Small Steps Become Big Strides

Jan. 1 now seems like the distant past, and many of our well-intended New Year’s resolutions have faded and disappeared. Change is hard…really hard! Dieting options, gym memberships, and just basic healthy lifestyle choices are falling victim to the daily routines of living life. Work and family commitments usually trump personal choices and pleasures.

Perhaps a simpler and better game plan is the winner here. Let’s make some small steps first.

WALK

The easiest one is exercise. For many people this is just a “four letter word.” I don’t mean training for, and running, a marathon, but rather, just walking. Walk to the store and even consider using a backpack to carry your purchases. This would be the ultimate “win-win.” However, if you need to drive, choose the farthest space in the parking lot. Save the closer spaces in the lot for those who really need them, or perhaps just don’t get it yet.

STAIRS

When deciding between taking the elevator or the stairs, the choice should be obvious—especially since climbing stairs is better than descending them for your cardiovascular system. If you feel like running, make it social and do it with friends. Soon it will become a routine and a way to catch up on life. Consider forming a neighborhood walking or running group, which will be a great way to get acquainted with your neighbors.

EAT

Eating healthy, dieting, or whatever you want to call it, is all about calories. However, you can be smarter. Eat most of your calories earlier in the day while you are active and can efficiently use them, rather than storing them into fat. Try smaller and frequent meals, which will keep your metabolism rolling along.

Avoid eating so much at one time until you achieve that sense of fullness when you eat. Once you get full, you are too late—you’ve already eaten too much. Our bodies are not good at getting the signals through in time and telling us when enough is enough. If you like carbohydrates, check out items that are low on the Glycemic Index, since they metabolize more efficiently and don’t make our bodies’ Insulin levels scream into high-gear, causing calorie storage into fat.

Whenever choosing a diet plan other than moderation, you should seek out proper medical consultation.

Whatever you choose to do, remember that you didn’t get to where you are at now in a day, a week or a month. Change is a process and not a moment in time. Life and family can be consuming, and at times overwhelming. Begin with small steps and over time your changes will become a better and healthier life for you and those who count on you. These healthful steps now will enhance the quality and quantity of years ahead as you stride through life.

Written by Michael Lutz, 2016 Michigan Fitness Ambassador

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