Get inspired by this guest post from Leah Segedie, a mentor to moms who are trying to live a healthier life and Shape Magazine's "Mom of the Year." Here she offers 10 small steps toward a healthier life:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. --Confucius.
Have you ever sat and thought–I can’t lose weight or get fit or change my life because it’s too hard or takes too much time? We’ve all had those thoughts, but did you know, by making small changes a little at a time, you CAN do anything you want. It’s funny how those small changes slowly add up to big changes over time.
Here’s a list of some small changes you can implement in your life that will make a huge impact on your journey to a healthier life:
1. Cut out sodas. Even diet drinks can make your body latch on to excess weight. Even cutting back can make a huge impact. One can of soda has 140 calories in it. If you only cut out one soda a day, that could equal almost 15 lbs lost in a year. Substitute carbonated water with orange slices for a flavored, bubbly treat or better yet, drink more water. Your body needs it to survive
2. Avoid fast food whenever possible. You can rely on healthier options like Subway when you are on the go and in need of a quick meal. Not only are most fast food meals chock full of fat and excess calories, there is very little substance so in a short amount of time you are hungry and eating again. Eating real food takes longer for your body to digest so you are getting the nutrients you need to fuel your body, and you feel satisfied longer.
3. Order salad dressing on the side and dip your fork in for flavor in each bite. How many times have you said to yourself, “but I’m eating salads and not losing weight!” Chances are you are drowning your healthy salad in unhealthy dressing. By dipping your fork in the dressing before each bite, you get the flavor and taste without the added fat and calories.
4. Time your Internet use. For every 30 minutes you spend online, do 5-10 minutes of exercise. This goes back to the idea that we make time for what is important. If you have time to sit for 30 minutes and play angry birds or surf the net, you have time to do some quick exercises. I used to say that I didn’t have the energy to exercise, but once you start, you’ll find that you don’t have any energy when you DON’T exercise so get your body moving.
5. Instead of sitting and watching TV for family time, go on a walk or play a game of catch in the yard. Getting your family active not only helps prevent childhood obesity, but it will create lasting family memories of fun and adventure. My kids don’t remember what movies we watch together but they can tell you all about going on a hike or heading out for a day of walking at the zoo. Make it fun and everyone will be happier and that makes it easier to stick with it.
6. Switch out your butter and vegetable oil for water, olive oil or coconut oil while sautéing. You absolutely can sauté using only water, but if you must use oil, switch it for a healthier option. Your body does need some fat to fuel itself but you want to make sure you are choosing healthy fats whenever possible.
7. Find the parking spot that is the furthest away from the entrance when grocery shopping or at the mall and walk. Have you ever seen people circle the parking lot for the closest space to the door? It’s especially funny when you see it at the gym or health club. Getting in extra movement is key to any journey to better health. You can fit in hundreds, if not more, extra steps each day simply by parking further away from your destination and walking a little bit more each day.
8. Do squats while cooking dinner. Or leg lifts, or bicep curls. Don’t waste the time you are standing around stirring or watching your dinner cook, you can do many exercises while cooking dinner, talking on the phone, or even when doing housework. The best part is, you kids will probably mimic your exercises and then you’ve created a fun fitness routine for the whole family.
9. Make a workout appointment. Like you would a doctor or dentist appointment, and keep it. You wouldn’t decide that you were too tired to go to the dentist, but yet this is the excuse we use all the time for not getting in fitness. Make an appointment for yourself and keep it. Why not put it on the calendar now!
10. Start small. Don’t take on too many changes at once, but add another step when you feel comfortable. We often start the race at a sprint and then burn out quickly. Take on one new challenge at a time and before you know it, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come!