The difference between a healthy life and an unhealthy one is largely based on patterns of choices. Missing one workout or having one indulgent meal does not make you a fitness failure any more than having one “perfect” calorie-intake day means you’ll stay at a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
Some people stay motivated by making big, sweeping changes to their lives, but most people find they can stay on track for a longer period of time by incorporating small, but powerful changes—tweaks that snowball into serious health-achieving momentum. Here are four power teaks that can do just that for you.
1. Don’t keep kryptonite foods at home This doesn’t mean you can never indulge, but if you make it super convenient to get to your favorite splurges (things like cookie dough, snack cakes, or potato chips) you’ll end up reaching for those items every time the craving strikes. It becomes an even better treat when you have to work for it. For example, if you’re really craving ice cream, take a walk to your local scoop shop and buy a single serving. (For more on overcoming trigger foods, read So You Want to Stop…Eating Kryptonite Foods.)
2. Make water your default beverage Put boundaries around soda and other sweetened drinks if you struggle with sipping too many calories. Don’t keep them at home, and make them a treat for special occasions only. Keep water super handy all day, every day. There are so many ways to doctor up h2o you should never get bored—room temperature, super icy, flavored with sliced berries, cucumber, or citrus, the options are endless. (Read So You Want to Stop…Drinking Soda for more tips on breaking a sugary beverage habit.)
3. Move more Take the stairs. Get off the bus one stop early. Go for a walk after dinner every night (bring your partner or the dog for companionship!). It sounds simple, but if you track your steps you’ll see these simple extra activities can add a thousand steps to your day—that’s 365,000 extra steps every year! Plus, walking for just 15 minutes has been shown to improve digestion and encourage fat burn.
4. Take a stand at work If you’re a desk jockey, chances are you spend most of your day slumped over a computer. Shifting from sitting to standing for 3 to 4 hours a day can have a massive impact on your health. Recent reports show standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting, which translates to 30,000 calories (or 8 pounds!) in a year. Those standing desks don’t look so ridiculous anymore, do they?
Remember, on the journey to health everything counts; every step, every snack, every time you choose water over soda, every time you click “Complete this entry” in MyFitnessPal and finish tracking for the day.
Which of these power-tweaks have you tried? Share your thoughts in the comments!