Perhaps you're not ready for that "big commitment" or to "make the connection" and go all-out on a health and fitness quest. But perhaps you're not content to just sit back on the sofa either staying fat or getting fatter. Is there something in between? Can you take small steps now towards better health that will eventually lead you to a fitter, leaner life? Absolutely, and here are eight you can start doing today.
There are so many different types of people. There are some who want to make the sacrifice and go as quickly as possible, there are others who would rather make small sacrifices and take it slower. Neither is technically better, since eventually they should both wind up at the same place. It's just a question of how soon they get there.
If you're a more slow and steady, "don't rock my world" type, then this post is for you. Here are a few suggestions of small changes you can make now, or over the next few weeks or months, that will definitely lead towards weight loss and better health.
1. Cut back on the soda. If you're not a soda drinker, skip to the next suggestion. If you are, take steps to cut back. Instead of getting the 2 liter bottles and storing them in the fridge, consider getting individual cans. They are more expensive, and they also limit you to a portion size. Then give yourself a quota per day that you can gradually decrease over time. Before you drink a soda, drink a glass of water so that you won't feel like drinking so much. Don't ask for refills at the restaurant, or limit yourself to just one and sip it slower. Yes, you can also try going to diet soda, but it has similar effects on your system to regular, so it should just be a temporary step on your way to be soda-free. This will help cut down on the sugar and sodium that are so unhealthy, as well as the other effects. If you're a big-time soda drinker, this one change will lead towards some significant short-term weight loss.
2. Stop grazing. It's so easy when you're in a home or office environment to just put your hand in the fridge or pantry and pull out...something to put in your mouth. Better is to plan on eating 6 meals a day - breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and evening snack. If you eat more frequently, you won't get so hungry and constantly feel the need to graze. And if those snacks can be something you find tasty and healthy, all the better.
3. Limit your treats. If you're in an environment full of treats, like office doughnuts or a never ending supply of ice cream at home, just give yourself a quota. Eating a little bit of sugar causes you to want more sugar. Don't tell yourself that your favorite treats are forbidden. Just tell yourself that you're going to limit yourself to one or two a day, or something less than you're having now. Also try to alter the foods in your environment if possible so that healthy food is more available and treats are more scarce. I hardly ever buy treats and have them at home (much to the consternation of my kids). I give myself a treat a week, and it's on my date night with my wife. I don't feel deprived, I enjoy it, I eat it slowly, and it's gone. I don't have 3 dozen other cookies begging for me to eat them.
4. Move more. You know how much you move right now. Think of a way you can fit a little more exercise into your daily routine. If you drive to work, park the car a little further away. If there are elevators, consider taking the stairs. If you are home, get outside and take a stroll around the neighborhood - you'll soak up some Vitamin D and will feel so much better. Go outside and play with the kids - they need it as much as you do. Once you've incorporated a little more exercise on a regular basis, you can gradually include more and more exercise and variety. Try to do things that you enjoy so that you can keep up the routine. Once you've lost some weight and feel more energy you'll naturally gravitate towards more serious exercise.
5. Keep track of what you eat. Just try it for a few days, write down everything you put in your mouth. Don't even change your eating habits. Once you see what you are eating on paper, you can see why you might have some weight to lose. Just by writing it down you might find that you are more inclined to limit what you're eating.
6. Drink more water. Water is great for you and has many health benefits. Drinking more water will help you avoid drinking other things like soda and juice that are full of sugar and fructose. It will also curb your appetite a bit so you won't feel like grazing as much.
7. Brown bag it. If you eat out a lot when you work or are running errands, consider packing a meal and snacks instead. Your sandwich, Sun Chips and an apple will definitely be healthier than a burger and fries or whatever the restaurant or fast food place is serving. Perhaps just bring lunch a couple times a week as a start.
8. Get better sleep. The health benefits of getting enough sleep are many, from improved memory and improved ability to think effectively to overall better health.
There now, those weren't hard were they? You could actually do most of these suggestions without turning your whole life upside down, and you'll see almost immediate benefits. What have you got to lose? Oh yeah, the weight.
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