If you’re like most people, you want to live a healthier life and you want to feel your best, but let’s face it; all the healthy “rules” can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming to start implementing better habits right away. Never underestimate the power of small, consistent changes over time. Nothing drastic ever works for very long. Make yourself a priority this Spring and feel better than ever as you implement these top four recommended healthy strategies:
PLAN AHEAD. Meal planning can make such a difference when you plan your meals in advance! With a plan, you can eat much healthier (with higher-quality foods) without feeling deprived. Days may be stressful, but with a little planning, you’ll actually feel less stressed, eat healthier and save calories and money! Did you know that the average family repeats the same twelve meal favorites? To start your plan, simply grab a blank calendar and begin filling in your favorite recipes. (Hint: you can repeat your plan every few weeks – your family will never know!) Look through your refrigerator and pantry for items on hand and make a grocery list for things you need. Also consider making a large meal and use the “planned-overs” the next day.
FIND WHAT MOVES YOU. I am often asked which exercise is best. My reply? The one that you enjoy! After all, you won’t maintain a movement regimen for something you hate to do. It just won’t happen. So as long as you are active, do what makes you smile. Can you challenge yourself to move a little more each day? Walk, bike, swim, hike, run, dance, horseback riding. The key is to start with something and COMMIT to it. It doesn’t have to be difficult, overwhelming or punishing – just start moving! Many of my clients find it helpful to invest in a FitBit or another activity monitor to stay motivated. I do too!
THINK ‘QUALITY’ OVER ‘QUANTITY’. This is perhaps the single, most important tip for making better changes. When you are choosing foods, choose the best quality items. Focus on real food as much as possible. Look for items found in nature – unprocessed or minimally processed foods that either came from a plant or animal such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, meat, eggs, chicken and seafood. Real foods will nourish you and provide more sustained energy as well as help control your appetite. Of course, there should always be room in your diet for a responsible indulgence. So aim for 80% healthy, real foods and 20% indulgences and you could see satisfying results soon.
FUEL YOUR BODY. Our body needs fuel in the form of food to function, so when its feeling deprived it screams out for what it needs – food! Willpower is no match. Skipping meals sets you up for failure and feelings of guilt. So remember to eat real food, on a regular schedule to give your body the type of fuel it needs. Your body will thank you with clearer thoughts, increased energy, a controlled appetite, and more.
Are you ready for a challenge? I am hosting my Spring 30-Day Online Jump Start Program beginning May 1st. During this inspiring challenge, I will expand on the strategies summarized above and offer tips, recipes, motivation and encouragement toward healthier living. Enjoy my support along with others in the Challenge on our private Facebook page. Learn more at my website: www.sarawolfsen.com or e-mail me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes, and gentle weight-loss guidance and support. Schedule your complimentary coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.