We all need to start somewhere, and beginnings are often challenging. Since Tobias and I started Diabetes Strong, we have heard from a lot of people who really want to make healthy changes to their lifestyle, but aren’t quite ready for the workout programs and meal plans we typically write about.
If you have never spent time in the gym, are injured, or have diabetes-related complications, an article about how to do heavy squats isn’t going to be very helpful for you, but this article on small changes for healthy living will be.
The good news is that there are many small steps you can take that will instantly improve your health. They aren’t quick fixes like you see in the magazines (we have all seen the “get your beach body and six-pack in 31 days” articles) but lifestyle changes that will help you stay healthy your entire life.
These changes won’t transform you into a fitness model, but they will start your journey towards a healthier life. If you decide that you want to make major changes to the way you look, you will, of course, have to make other changes to your lifestyle as well, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
My focus here is to get the message across that in order to start your journey, you don’t have to do anything crazy. You don’t have to do any bizarre diets or cleanses, do excessive amounts of cardio, or take expensive supplements. What you do have to do is start making long-term healthy changes that will put you on your path to sustainable good health and weight management.
10 Step Guide to Better Health
- Set specific and actionable goals for your health and find your positive motivation to make changes (you can read how in this post)
- Learn how to read food labels – Avoid products with empty sugar calories and excessive fat
- Cook your own meals – Cooking with fresh ingredients that you know and understand will always be healthier than eating out or buying pre-made meals
- Shop in the produce aisle rather than the packaged foods aisle
- Start walking – Just 20-30 minutes of brisk walking every day will do wonders for your metabolism, heart, and mood. Consider getting a Polar Watch (what I use), FitBit, or any other step counter and make a game out of reaching a certain number of steps each day
- Think positive – Turn your situation around and see it as a positive, rather than a negative. It’s about reclaiming your health rather than giving up your current lifestyle
- Be aware of calorie traps and ditch them – Liquid calories especially often add up without us realizing (yes, Frappuccino, I’m looking at you)
- Start tracking what you eat (I recommend using MyFitnessPal) and evaluate your diet to see if you are getting the right nutrition for your needs.
- Get enough quality sleep – It’s recommended that you sleep 7-8 hours every night to keep your hormones and metabolism in optimal balance
- Accept that change takes time – Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away.
You don’t have to do all of this right away. A great place to start is by identifying 3 things you will start doing right now to improve your health and making those part of your daily routine. When you feel you are ready, add another healthy habit to your life.
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