How to Quickly Get Started
I’ve had quite a few people say to me that they want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, but they just don’t have time right now to figure out how to do it or what exactly that looks like for them. I completely get it, but if you think about it, when we’re at our busiest, craziest and stretched to the limit, that’s when we need to be our healthiest and sanest or something’s going to give. We’re simply going to fall apart. So, I get not having time, but on the flip side, can you really afford not to spend the time to at least get started?
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even baby steps toward health can make all the difference in the world and put you well on your way to feeling better, having more energy and simply being able to cope with life a little easier than might be happening now. That’s why I wanted to share the things I consider to be the easiest steps you can take that will make the most difference. I dig deeper into why these things help so much in other posts, but here, we’re just keeping it simple. Feel free to click on the links to the more in-depth posts once you have more time.
I did this very gradually at the beginning, and then, once I noticed how good I was feeling, I wanted to do more. I started by adding more dark green leafy vegetables and other brightly colored vegetables, which simply didn’t leave as much room for unhealthy stuff. While prepping vegetables does take a little more time than opening a box or can of something, if you set aside a few minutes on the weekend or while you’re waiting for something else to cook at night, you can have what you need ready so that it’s as easy as the processed and packaged alternatives.
I also started taking out simple carbs – again, replacing them with more vegetables. What made the most difference was reducing the amount of white bread and pasta I was eating. In doing that, I realized that I was addressing part of what was making me feel so bad in the first place. I fairly quickly stopped feeling so heavy and weighted down even before the pounds started coming off, and it definitely helped to regulate my blood sugar.
My morning green smoothie. I wanted to share the recipe for the basic green smoothie that was one of the first things I used to replace other not as healthy breakfast foods and that’s still one of my favorites. This is a powerhouse of nutrition as your day is just getting started. By the way, I also use the cheapest blender possible, so while it’s great if you have a really nice one, it’s not necessary. The recipe I use as my standby is a combination of other recipes I’ve picked up along the way. You can easily add other ingredients as you like. It makes 1 serving.
½ to ¾ cups almond milk
½ to ¾ cups kale
4 slices cucumber
2-3 tablespoons frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
½ cup of ice cubes (to add some thickness)
2 tablespoons of almond butter (natural – no sugar or oils added) **If I’m going to exercise afterward. If not, I don’t add the almond butter.
Instead of checking your phone the second you wake up, wake up 20 minutes early and let yourself lay there for a minute and just be. Then do 15-20 min of meditation, a gratitude exercise or whatever else helps you to set your brain for the day ahead. I’ve always jumped out of bed immediately when the alarm clock rang – sometimes in a “I can’t wait to start the day” way, but more often in an “I need to do this and this and this” way. My mind naturally starts racing the second I become even somewhat aware that it’s time to get up – even before I fully open my eyes. That’s why this has been a day changer for me. I let myself just be, reel my thoughts back in and take several deep breaths. Then, ideally, I’ll get up and do 15-20 minutes of meditation, list three to five things I’m grateful for or just sit and be quiet. The main thing is that I don’t let my scattered thoughts or “to do” list take over.
I fully admit this is a little difficult for me because I am usually awake some during the night. By the time I get back to sleep, it’s hard to then wake up 20 minutes earlier than I absolutely have to. But, this makes such a difference when I can do it that it’s well worth being a little groggier at first than I might be otherwise.
Even if you’re having trouble adding regular exercise into your daily routine, find a way to add in some movement. Dr. Heidi Hanna reminds us in her book Relax Your Fat Off that “As human beings, we were built to move.” But many of us now sit behind a computer at a desk for much of the day, and we’re simply not moving nearly as much as we could or should be. While getting in a good workout of some type every day is ideal, even general activity boosts your metabolism. Dr. Hanna suggests setting a timer to alert you every hour and then get up and move for three to five minutes. Here are some of her recommended ways for doing that:
- Just walk around – down the block and back or simply to another part of the building.
- Do a few squats next to your chair
- Climb the stairs
- Use a standing desk for a while and do some calf raises
- Make a few calls using a headset and walk while talking
You don’t have to make a choice between turning your life upside down to be healthy or doing nothing. That’s what Integrated Living is all about. Anything you do is connected to everything else. There are steps that you can take no matter how busy you are that will have a dramatic effect on how you feel and toward your overall outlook on life.
Lean on Your Community
What are three seemingly little healthy steps that you can take this week that maybe you’ve been putting off because you didn’t think you had enough time or energy to put into them? Let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook. We’re here to support each other!