Updated: May 18
Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
"Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine," says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. "They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change."
Here are 10 to try:
1. Keep an eye on your sleeping habits and evaluate if you are getting adequate amount of sleep for you and your lifestyle. Depending on your sleep cycle, some needs 6 hours while others need 8 hours.
2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
3. Eat breakfast. Your body has been working its tail off through the night, so it needs more fuel to keep your metabolism moving. For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, oatmeal with fresh fruit slices and hard boiled eggs.
4. Switch three grain servings each day to 100% whole grain. If you're like the average American, you eat less than one whole grain serving a day.
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
6. Trim the unhealthy fat. Unhealthy fat (saturated) has a lot of calories and zero nutrients for your body. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.
7. Consider consuming more calcium from non-dairy foods like spinach, kale and broccoli. Calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat. Two words, portion control.
9. Know your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides numbers with annual physicals. When these numbers are not within a healthy range, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes can develop.
10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.
Choose one or two things from this list to try out this week. I would love to hear how it went for you. Please share with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org For a little extra support and guidance for you individual needs, sign up for my customized 3 month coaching program tailored to your needs.
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