stairs. Even adding a flight a day is helpful. Again, baby steps. If you work in a thirty floor building, walking down a few, then catch the elevator. Or walk up a few and do the same.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Getting enough sleep is just as important as what you eat and moving your body. Our bodies need 7-8 hours. Adjust your schedule as necessary. Maybe start by adding an additional half hour. A fitness tracker that tracks sleep can be a fabulous tool.
Pack your lunch. If you always go out to eat at lunch, try packing a healthy lunch one day a week. Packed lunches are typically healthier than eating out and also cheaper. Once that becomes a habit, add a packed lunch for a second day during the week.
Just choose two. If you are like me, you love to eat out. However, you do not need to order a cocktail, an appetizer, an entrée, AND a dessert at every meal. Pick two. Try to make one of them a healthier choice. Although, if you want all of them in one meal – go for it! Continually depriving yourself of your favorites foods or being on a restricted diet can backfire big time on you.
Eat the rainbow. Fruits and veggies missing from your diet? Try adding a fruit and/or veggie to each day. Make it a game to try as many new to you fruits and veggies as you can. Some you will probably like, some you won’t.
Shop til you drop. Walk to whatever errands you can. If walking is not possible, park as far away from the store as possible. Then once in the store, take a couple extra laps around before leaving. Trust me, I can get some steps in on my trips to Target.
Eat sitting down. Do you often eat standing up or in a car? Make it a point to eat sitting down where you are mindful about what you are eating and how much. Eat slowly, chew every bite, and savor what you are eating.
Feed the hunger. Are you hungry? Eat. Don’t eat by the clock or someone else’s schedule. Listen to your body. Don’t let yourself get too hungry – that’s when you will typically overeat or make choices you might regret later.
Reduce Your Stress. Learn to manage or reduce your stress. This can be done through yoga, meditation, or journaling. Planning your week can also help reduce stress. Week too full? Say no to something or move it to another week. Give yourself plenty of time for exercise and downtime.
Get Outdoors. Spend some time each day outside enjoying the fresh air. This can be as little as ten minutes a day while enjoying your coffee or water. It could be a nature walk with your family after dinner.
Pick 1 to 3 things to focus on each week. DO NOT try to tackle everything at once. Getting to YOUR healthy and fit place is a big journey. It starts with small steps.
What small change do you need to implement in your life? What small change(s) would you recommend to those just getting started on their healthy lifestyle?
Ready to start on your path to fit? I can help you. Find out how you can work with me HERE.