Big Changes Start Small
Making improvements to your health does not have to include life altering commitments that interfere with your daily activities. Taking baby steps toward improved health is the way to go for most people. Diving in head first and announcing to everyone that you are going to cut all carbs, workout 5 days per week and start meditating every day is a sure way to lose sight of your goals. We all have good intentions, but for most of us slow and steady produces life-long habits.
Simple changes that you can make look something like the following:
Wake up 10 minutes earlier to gently stretch before you get out of bed - it’s a great way to wake up and warm up your muscles before jumping in the shower.
Drink 8 oz of water upon awakening (with a a squeeze of lemon, if desired) - your body is always using water for metabolic processes even when you are sleeping. Drinking water first thing in the morning is a nice way to thank your body for all of its work!
Eat mindfully for at least one meal per day. Most of us run out the door with a coffee and a bagel, eat while we are driving, eat at our desks while on a conference call, etc. Make it a point to sit, breathe deep, chew and relax while you are eating. Digestion requires a “rest and digest” state and your body will thank you with better digestion if you eat mindfully
Put your fork down between bites. This forces you to chew more thoroughly. Carbohydrate digestion starts in your mouth so the more you chew (ideally 20-30 times!), the more work you are saving for the rest of your digestive system.
If you sit at a desk most of the day, take a break to do 20 body weight squats in your office. I am sure you have heard that sitting is the new smoking, so get up and take a minute to do those 20 squats!
Not all changes are about diet and exercise. Take the time to appreciate what is around you, whether it is the sky when you are walking your dog, the trees that line the highway you take to work, the birds chirping in your backyard. Don’t let life pass you by without appreciating something every day. Gratitude enhances your life and reminds you that there is still beauty in this world.
Say good morning to someone you don’t know. Connecting with those around you, even in this small way can enhance your life greatly by preventing you from being locked up in your own thoughts (which sometimes are a little too serious, am I right??)
Even if you choose just one of the above to include in your day, it will lead to other positive changes. Take the time to be kind to yourself, your body and mind will thank you!