In the U.S. alone every year, there are a half million heart attacks, a half million strokes, a million new cases of diabetes, and a million new cancer diagnoses. The message is clear: adopting a few healthy behaviors can have a major impact. A similar batch of four health behaviors combined predicted a four-fold difference in total mortality, with an estimated impact equivalent to 14 years in chronological age. Another commentary “Finally, a Regimen to Extend Human Life Expectancy” looked directly at the U.S. population. The researchers concluded that adopting a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce premature mortality and prolong life expectancy in U.S. adults by 14.0 years in women and 12.2 years in men.
What are those four fabled factors? Never smoking anything, not being obese, averaging about a half hour of exercise a day, and adhering to healthy dietary principles, like lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and less animal products. But how to we actually implement these habits? How do you easily create sustainable and successful lifestyle changes with minimal time and energy.
1. Never Think It's Too Late To Start
A midlife switch to earring at least five daily servings fruits and vegetables, walking 20-30 minutes a day, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking has a substantial reduction in health by all causes within the following years. A 40% lower risk of dying in the next four years to be exact.
It is absolutely never too late or too early to start these life-preserving habits. And if you are confused on how to get started, when you’re going to find time to create these habits or how to stay motivated, that’s why I created my RITUAL Program. To help individuals create a successful and sustainable nutrition and fitness routine that fits into their busy schedule. To schedule a free wellness consultation where I analyze your current health habits and give you a proven, step-by-step process on how to improve it, click the button below.
To learn more about the RITUAL: Foundations of Health & Wellness program, watching this video:
2. Set Manageable, Relevant and Timely Goals
New Year’s resolutions are examples of “outcome” goals (e.g., “I want to lose 10 pounds or get fit.”). Without the “behavioral” piece, including the necessary action steps, it’s very hard to be successful. Breaking down your “outcome” goals into specific, manageable, “behavioral” steps makes success more likely. This is why process goals tend to lead to more successful results than outcome goals.
Process goals, which are goals focused on helping individuals reach their performance goal. For example, if an individual wanted to reduce her caloric intake from 3,000 to 2,000 calories, she might not buy temptation snack foods (e.g., cookies, potato chips, cakes, or chocolate bars) because, if they are at home, they will probably be eaten. So her process goal would be “avoid buying processed snack foods at the grocery store” Similarly, if you wanted to perform aerobic exercise for 1 hour per day for 5 days, a process goal would be to schedule 1-hour workouts at 6:30am Monday through Friday.
For more information on how to set effective goals, I have a free Goal Setting Workbook available for download below
3. Simply your definition of a “Healthy Diet”
The main problem we are facing when it comes to making poor nutrition choices is misinformation. Healthy dietary advice by professionals is often overshadowed by critics, diet books, industry interests, and misguided information in the media. This leads to confusion, frustration, being overwhelmed and ultimately, inaction or no change.
Research shows, we can wipe out most of our risk eating strictly plant-based. But it’s not all-or-nothing. Any movement along the spectrum towards eating more minimally processed whole-foods (fruits and veggies) can accrue significant health benefits. Aim for getting at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Start with the basics and build up. Don’t worry about all the noise or how to optimize. Simply start.
If you want to be more specific to optimize your health, prevent or reverse a certain medical condition or reaching an athletic achievement, I encourage you to seek out the help of a dietician, nutritionist or nutrition coach. I’m currently offering a nutrition coaching program. To schedule a free wellness consultation where I analyze your current nutrition habits and give you step-by-step advice on how to improve it, click the button below.
4. Start Low, Go Slow When It Comes To Exercise
Did you know studies have shown that three 10-minute bouts of exercise have the same benefits as one continuous 30-minute session. If you don’t have a habit of exercising regularly, it can be difficult to change this habit in one day. Most people will need a transition phase. If you expect yourself to spend an hour every day right from the beginning, not only will you probably feel tired very quickly, but you could also set yourself up for injury or a motivation crash. Exercising should be fun, and not an additional stressor in your life that makes you feel overwhelmed. Start with something easily attainable in your life and build upon it as you can. Forgive yourself if you aren’t perfect right away or miss a couple days in a row. Longevity and sustainability is the goal, you don’t have to get it right your first time. Keep trying.
Make sure to follow my instagram page for workout ideas, inspiration and education.
It can seem daunting and overwhelming to start new habits. Our minds trick us into thinking we don’t have the time, energy, motivation or ability to change our habits. But you can! And if no one else has told you this, I believe in you. You are worthy of dynamic and fulfilling, long life!
To learn more about my nutrition coaching or wellness coaching services: https://www.thesuperfoodpharmacist.com/work-with-me
To learn more about the health benefits of plant-based diets by visiting https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/plant-based-diets/
Check out the Daily Dozen Challenge for healthy eating made simple: https://nutritionfacts.org/daily-dozen-challenge/