Are you ready to get healthier but aren't sure where to begin? You don't have to start doing multiple workouts a day or go on a crash diet. In fact, you really shouldn't do either. Doing too much too soon is a recipe for injury and crash diets don't produce sustainable results. Whether you are looking to lose weight, change some health concerns like high blood pressure or diabetes, want to feel better, or all of these, you should start small. Getting, and staying, healthy is a lifelong thing. If you go on a diet for 30 days, severely restricting your calories, you will probably lose weight but what happens when you go back to your regular way of eating? You go back to the way you were when you were eating that way before! I've met with many people who lost weight with diet and exercise but as soon as they met their goal weight they stopped exercising and went back to their old eating habits. Guess what happened? They gained it all back. Making small changes to start, and progressing slowly, will help to create habits for the long term.
Here are a few small ways to start living healthier.
1. Start with reducing or swapping out one or two bad nutritional choices. For example, drink water instead of a sugary drink (pop, sweet tea, juice, etc.). If you can't bear to give up your drink of choice completely, start with reducing your intake. If you currently drink 4 pops a day, start drinking 2 pops and 2 bottles of water. It doesn't have to be complete cold turkey, unless that is what works best for you.
2. Start exercising by simply moving more throughout the day. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up every hour. Take a walk. Choose a time that is convenient for you to get out and walk (like after dinner, your lunch break or right when you wake up). Enlist a friend or partner to walk with you. Start with just 15 minutes a day and work up from there.
3. Eat real food. Cutting out all processed foods completely probably seems overwhelming to many people who are used to eating fast food and cooking/eating from packages. Start small here too by slowly adding in more meals and snacks with real ingredients. For example, eat an apple and peanut butter for a snack instead of chips. Start with one or two healthier meals each week and continue to work more in. Research nutrition and healthier recipes. It doesn't have to be complicated or hard but it might take a little time at first to learn what you like and what works best for your lifestyle.
Eating better and exercising more are key to living a healthier life. You don't have to take an all or nothing approach to wellness. Start with small changes, keep adding in more healthier habits as you go and you will start to see big benefits.