Health is the new obsession. The general public has spoken and publishers have answered. Books galore on health approaches from every angle. Documentaries answer the call, as well. Is it just my age, (and the age of my peers) which makes the concern about health seem more pressing than ever? Or is it an indication of a greater consensus on highlighting a more healthful approach to life? More than ever, people are seeking legitimate answers to their health concerns. What Jane Fonda and Aerobics were to the 80's, glutten-free, low-inflammatory, sugar-free diets are to the 2010's. Slap some crossfit, yoga, and mindfulnesss on top of all those fun diets and you've got a full schedule of health.
So how do we keep all of this information from driving one to obsession or chronic rumination? How do we make healthy lifestyle components, like smart nutritional choices and consistent exercise, effortless?
Long-term health is not about perfection. It's not the best food or the best workout. It's really about what is the better choice in this moment. I might not be able to fit in the perfect workout some days, but I can still make a better movement choice that will help support my health goals. The best choice might be a forty-five minute aerobic exercise but if I wake up late and only have time for ten minutes of movement, it would be a better choice to go for a quick run/walk or HITT than to stay in bed or to just skip it al together. The small choices are what train our brains and bodies to habitually engage in healthy choices. Small choices are empowering. Don't worry about what's best, just do what is the better choice for what is in front of you right now.
I practice making these choices as a way to sustain and work towards my long -term health goals. Recently, I was traveling in a place that had limited kosher food. The best choice could have been to eat nuts, fresh fruits, and vegetables for ten days. However, I knew that that would probably leave me feeling very deprived and prone to a chocolate binge...somehow most junk food is kosher:) So, I made a better choice in the moment. I purchased some fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, Lara bars, hummus, and tortillas. And a little chocolate. I'm not a fan of commercially produced hummus or tortillas, but it was about making a sustainable choice, and that really is the best thing you can do for your health.
Training your brain and body to make small, consistent, better choices is superior to an all-or-nothing lifestyle. By making better choices and tossing out the idea of perfection, you can enjoy your lifestyle without obsessing. Long-term health and weight loss isn't about never eating another croissant again. It's not about working out every day at your target heart rate or swearing off pizza for the next six months. It's making small choices, consistently, and for the long-term. That is the key to long lasting success.
Carpe diem with these small health choices you can try today-start with just one:)
-Take the stairs instead of the lift
-Water or seltzer instead of any other beverage
-Sit down when you eat, shut off the phone, and tune into your meal instead of standing, eating on the run, or multi-tasking while you eat
-Go to sleep half an hour earlier, instead of being on your phone or watching a show
-Take a twenty minute power walk on your
-Throw in a HITT workout instead of stressing that you missed a bigger cardio session (Check out the Keelo app for high intensity interval workouts that take less that 12 minutes)
-Walk to a walkable errand that you were planning to drive to
-Throw in some squats while you brush your teeth
-Ditch the sugar in your coffee- start by halving it and then decreasing from there
-Replace one meal a day with a large salad
-Add a cup of green tea to your day
-Grab a fruit or veggie instead of a calorie laden snack- the fiber will be more satisfying than you think
-Stop eating after 8 pm
-Take 10 deep breaths
-Write down 5 things you are grateful for
-Cover all the small, electronic lights in your bedroom to contribute to a more restful sleep
-Mood lighting from 6 pm- turn on the low lights in the evening so you brain starts to relax and produce melatonin
-Book a massage
-Eat 12 nuts
-At your next restaurant meal, only eat half of your entrée- save the other half for another meal
Got a small health choice you think should be on the list...feel free to let me know!