I love Easter.
For me, it’s the most important ‘holiday’ of the year. My spirit is renewed.
What I don’t love about it, from a nutrition perspective, is that it seems like a mix of Thanksgiving & Halloween, with big meals and junk food!
While my spirit may be grateful, my physical body has some getting back on track to do!
I get really irked with myself when I fall off track. There’s no one it hurts more for me to let down than me.
I had been on a solid roll for awhile with no grains, no alcohol, little-to-no dairy, and little-to-no sugar.
I don’t know why a religious holiday is what knocked me off my game, of all things, but it did. Too much food… some wine… some sugar.
(Honestly, there’s a wee bit more stress these days… I think my inner brat used that as justification to stray.)
Time to get back on track. (sigh)
Whether you’re experiencing a sugar crash from Easter chocolate, or your belly is distended from Easter brunch and family celebrations, or it’s just time to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle choices… having a solid strategy is key.
Adding “Good” – Subtracting “Bad”.
When it comes to starting new, healthy habits, or re-instating healthy habits, I feel that adding “good”, health-enhancing choices is easier than reducing or eliminating the “bad”.
Some common examples of Good Things to Add:
- Drink more water
- Exercise more
- Eat more vegetables
- Practice stress reduction techniques
- Get more sleep
These are all kind of big, general goals. So, it helps to break them down to small, mini-goals that you intentionally place in your daily routine. This makes it more likely that you’ll see your health goals as being easier to achieve.
For example, here’s what a simple list might look like to accomplish some of those goals:
- Drink a glass of water when I first wake up. Fill up my water bottle 2 times during the day… and drink it.
- Go for a walk at lunch time, or after dinner. Walk the dog every day. 10 minutes is better than NO minutes.
- Do a full-body resistance-type workout 2 or 3 times each week. Again, 10 or 15 minutes is better than no minutes.
- Add “burst” training once or twice each week.
- Have vegetables &/or salad with lunch and dinner. Add more veggies to my breakfast choices. Add veggies to my smoothie.
- Add 5-10 minutes of stretching to morning routine or before bed.
- Do some relaxing breathing to unwind before bed. Practice relaxing while I’m stretching in the morning.
- Avoid screen time an hour before bed.
- Get to bed by ____ (10 o’clock, for example)
You can see how even a couple weeks of consistency with these “good” choices would make a noticeable difference!
To add healthy choices, you just need to DO them… then DO them again… and then again.
It’s rather simple: each time you make that healthy choice, it counts as something great. Just make MORE of those choices! They accumulate… and you can never take away a healthy choice that you made.
There’s a magic number… a tipping point, where the healthy choice becomes a “habit”. At some point, it becomes more “painful” for you (mentally, emotionally) to NOT do that healthy activity and you actively seek the pleasure you derive from making that healthy choice. Ah, this is pure gold!
(I’m not talking about the obsessive-compulsive health nut here, who wigs out if they miss their fourth 90-minute workout of the week! I’m talking about turning the corner from “having to” make healthy choices to “wanting to”. Tremendous difference.)
“Bad Things” to Subtract
These can be tricky. There are SO many lifestyle choices that subtract from our health… where to begin?!
Sugar, junk food, fast food, pop, alcohol, drugs (prescription, over the-counter, or otherwise), smoking, and a slew of other addictions.
You’ve got a couple ways you could go here.
You could try to “ease” into your clean-up routine… tapering off some of your unhealthy choices. Or, you can go cold turkey.
First, if it’s something harmful to your health, any reduction in its consumption or your exposure to it will help. Kudos to you for reducing your intake.
However, in some cases, like gluten, sugar, and many drugs, even one exposure will set you back to square one again.
The notion of “tapering off” doesn’t work quite as well as “tapering in”.
Sometimes you’ve just got to cut it out completely in order to glean the greatest benefit from your healthy choices. Other times, you can get away with reducing (or substituting) just fine.
So, your to-do list for “Subtracting the Bad” might look like this:
- No television on _____ and ______ nights. (Walk instead. Play a game with the kids instead.)
- Switch from sugar to stevia in your coffee/tea.
- Pick 2 or 3 days (for starters) where you’ll pack your lunch vs. fast food, or make a healthy breakfast smoothie vs. the drive-thru.
- If you drink several soft drinks or energy drinks in a day, reduce it by one per day for starters… then go down to just one… then only on certain days… then only on the rare occasion, or not at all.
- No more eating only grains for breakfast (cereal, toast, bagel, etc.). Add protein & healthy fats. (Eventually, cut the grains… or, do this right away, if you want to reap the health benefits faster.)
- No sugary desserts – switch to fruit, if necessary. Have a ‘cheat’ meal once a week or two. Have your dessert then, in moderation.
- Alcohol – Whether you’re aiming to reduce your consumption or eliminate it all together, think of how you can substitute. Functional beverages are excellent choices that actually give your body what it’s craving. DO something different to change the habit. Get active instead.
- Reduce your screen time by removing it from your routine during your hour before bedtime.
It’s important to understand the true consequences of the choices we make. “What happens if I make this choice? What happens if I don’t?”
When it comes to subtracting the “bad”, it seems even more important to understand the consequences. Just like that tipping point with “good” choices becoming a habit, avoiding the “bad” can become a habit, too… not necessarily as easily… but it certainly CAN.
Also, it can become too mentally or emotionally painful for you to continue making the “bad” choice that you just choose to stop!
Focus on how empowered you feel when you DON’T make that “bad” choice… even if it’s just one time. Then, don’t make the bad choice again… and see how good you feel. Then do it again.
Crowd out your unhealthy choices by filling up (fueling up) with healthy choices.
You’re creating a new lifestyle… a healthier version of you, who just doesn’t need those unhealthy things weighing you down anymore, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
If you need help getting back on a healthier path, consider joining the next 21-Day Health Booster. That’s exactly what it’s designed to accomplish!
Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a popular personality in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 19 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.
Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com, http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.
Also, check out her available books at http://amazon.com/author/drcolleen .
For more information about working privately with Dr. Colleen and Dr. Marc in an Investigative & Functional Health Recovery Program for any number of metabolic and health issues, such as thyroid imbalance, weight loss resistance, hormonal imbalance, food sensitivity & gut permeability, autoimmune conditions, cellular detoxification, and more, please contact Dr. Colleen directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline. Personalized distance programs are available.