While nearly everyone wants to lead a healthier lifestyle (whether that means losing weight, gaining weight, making better food choices or getting more sleep at night), not everyone has the time, money or resources to make major lifestyle changes whenever they choose. However, there are certainly steps that anyone can take – regardless of situation – towards a healthier physical state of being.
1. Set small, attainable fitness and weight goals
Sure, your goal this year is to lose 15 pounds – but that won’t happen overnight. Instead of focusing on the big picture goal (the macro) make some micro steps for yourself to reach that goal. If your big goal is to train for a half marathon, set small goals: You might start with running a mile; then, once you feel comfortable running a mile, up your goal to two miles; and so on.
Be honest with yourself and what you’re able to achieve at first! If you set goals that are actually attainable, the feeling of achievement as you reach each goal will motivate you to keep going.
2. Water first, veggies most™ (Ilana Muhlstein)
When it comes to diet, not all of us have the time, money, or ability to eat the best foods for our body. Crash diet fads can be unhealthy and expensive, but here’s a tip from Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein that anyone can utilize: “Water first, veggies most™.”
Muhlstein says that starting any meal by drinking water, and follow it by eating a meal of mostly vegetables, will help you maintain a healthier weight in the long term. You don’t need to buy crazy weight-loss juices or pills; you don’t even need to set up a regimented diet of pre-planned meals. Just start your meals by drinking a glass of water, make sure that vegetables make up the majority on your plate, and you’re already on your way to a healthier diet!
3. Turn what you like to do into a workout
Okay, let’s face it: Most of us don’t love working out. In fact, many of us don’t even like working out. But if you find something you do love and turn it into a workout, then you might find it just a bit more enjoyable than usual.
If you love animals, then volunteer as a dog walker for a local shelter. If you love nature, go for a hike. If you really like watching TV, then work out during commercials – it’ll at least get you active and moving!
4. Dedicate one meal a day to mindful eating
Sometimes we get so busy at work that we scarf down lunch at our desk, or we catch up on our favorite TV show over dinner. But if you try to dedicate just one meal a day to eating, and only eating, you may find it changes your perspective on the task. Taking time to enjoy your food, and listen to your body, will help you learn more about how your body really works. You may find that you actually need much less food than you usually eat while distracted by other tasks.
5. Reframe your excuses
If you often find yourself thinking, “I wish I could do X, but I just don’t have the time,” it may be time to shift your mindset. Instead of telling yourself you don’t have time, tell yourself “it’s not a priority,” which forces you to recognize where your priorities truly lie.
If you often tell yourself that you can’t work out because you don’t have time, reframe that statement so you’re telling yourself, “working out isn’t a priority”. It sounds harsh, but don’t beat yourself up about it! It’s okay if working out isn’t a priority right now (you may have many other, high-priority tasks on your plate), but it’ll help you understand where your priorities lie and in turn, may relieve some of the guilt you feel when you make excuses for why you can’t go to the gym.
On the other hand, if going to the gym is a priority for you, then reframing your excuses forces you to be aware of how you might be letting yourself down.
Implementing any combination of these tips is sure to help you feel healthier in some way or another! However, keep in mind that physical wellbeing is only one piece of the puzzle; mental and emotional wellbeing can be just as important, if not more important, to your overall quality of life. Check back soon for steps toward a healthier state of mind that anyone can take!