Start Evolving: Small Changes

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May 7, 2012 by Darlene McC

Life change can be overwhelming and, at a certain point, we just can’t take another stresser.  If you want to get started but either don’t know the way to or feel over-burdened with the idea of a major overhaul, pick a few small things from this list that you know you can handle.  Implement them for a few weeks until they’re no big deal, then come back and add in a few more.

Quick Note: this is an ongoing list so you’ll find new ones at the bottom.  Bookmark the page and come back for more when you’ve got a few under your belt.

Sounds simple?  It is!  So lets get to it:

Drink a TON More Water

I’ve written on dehydration before, but that’s because it’s legitimately a problem for a lot of people and it’s such a simple solution.  Make it a priority to drink more water every day and you’ll stop retaining so much H2O.  This is better for inflammation, bloating, irritability, fatigue, and a whole host of other problems.  You can lose just a few pounds by drinking more water.  Just drink up, okay?

Move That Body!

If you don’t already work out:

Dance around your living room for 20 minutes.  Jog in place or do pushups during commercials.  Try a yoga DVD.

Make the commitment to yourself to move 2 – 3 times a week for 20 – 30 minutes.  You don’t have to become a total gym rat, just move!  This small change will have huge results if you are sedentary.

If you already do workout:

Change it up!  If you’ve been doing the same workout for more than a month than you are experiencing diminishing returns.  Our bodies are adaption machines; it’s why we can live in so many different environments and not die off – because we can handle most anything.  It’s why we can have such diverse diets and cultures.  That’s amazing for human evolution, but not for your workout.  You need to mix it up to keep getting results.

Switch from White Grains to Brown Ones

Yes, all grains.  No white rice.  No white flour.  Processed flours are bad for your body in so many big and little ways.  They mess with your insulin sensitivity, increasing your likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and (wait for it…) fat storage.  I’m not saying give up carbs entirely, just switch out any white for wheat or multi-grain.  It’s simple, easy, and other than when you’re at the market you don’t even have to think about it.

Cut Back on the Booze

Telling some people not to drink would be like telling a gym addict to take a week off… just not gana happen.  But cutting back is more doable.  If you regularly consume alcohol try to cut back to half of what you’re drinking.  Beer & “lady drinks” have a ton of sugary calories; mixing them with alcohol causes more of that sugar to be converted to fat that a ‘virgin’ drink would.  Cutting back on the booze will help cut calories and re-calibrate your metabolism.

Charge Up Your Meals!

I hear a lot from people that they just flat out don’t know what to eat or in what portions.  Super charge your meals by starting with the most important parts: every time you sit down to eat ask yourself “what are my veggies and what is my protein?”  If the answer to either is “I don’t have any” than you’re doing it wrong! Every meal should have a vegetable and a protein – for the vegetarians out there this can be beans, legumes, soy, or any number of other options.  For us meat lovers (myself included) it can mean grain fed beef, poultry, pork, or any of the veggie options.

When it comes to the vegetable side of the plate broccoli & spinach are two of the best foods you can eat.  Can you remember the last time you had them?  No?  Add them in.  If you eat out often just ask for a side of veggies.  If you’re eating at home, just heat up some frozen broccoli.

Split This Into Two Steps

If your life is just too much right now but you have to do something than split this step into 2… add veggies to what you’re currently eating, then worry about protein in 2 weeks.  Eat the change food first!  If you’re taking the time to add in vegetables they should be the first thing in your mouth.  This will help you cut back on the empty calories and make sure you’re getting more of the good stuff.

Take the Stairs or Walk to Work

We’ve all heard this one a million times.  You know what to do.

Cut Out Sugar (or cut way back)

This is actually a big one that can be hard for some people.  Save this one for later.

Regular sugar isn’t great for you in the amount we consume it.  Artificial and modifies sugars are awful for you. Period.  Your body is not meant to process that much glucose.

Cut Back on Caffeine

Few people consider the delicate chemistry of their own body when making food choices.  Just like every other micro-system in the universe our bodies have their own pH.  The human body thrives best when we’re alkaline and this balance can be upset by what we eat and drink and other factors we introduce into the microcosm of our bodies.  One sure-fire way to make yourself more acidic is introducing coffee into the mix.

Caffeine in itself does not have as direct as an impact as coffee (especially poorly dried and aged coffee), but when you consider caffeine as a stimulant and that stimulants affect on your sleep, mood, and behavior you’ll want to limit yourself.

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