10 Small Steps to Improve Your Health
Every Step Toward a Healthier You Counts
The beginning of the year is nearing and many of us will man make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.” Small steps will add up to make a big step.
10 Small Steps to Become Healthier
1. Keep an eye on your weight. Weigh yourself weekly to ensure you are not gaining extra lbs. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, over time the extra weight adds up quickly.
2. Take more small steps. Use a fitness watch or pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000 steps. Two thousand steps is equivalent to one mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
3. Eat breakfast every day. Start you day with a filling and nutrient rich meal like whole grain cereal with berries or fruit slices along with low-fat milk. daily. People who eat breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall.
4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. Whole grain is a cereal grain that contains the endosperm, germ, and bran whereas refined grains only retain the endosperm. The average American, you eat less than one whole grain serving a day. Easy whole grain substitutes include brown rice, buckwheat, whole-wheat flour, popcorn, oatmeal, and barley.
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Purchase lean meats, eat poultry without the skin, switch to lower-fat cheeses, use a nonstick pan with only a dab of oil or butter.
7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat. Did you know that the size of plates in the 1960s was about 9 inches and that the dinner plate is now 11 or 12 inches in diameter.
9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits of losing just 10 pounds is huge and may include a decrease in your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
10. Track of your food intake. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you become aware of what you are eating and may help you to eat less.