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Transitioning to a Healthy Lifestyle

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By Evelyn Fuertes of From Sprouts to Supper

Everywhere you look, you see messages to make healthy changes. For some, the change comes easily; for others, not so much. If you fall into the latter group, the following recommendations may help get you on the road to better health with a few less bumps.

1. Focus on the big picture.

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Focus on the Big Picture

Don’t get caught up on the parts that make up the sum of you. You need to focus on the whole to heal holistically. Set mini goals that build the foundation for the larger results you want. For example, setting a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day will help you build up your cardiovascular system and maintain or lose weight.

2. Make time for yourself.

By making time for yourself, you give yourself the permission to heal, because any kind of personal action plan needs time and energy. You will need to let yourself have time for activity to get your heart and your body pumping, making meals that nourish and heal, and spending time with those you love.

3. Make one change/improvement at a time.

Steps with lamp post

Make One Improvement at a Time

I don’t like the word change. I prefer making improvements rather than changes— better, not different. We all want to boil the ocean, but other than all wet, what does that get us? Nothing. By making one improvement at a time, you reduce your stress levels and it becomes more likely that you will stick to it.

4. Find an activity you love.

A healthy person moves. Exercise improves your mental well-being, muscle movement and bone density as we age. Exercise can include any activity that gets your blood flowing and uses your muscles. A day spent gardening utilizes your legs, back, and arms. Walking briskly to the farmer’s market will also help get the blood flowing. So go swimming, do martial arts, go bike riding, rock climbing, running after kids or dogs—you get the picture. Just keep moving to stay healthy.

5. Learn to cook.

Cooking doesn’t have to take hours out of your day. A simple soup with 1 can of cannellini beans, 1 quart of vegetable stock and 2 cups steamed cubed butternut or acorn squash with a little salt and pepper pureed in a Blendtec blender can take only 10 minutes start to finish. Cooking with whole foods lets you control what you put into your body, and not every meal has to be elaborate or contain exotic, expensive ingredients. Keep it simple and limit yourself to 5 ingredients. By doing that, you will see how creative your meals can get.

6. Surround yourself with supportive people.

Everyone needs a support network. One of the most important components in transitioning to a healthy lifestyle is having a strong support network. Evidence indicates that people who do not have supportive people in their lives will not do as well as those that do have a strong support network. If you do not have a support network, then create one! There are various online social networking sites that find people with similar interests, forums on health-based websites, and blogs like this one that allow people to comment and make connections.

7. Be kind to yourself.

Heart in snow

Be Kind to Yourself

It may seem silly to have to say this, but I think a lot of people forget to be kind to themselves. Instead, they focus on making everyone else happy and forget their own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the ability to care for others. If your journey takes a little longer than you wanted it to, so what? Don’t beat yourself up! Celebrate all of the improvements, even the little ones, because those will get you to the big picture.

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