Healthy Living is Just a Step Away
What do almost all fitness, health, and diet advertisements have in common? The end result. Sculpted bodies and magnificent testimonials: The recovered addict who runs marathons. The stressed out corporate executive that changed their life through meditation … the list goes on.
Americans love these dream stories, as they define what is something that we believe is essential to our national character – any adversity can be overcome, anything is possible. I’m not being a downer and trying to negate it. It’s just those huge success stories (end results) fail to talk about setbacks and struggles. (Unless there’s a cool documentary – which is even tricky because all hurdles are overcome in a very condensed two-hour timeslot). More importantly, the great nutrition, health, fitness success stories fail to emphasize the importance of small steps to get there.
So, inspired, I’ve had many clients embark upon a road to better nutrition and fitness only to stumble and fall, feeling overwhelmed by information and seemingly insurmountable hurdles – feeling more demoralized about their bodies and health than when they began. The problem is they were focused on that image – that advertisement – and forgot there’s quite a road to travel to get there.
But you can’t travel that road if you don’t take the first step.
Small steps can make a world of difference in your health and life. Here are some tips on how to eat and exercise better, one step at a time.
Goal: I want to get to a healthier weight.
First step: Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
Make no other change. Pay attention to how your body feels when you replace, perhaps, a bag of chips with some chopped carrots, hummus, and cheese. Pay attention to your energy levels and gut health. And celebrate the small change until you’re ready for another.
Goal: I want to get in shape.
First step: Find ways to walk more.
Walk your kids to school. Walk to the grocery store. Walk to work. Take the steps to your apartment or office. Park at the last space in the parking lot. Pretty soon, those long walks will feel short. Then you’re ready for the next step.
Goal: I want to feel more comfortable with my body.
First step: Write down five things you love about your body.
Improving body self-esteem in the era of photoshop and body hate is tough. It’s particularly hard for young people whose bodies are developing and they’re trying to sift through a barrage of pretty horrifying information from a billion-dollar industry that profits off body hate. Improving body self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight. Small steps to recovering body self esteem and building compassion, shedding shame from disordered eating take time.
Goal: Have better posture.
First step: Sit better.
Yes, you read that right. We have become a nation of professional sitters. So, sit well. Feet should be flat on the floor (or get a little stool for your feet. There should be a small gap between your knees and the chair. Support your lower back.
Small steps lead to big change when the focus is on each step of the road. Mindfulness and focus are keys to success. So, start today with that first step toward your health, nutrition, and fitness goals. You’ll be surprised about the changes to come.