Author: Rachael Crozier
You’ve heard it all before. Don’t smoke. Avoid drinking pop. Don’t eat fried foods. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t! You know that certain choices and behaviours are not ideal for good health, but you also know that some can help cope while in the moment. So the question is, how do you move toward a healthier lifestyle while balancing the ups and downs of life?
Well, it’s best to start ‘small’. Don’t try to change everything in one day. Choose one simple action to help improve your health. Committing to a lifestyle change does not happen in one day. It’s a life-long journey of striving for better health so as to spend more quality time with family and friends.
Trying to change your eating habits? Don’t aim for that perfect diet each day. Rather, plan to change one thing, such as choosing an alternative to pop or an alcoholic beverage. You can still enjoy that tasty pasta dinner. Habits are part of one’s daily lifestyle and social culture. If you are trying to make changes, it’s best to start by identifying the things in your life that cause you to choose unhealthy habits over healthy ones. When you start to eat healthier, you’ll gradually learn to substitute unhealthy foods for healthier choices, such as whole grain breads over white breads. (heartandstroke.ca).
If you want to start exercising, you don’t have to go to the gym every day for an hour or two. Start with a leisurely 10-minute walk around the block on a sunny day. Go for a stroll around the mall with a friend. If you can change your mindset from feeling guilty for not exercising to making a plan to get short stretches of walking in throughout your day, before you know it, you’ll be setting the conditions for successful life changes. Many of us like to watch television in the evening – during a commercial, try going for a quick stroll around your living quarters. Include a flight of stairs if you have some. It’s a just a small change, but it has big benefits (Canadian Physical Activities Guide).
If you are trying to quit smoking, don’t aim too high at first. The best climbers in the world can’t conquer Mount Everest in one day. You’ll just set yourself up for failure and feel guilty that you couldn’t accomplish your goal. Take baby steps. Reduce the number of cigarettes each day. Look into options for support (gethelpstopping.ca).
Improving the health habits of employees in the workplace can provide employers with a pretty compelling business case. Healthier, happier employees may lead to fewer sick days and disability claims (worklifehelp.com). Consider stocking fruit in the lunch room, bring in a health and wellness specialist to speak to your employees, subsidize gym memberships or provide yoga and meditation during the company lunch hour.
Got a healthy tip or resource to share with us? Please post it in the comments section below!