A Lifetime Change
Over the years of writing this column, I have frequently stated that long-lasting change with your health and wellness starts with changing your lifestyle behaviors.
You do not choose your genetic make-up and some health factors happen due to environmental aspects that you may not have control over. The one thing you can control and choose to change is your lifestyle.
Let me offer up a few key aspects that can help you change your lifestyle that could forever change your health and wellness footprint.
Resetting your health and wellness starts with an overall lifestyle reset - everything from how much you sleep you to what you eat, cutting back on addictive behaviors, how often you are active and exercise are all part of the equation. The one sure-fire way to fail right out of the gate is to try and change everything all at once. It took years for most of you to develop the habits, gain weight and generally become less healthy.
Here are a few key aspects to start your lifestyle reset and change to a healthy life. It all starts with 10 basic concepts:
1. Time. Start slow, be committed with goals based on 30 days, then 60 days, then 90 days following through for a full 12 months. Remember, health and wellness is a process of continuous improvement. It is ongoing to take time, think years, not weeks. You're playing the long game here, so stick to the plan.
2. Change your attitude to one that views each day as a gift, not a challenge. A simple shift in seeing each day as an adventure and finding small bits of joy and happiness can be one of the biggest assets to your health and fitness success.
3. Slow down and get enough sleep. Almost all of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Few of us hit the minimum amount on a daily basis. Getting adequate sleep will help your body reset and help you reach a healthier state much faster.
4. Become hyper aware of what you eat. Many processed foods are designed to drive the urge to eat. Discover what foods best suit your body and your body chemistry. Everyone is different in what they should eat and how they react to what they eat. Keep your food fresh with a high percentage of raw uncooked foods and reduce sugar intake.
5. Start with small changes to your diet. Slowly reduce your portion sizes and drink more water instead of other beverages. Find whole fresh foods that give you energy and be active after meals. It is very important to gradually shift how much and what you eat. Be aware of the changes and it is wise to even keep a log of how many calories are in what you are eating and track the changes.
6. If your lifestyle is sedentary in nature, ease into your workouts. Do too much too soon and you will get injured, become discouraged or just burn out quickly. Develop activeness into a habit and then increase your level of exercise and activity.
7. Walk and then walk more, movement is critical to good health. If you can't walk often, then stand or use a standing desk at work. Most people sit too much and over time, this is slowly taking years off of your life and damaging your overall health.
8. You must set realistic goals, both short-term and long-term. Make them easy ones to get started, then push yourself harder as you see results. Goal-setting is huge, and without it, you will not get where you want to be.
9. Track your progress. This does not mean weigh yourself every day. Tracking your progress means following what you eat daily, know your daily caloric intake average. Check your resting heart rate when you first get out of bed, then check a few times a day. Use a fitness tracker to know your step count and heart rate during various times of the day. Only weigh yourself once or twice a month. Instead, pay attention to the inches around the waist or legs. Clothes tell a story, so pay attention.
10. Get an annual checkup from your doctor and define a starting point with good metrics. Be sure you're healthy enough to start a lifestyle reset and increased activity along with changes in your diet.
A lifestyle reset should be simple and easy to start with goals that are easy to reach in short increments. Do not just make it about weight loss. Make it about a permanent shift to a well-rounded overall health and wellness lifestyle.
There is nothing easy about resetting your lifestyle and each day will have many challenges. Stay positive, relax, enjoy the journey to a healthier you. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and celebrate your successes.
Keep in mind you will only start to see real changes over time. Six months to three years before these changes will start to noticeably stick. The longer you go, the easier these changes will remain and the sliding back and forth with weight gain, sleep issues, and digestive challenges will become few and far between. Stay focused on the journey, not the destination because you will never be done traveling the health and wellness path!
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A recognized health and wellness presenter, fitness trainer and now primal health coach in the Inland Northwest. Now in his eighth year of bringing health and wellness through his writing, teaching and coaching, Judd delivers his well-rounded message of mindfulness, nutrition and fitness to readers and clients alike.