Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as losing weight, stopping smoking or joining the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health and wellness.
“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”
Here are 10 to try:
- Stop gaining weight. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly. Avoid those foods, drinks and stressors that pack on the pounds.
- Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
- Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. Do not starve yourself to cut down on calories. Have a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast.
- Switch three-grain servings each day to whole grain. If you’re like the average person, you may well eat less than one whole grain serving a day.
- Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
- Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a non-stick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.
- Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
- Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.
- Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.
If you’re vegan, swap out the dairy and cheese for plant-based milk and be mindful to eat as much wholefoods as possible and avoid lots of processed foods that can be high in sugars and salts. Eat good fats such as peanut butter and avocado.
Improving your health doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be as simple as making a few small changes each day. By following these ten tips, you can take the first steps on the road to better health. And if you need help getting started, I’m here to support you every step of the way. Schedule your complimentary call and let me help you create a plan that fits your unique needs and goals.
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