Okay, so I love eating healthy but don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy treats and yes, eat French fries every once in a while. And, while we’re being honest, I’m pretty sure that “diet” is a four-letter word. Getting healthy isn’t about going on a diet and exercising like crazy.
It’s about a lifestyle change. Now, I am nowhere near perfect when it comes to eating healthy, BUT I have made small, healthy changes over the years, and I do feel a huge difference in my physical health, mental health, and overall happiness!
Do you know what I love? When one of my clients says they want to start eating better. It seriously makes my heart so incredibly happy!
Do you know what I hate? When people give themselves extremely strict guidelines.
Usually, we can stick to those guidelines for about a week until we realize it’s just too hard. Have you ever done that? Decided that you’re “all in” for your diet, only to realize that about 5 days in you’re in the Taco Bell drive thru and you’re going to order Nachos Bell Grande, a Grilled Stuft Burrito and a Coke?
I have totally been there, too. I’ll be honest – I still make mistakes and eat things I shouldn’t. But instead of feeling like a failure and justifying cheat days (or weeks), I’ve learned that these moments are more of a speed bump.
Better yet, they’re preventable if you make small changes.
Don’t make the same mistake nearly every failed dieter has made. You aren’t going to go from eating out every day to cooking all of your meals at home overnight.
Just like you’re much more likely to fail if you go from eating everything to a super restrictive diet. If you want to improve your health, make a conscious choice to make one small change.
You can apply this “start small” concept to just about any area of your diet.
If you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, don’t give it up cold turkey. Instead, cut back to just one treat a day, or a week, or whatever it takes to reach your goal.
Do you constantly scramble to make healthy dinners? Start using a meal planning service like MyFreezEasy (this is the service that I use and I absolutely love it – plus, meal prep saves us so much money on groceries!).
Need some ideas to help you get started?
- Make a green smoothie a few times in the week.
- Carry around a reusable water bottle and bump up your water intake.
- Switch out your white bread for whole wheat bread or start using romaine or butter lettuce for a “low carb” wrap option.
- Add more color (and nutrients) to your diet by adding fruits and vegetables you and your family enjoy. (We use freeze dried fruits and veggies for snacks to make sure that we get enough fruits and vegetables in our diet. Plus it cuts out on the junk that we would otherwise be eating.)
- Try to cut out late-night snacking as much as possible so that your body can heal while it sleeps rather than digest your snack.
Remember, this is about starting small. So you absolutely don’t have to do all these things at one time. Instead, choose one or two changes that are realistic for you.
Over time small changes can make a huge difference! I’ve seen it in our family’s diet, and in the health of many of my wellness clients.
Once you start making small changes, they will form new habits, and then become second nature.
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Move Your Body
Have you ever signed up for some crazy fitness program, spent a ton of money, and failed to follow through because you absolutely hated it?
I have so done this! And you know what I realized?
You are never going to spend a lot of time on something you don’t enjoy doing.
I know that if I sign up for a fancy gym pass, I am not going to go and run on a treadmill. Now, if that is what you like to do, awesome! I have a lot of friends who prefer to work out this way.
But for me? I prefer to workout at home. I would so much rather pop in a yoga or barre DVD and just get it done.
And because I’m at home (sometimes in my pj’s – don’t judge) often my workout DOESN’T EVEN FEEL LIKE WORKING OUT!
I also love roller skating. I load The Baby into the jogging stroller and we can lap the neighborhood for as long as he’ll let me, which is (usually) long enough to make me feel like I got a little exercise time in.
He’s happy, so I’m happy, and seriously, it does not feel like I’m working out because I love it.
What type of movement makes you happy? If you aren’t sure, try some of these and see what lights you up:
- Go for morning walks (choose a setting you’ll love. A shaded park, a hiking trail, etc.)
- Sign up for a class, whether it be dance, kickboxing, Zumba, yoga (or anything else)
- Try working out at home with DVD’s (or some of my free workout videos), a yoga mat, or weights
- Going swimming, hiking, jogging, or any kind of sport
Find a way to be active that makes you happy, and it will make all the difference in the world. Then, make a commitment to do that activity that you love a few times a week and stick to it.
Ugh, stress. Even thinking of the word stresses me out. I hate it! But I’ve accepted the fact that it’s just a part of life. I can’t make your stress disappear, but I can help you reduce it in your life. You can lower your stress levels by:
- Eating healthier
- Getting enough sleep
- Getting “me” time
Since we’ve already talked about exercise and eating better, let’s talk about getting enough sleep. That’s tricky. And honestly, it’s something I’m still trying to figure out.
If you’re a mom, then trying to get enough sleep is like finding a unicorn. It’s probably not going to happen. To be totally honest, it’s something I’m still struggling to figure out. I even made “rest” my word for 2017!
We all have different jobs and responsibilities. Unfortunately, when I’m out of time on my list of things to do, sleep is usually the first to go (right after the laundry).
That being said, I am trying to take small steps to get more sleep, even with a two-year-old who is not big on sleeping through the night.
I know that I am SO much more productive when I do get sleep and I see a huge difference when I actually get a full 8 hours.
If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, you may want to try some of these tricks.
As moms, we rarely spend any time focused on self-care. I mean, sure we shower at least once a week and we make sure to eat (sometimes), but we don’t really do enough to support our own mental health.
In order to relax and reduce stress, you need some “me” time. This means that you need to take a little time each day or week to do something to treat yourself.
Here are some ideas to get you started (like you needed any):
- Take a bubble bath
- Watch your favorite television show
- Read a good book
- Get your hair done
- Get a massage
- See a movie
- Hire a wellness coach
The list goes on and on.
Me? I like having a small square of super dark chocolate while I get lost in a good book.
Y’all. I am absolutely dead serious about this one. Make sure you do something during your day that is just for you.
I don’t care if you take a long bath while your toddler takes a nap or if you choose to get up early (or stay up a little late) to meditate or if you hire a wellness coach to help you make these changes. Just do something for you.
Me time will reduce stress and help you regroup. I know I’m a better wife and mom when I take even a few minutes to do something for myself.
If you’re on a journey to get healthy, making small changes is far more effective than trying to incorporate big, sweeping changes to your life.
Start small, and build new habits, then add in another small change. Yes, it takes longer, but in the long run, you’ll find that you have developed awesome healthier habits that you stick to because they’re a habit, not because you feel obligated.
To start small, choose one area to focus on:
- Healthy Eating
- Less Stress
And get good at that one change. When you feel like you’ve got it, add the next thing. Usually, it takes about a week to get comfortable with a new routine, so give yourself some time to make these changes permanent.