10 Ways to Start a Healthy Habit
By: Kolleen Long|July 5, 2016
Certified Health Coach and guest blogger Carol Boston will lead a free nutrition class at our Life’s Choices Hamburg Office on July 14, 21 and 28. Attendees are encouraged to attend all three classes and learn how to adopt healthier lifestyles and get their families to cooperate! Each evening includes free snacks, games and prizes. Preregistration is encouraged: click here to sign up!
Making changes to get healthier can often seem very challenging and even overwhelming. Where do you start? What should you focus your energy on? It may seem very difficult at first but Carol Boston shares ten tips here to get you started:
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration causes low energy, headaches and tiredness. It is also common to mistake thirst for hunger. So, begin your day with a big glass of water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try to avoid sweetened, artificially sweetened and artificially colored drinks. Choose water instead. If you prefer water with some flavor, try adding some lemon, lime or orange slices.
- Start the day with a Healthy Breakfast. A healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it promotes better behavior and mood in both children and adults. A nutritious breakfast also helps to jumpstart your metabolism and keeps you lean. Choose a balanced breakfast with complex carbohydrates and proteins. Try a veggie omelet with whole wheat toast and a glass of milk or whole grain cereal with milk and fresh fruit. If selecting a cereal, look for one that has at least 3 grams of protein, less than 6 grams of sugar and at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
- Read food labels. It is important to be aware of what is in your food but don’t get overwhelmed trying to understand every ingredient on the label. Instead, focus on avoiding high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and hydrogenated oils. If you find any of these on the label, look for a healthier option.
- Eat more Fruit & Veggies. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that your body needs for good health. They provide energy to the body, are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. The fiber in whole fruits and vegetables improves bowel function and lowers your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It also aids in weight loss by promoting a feeling of fullness. There are many ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. You can try a different type of vegetable or fruit each day. You can make a vegetable stir-fry or lightly steam some vegetables and put your favorite topping over it. And when making a salad, choose the darker, more nutritious greens instead of iceberg lettuce.
- Quality is more important than quantity. Rather than counting calories, fat content, etc. and worrying how much you are eating, avoid packaged and processed foods. Instead, focus on eating quality foods that are grown and not manufactured. These foods are naturally high in fiber and protein and low in sugar and hydrogenated oils. You can learn more about Traffic Light Eating at a Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Start workshop.
- Become a grazer. Eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day will help with digestion as well as weight control. Think nuts, smoothies, salads, and fruits and veggies. A little goes a long way to helping you feel full because of the fiber and good carbs in these healthier foods.
- Add fish to your diet. Include more wild caught fish into your diet, especially wild caught salmon. Fish has high levels of Omega-3 fat which is essential for brain health. You can also include tuna, cod, halibut, sardines or rainbow trout.
- Get a buddy. Starting healthy habits and then keeping them is much easier when you have a partner to share the journey with you. Enlist the support of a friend or family member for added accountability. You can also choose to have a coach who will encourage you and be your accountability partner as you progress on your journey to a healthier life.
- Pamper yourself. Health and self-care is more than eating the right food. It’s also about scheduling some “me” time such as going for a leisurely walk, having a spa day or getting a massage. Take time to do things that you enjoy!
- Be realistic. Research has shown that making small changes can add up to a huge difference in your health over time. So start with a few changes at first, gradually incorporate more healthy habits over time and you are on your way to a healthier and happier life.
Master Certified Health Coach
“Abundant Life” Coaching & Consulting
* Information from Dr. Sears L.E.A.N. Start Guide