Tag Archives: how to eat healthy

My Wellness Story and Why Baby Steps Matter

I consider it a compliment that friends, family and clients ask me a ton of wellness questions.  Have you heard about Oregano Oil?  Do you take CoQ10?  What kind of protein do you put in your smoothies?

I am by no means an expert on wellness.  I read and research a lot of different sources, try a lot of things and choose what works best for me.  And you can do the same.  There is no one silver bullet for great health.  It’s about progress.  And a funny thing happens along the way.  It changes you.

Today, I’m going to share more about my wellness journey so you can see what I mean.  This is me at a high school yearbook camp with my friend, Mindee (I’m on the left).

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While I may look like a normal, healthy teenager on the outside, I was drinking 2-3 Diet Cokes every day, addicted to sugar (I can see that now, looking back) and eating a typical American diet (plenty of meat and carbs, not very many vegetables).  But at that age, I was motivated for school, college and life so it didn’t seem to affect me.  Fast forward to my mid-twenties.  I had a stressful corporate job, and had now moved on to way too much coffee and a diet of convenient processed foods with an occasional salad.  This can only last so long, my friends, until your body screams for help.

The screams I heard came in the form of recurring headaches, digestive stress and fatigue.  Looking for pain relief and more energy started me down the path that I’m still on today… just enjoying a way better view!

So.  Here’s my point:  baby steps matter.

When I look back, there wasn’t one pivotal action that POOF! made me see the light and I instantly became more healthy.  It was a series of small actions that added up over time.  While stressed in my corporate job, I decided to take a yoga class with my mom.  That was 1996.  This small action rekindled my passion for movement and teaching which later led to my quitting my job and starting my own yoga business in 2004.

SAMSUNGThe list goes on and on.  I made the switch to a naturopath who opened my eyes to many holistic treatment options and the wonder of healing with whole foods.  I bought a juicer and a high-speed blender.  I quit drinking soda and coffee and I feel more energetic and more alert!  I tried gluten-free for 3 weeks and never went back because I felt so much better.

I began to crave more of the healthy stuff and less of the junk.  In fact, when I had moments of weakness and went back to indulge in some decadent food from my past life, it didn’t have the same effect on me.  It didn’t satisfy.

The same is true today.  My husband and I eat a mostly plant-based diet.  Every once in a while, the idea of something else tempts me.  Sometimes I stay on course and sometimes I give in.  But I’ll warn you, when I give in, that once tasty thing doesn’t satisfy anymore. Eventually…giving in is just silly.  I already enjoy the best foods — whole, real, awesome food.

DSCN1184All of this to say….be encouraged!  Don’t look at the whole giant challenge of getting healthy…instead, take one step.  Choose one thing that you can do today that’s not so difficult.  And tomorrow, do it again.  And the next day.  It does add up and you will build momentum.  You can do this.  Here are just a few examples of baby steps…I know you probably have your own list too.

  • Move for 20 minutes — go for a walk, put in a fitness dvd or just dance around your house!
  • Shop the perimeter of your grocery store
  • Eat at least 2 meatless meals a week.  Gradually increase that number.
  • Confide in a friend about your health & wellness goals – it always helps to have a buddy!
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Drink more water.
  • Drink less soda.
  • Get outside more (weather permitting)
  • Just get started. Take that first step….

 

 

6 Baby Steps to Wellness

Baby steps to healthy living are more sustainable.

I have a friend back home that I was able to spend some great quality time with when I was back for a visit.  She mentioned that she wasn’t feeling great and had given in to convenience over healthy eating with the busy season.  We talked about baby steps to eating more healthy and I thought I’d share a few here.

The busy holiday season can send many of us off our healthy course.  Just yesterday, I was roasting nuts for holiday gifts and I didn’t feel like making a healthy lunch and opted for a frozen pizza.  Yes, it happens.   Now I’m not going to say never eat frozen pizza again, but I will say that my days of eating “beige subfood” are fewer and farther apart than they used to be.  In the afternoon, I had to pull out the Vitamix for a green smoothie to just perk up and finish my nut roasting project.  The more healthy I eat, the less I crave the bad stuff…but I am human.  It takes a little time but your tastes change.

  • Think about what you can/should eat MORE OF first and then begin to EAT LESS of the bad stuff.So I like to tell folks to focus on eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day (making sure that 3 of the 5 are veggies and at least of those three veggies are green).  We’ll want to up that number in the future, but for now, 5 is great place to start. People notice that they’re feeling more full, more satisfied with more complex carbs and fiber, that they’ll eat fewer empty nutrient foods.
  • Get enough protein.  Everybody is different and has different protein needs.  Yes, you can get enough protein on a plant-based diet…but if you’re a meat eater, try to stick with lean proteins like fish or chicken.   Rice and beans or quinoa and greens salad are great healthy ways to get a complete protein. Also, always put a scoop of non-GMO protein powder in EVERY smoothie.  This is an easy way to sneak in some protein, especially in the morning.   I love PLANT FUSION and Tera’s Whey Proteins.
  • Move more.  Whatever you’re doing today for exercise, try to add 2 to it.  Maybe it’s walking 2 more days during the week for 30 minutes.  Maybe it’s 2 more trips to the gym.  Or 2 more fitness DVDs that you pull out and actually do. The key is to start somewhere and inch a bit in the right direction.  If you overdo and injure yourself, you’ll be back to 0 days.  Baby steps, people.
  • Try at least 2 meatless meals.  It’s easy to do and it’s kind to your budget.  Try to eat two meatless meals a week.  I will warn you that my husband and I started with 2 meals a week and soon we’re 90% plant-based…BUT we feel great.  We’ve lost weight, have more energy and sleep better.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. After a few weeks of getting 5 fruits or veggies a day, start to really notice what you eat and how you feel after.  If it’s easier, keep a food journal.  Once you’re paying attention, the areas for improvement will jump out at you:  less sugar, less alcohol, less fat.  For the not-so healthy items, choose one category to focus on at a time.  For example, if you’re a daily soda drinker, focus on decreasing, eliminating and/or replacing your soda with water with cucumber or lemon or green tea.  Don’t try to eliminate soda, chocolate, cheese and coffee in the same week.  One at a time will help you build sustainable change.
  • Grace.  Remember to give yourself a break on the frozen pizza days.  Over time, you’ll see the progress if you make small, achievable changes…Slow and steady wins the race.

What is your best piece of advice for friends wanting to eat healthier?  Leave your comments here…