Overhauling your diet and fitness routines can certainly have a huge impact on your health. But making sweeping changes can also be a shock to the system, making them hard to keep up.I tried so many crazy diets over the years, all of which meant making huge changes that left me feeling so overwhelmed. If you change too much at once, you are more likely to give up. So, instead, try making one change at a time and you are more likely to stay on track.
Below I suggest 7 small changes you can make that will ultimately lead to improved health and weight loss (if you have weight to lose). If you are overwhelmed by a health goal, take a look at the list and pick 1 to work on. When this behavior becomes effortless, (i.e. you’ve been 100% compliant for 2 weeks or more) pick another one to tackle. These habits are the foundation for long term weight loss and health. If you take this approach you will have made all these changes permanent by May and will be much more likely to maintain your results than if you had gone on a diet.
Start with the easiest task first. Get a “win” under your belt before moving on to the next. The progress will be slow, but it will be consistent. If you haven’t mastered the easiest item on this list- it’s not time to move onto the next. Master the basics first. Don’t take 1 step forward to take 2 steps back. Take change one step at a time and you will win in the long run.
- Look up food before you put it in your mouth.
- Take a Multivitamin & 2 Fish Oil capsules daily (unless otherwise prescribed by your doctor). In his book Ultrametabolism, Dr. Mark Hyman explains that over 90% of Americans have at least 1 nutrient deficiency. There are many reasons for this, but it is pretty safe to assume you are part of the 90%. Cover your nutritional bases by taking a multivitamin and fish oil EVERYDAY without fail.
- Read the ingredients on all the food you buy:
In the beginning, this might take a little while to check everything that you buy. But as time goes on and you start eating less processed food, you won’t have so many things to check. Just take a quick look at the ingredients list to see what is in the food you are eating. As I general rule, I avoid anything that has a really long list and anything artificial in it like sweeteners. If you have a bit of extra time, try Googling some of the ingredients to see what they are. Some of them might surprise/scare you.
- If I’m going to have a snack, the correct portion goes in a bowl or on a plate, and the rest gets put back wherever it goes. Much better than mindlessly eating straight from the container.
- Drink only water, and at least 8 tall glasses per day. We lose 2 liters of water everyday through normal processes like excretion, respiration, and perspiration. Caffeinated beverages will dehydrate our bodies even further. Dehydration slows your metabolism and depletes your energy, so drink up!
- Be greatful:-
This is one for your mental health, but that can have a big impact on your physical health too. If you spend all day thinking about everything that you don’t have or everything you are not, then that is going to make for a pretty stressful life. You will also miss out on appreciating all the amazing things you do have in your life. So, each night before you go to bed, think about one thing that you are grateful for. If might be nice to write them down and keep them in a jar to look at at the end of the year, or when you are having a bad day.
- Cut out sugar and start walking. Lose weight and you no longer have to take medicine for diabetes.
- Sleep at least 7 hours per night, every night. Sleep is essential for our bodies to repair and directly impacts our energy, hormones and metabolism.
- Dont skip meals:-
Whilst you might think that skipping a meal means you are eating less and therefore being healthier, it doesn’t work out like that. Eating regular meals keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which means you are less likely to have a sugar crash and then make an unhealthy choice. Eating regular meals also means you are eating enough, which IS important to health and weight loss.
- Making fruits, greens, veggies, seeds and nuts a major part of my diet by using my blender one to two times per day.
- Eat breakfast. This will stimulate your metabolism and decreases the likelihood of a food binge later in the day. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
- Fit in a small workout:-
Most people skip workouts because they think they just don’t have the time. Whilst a lot of people have more time than they think (it comes down to making priorities and cutting back on things that are not as important), I also appreciate that a lot of people don’t have time to do an hours workout 5 days a week. You don’t have to! Doing a 10 minute workout can also make a difference and it is better than no workout at all. Make the most out of the time and do something high intensity if you can. If you can’t do a full 10 minutes, just fit in some squats, push-ups and jumping jacks throughout your day.
- Taking the stairs up to my work office instead of using the lift. Four flights, four times a day!
- Eat vegetables 3 times per day. Vegetables fill us up and provide our bodies with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for our health.
- Get a pedometer:-
This was actually one of the first things I did when I started exercising. Walking was the only thing I was able to do, which is fine for a beginner, as it is a really good workout. I tracked my steps every day and aimed to do 10,000 a day. It became a little competition with myself. I wanted to reach that goal, even beat it, every day, so I would do things like take the stairs instead of the lift or get off the bus a stop or two early, just to get my steps in. I swear that made the biggest difference in the beginning.