Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

Commit with Awareness and Keep it Simple

When we take a look at all of the different programs available on the market for healthy living, it can be seriously overwhelming.  There are so many different theories, some of which are contradictory, and with all of the promises out there, how do you know which methods to follow?  In my personal experience, the only techniques that really work are those that are simple and continue to keep the momentum slow and steady and therefore encourage long-term changes.

Most of the tips out there we’ve all heard before, especially if you follow this blog, but reminding ourselves of some of these really basic ideas will help it actually click for us one day.  It’s worth it to consistently surround yourself with motivating resources that encourage health and wellness because one day, you will be ready to make that change, and it will truly register for you once and for all.  Remember, we’re in this for life!  The only tips I’m willing to follow myself are realistic enough to at least try and maybe, one day, become a regular habit.  Join me in some of the commitments below and see which ones work best for you if not all of them.  This is your journey.  Explore every bit of it that you can.

I’m committed to making a change.  This sounds like I’m stating the obvious, right?  Well, not really.  Not when I still talk with people who say they want to make a change or live better or feel better or make better choices but they don’t.  Here’s the thing, whatever excuses we come up with, that’s all they are—excuses.  People make time to do what they really care about doing.  Whatever it is, what they invest their time in is their choice.  When you’re ready to make a change, you will, and with awareness you can start altering your lifestyle in the way that works best for you.

I commit to not eat anything after 7pm.  This is certainly easier on some days more than others and it also has to do with my particular schedule.  For the most part, we’re up around 6am every day (if not earlier) and in bed by 930pm so this works for me on nights we don’t go out.  There’s something about the way I personally eat or snack after this time of day.  By trying this simple tweak to my daily habits I found that any eating I did after this hour was more out of boredom or habit because this is when my husband and I typically wind down from the day together and just hang out on the couch.  Commit to learning your own habits and figure out what needs to be tweaked so you can start cutting out the mindless eating we all tend to do from time to time.

I commit to (at least) taking a 30 minute walk every day.  This is an easy one to tailor to your own lifestyle.  Simply put, if you’re currently sedentary, the least you could do is take 30 minutes off of the couch and go for a brisk easy walk outside or do a 30 minute workout video inside.  If you’re moderately active, try an hour-long class somewhere and try something new until you find something you love and will keep doing.  Take small, simple, easy steps to make physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle and your body will eventually begin to crave it.  Push too hard and you may end up quitting before it becomes a true habit.  Go too easy on yourself and you may not feel the benefits enough to be motivated to keep going.  Find the balance of what you can do and what you need to do to make exercise in one form or another part of your daily life.

I commit to drinking a glass of water before every meal or snack.  This is so important for everyone who still has to drink a glass of something other than water when feeling thirsty.  Here’s what helped me—feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need hydration.  The only thing that truly satisfies that is water.  So out of the desire to not dehydrate myself, I began to drink water anytime I felt thirsty and the more I did the more it was all I craved.  Drinking anything else when you’re not regularly hydrated just adds more calories, sugars or artificial junk that your body doesn’t truly need at all, ever.  Don’t even worry about how much you drink for now.  Just start drinking before you eat anything and your habits will begin to change over time.  This tip is an easy one to incorporate and the benefits really are endless.

Keep your focus steady and make your changes simple.  Don’t worry about the big, end results—you’re not working towards a goal here so much as you are improving your journey towards healthy living.  If you are focused on a big payout, an end result that’s going to suddenly be the end-all be-all of your current life and create your happily-ever-after, I would rethink your expectations.  What often happens with that mindset is more of a yo-yo effect:  super-charged up and ready to push hard and motivated by the “I’ll be happy when…” mentality and when you don’t reach your goal or you hit your plateau, you’re back to where you started and your old habits are current again.  Give yourself a chance to succeed and make these commitments now because you deserve it.  You always have.



Slow Down and Enjoy Life

Slow Down and Enjoy Life

Greetings, all!  I’m so happy to be back on this journey of health and wellness and I thank you for joining me.  After taking a month or so off of HLbyV, I realize that writing this blog really does keep my own habits in check and I’m so excited to find my focus with you again.  Now that we’ve all settled back into our daily routine, many of us are also trying out new approaches to reach new goals.  As I struggle to find time to evaluate my own aspirations and new methods to reach them, it occurs to me that in order to be successful, the pace at which we go about our everyday life is a huge factor.

Here’s the thing—we pretty much already have the tools we need to make significant changes towards a healthy lifestyle.  We know what we’re supposed to do and we certainly know the basic factors that can help us be successful—so what’s holding us back?  I would say that for many of us, our busy lifestyles allow for our days to get away from us and we continue to go, go, go through the motions without appreciating or being mindful of the present.  As a result, we make the excuse that we don’t have time for healthy habits or we continue to act as though we don’t know any better.  If we don’t slow down and learn to make mindful decisions we are guaranteed that our current state of physical, mental and emotional health will remain just as it is.

To start, our nutritional habits are something we can all focus on right away.  Every day and every time we eat, we have the opportunity to choose mindfully and eat much more slowly than we do and it could make all the difference in our overall lifestyle.  Too many of us let convenience and time constraints dictate the way we choose our snacks and meals as well as how fast we consume them.  Unfortunately, we’ve become a society that prefers quick and easy over quality and nutritional value and very few can appreciate a meal long enough to have it last more than 15 – 20 minutes.  Eating habits like these easily set us up for an unhealthy foundation on which to build upon anything else we want to achieve.

Start the process of satisfying your hunger by first being more thoughtful of your choices and prepare your meals and snacks in advance.  In our house, grocery shopping includes plenty of fresh produce, various sources of whole grain and lean protein but we also plan for meals I can make in larger quantities on the weekend so they last us throughout the week.  This helps us prepare for several days of healthy eating even when we’re on the go or too tired to prepare something new.

Secondly, when you do take time to eat, also take time to enjoy it!  For those of us (myself included!) who tend to eat while working, cleaning, or standing in general so as to move on quickly to the next to-do, we lose so much of the wonderful experience of eating good quality food.  Junk food is meant to be eaten quickly because there simply is no substance to truly taste or enjoy, so when you learn to choose food worth savoring learn to really look, smell and taste each bite and chew it slowly.  Taking the time to slow down and really develop these habits while nourishing your body will create a new appreciation for good nutrition and what it can do for us.  Soon your newfound awareness will show you that your body, mind and spirit really do reflect the quality of your choices.

Here’s to healthy eating!