Small Changes that Make a Big Impact

By: Megan Landean, M. Ed.

If someone asked you to completely change everything you do throughout the day, you’d probably think they were crazy, right? So why do people have this mentality when it comes to resolutions every year? We think “Okay, I’m going to throw out all this bad/unhealthy food in my cabinets then go buy fruits and vegetables and whole grains and all this healthy stuff" or "I'm going to go to the gym for an hour every single day this year". Not only is this silly, but it has been proven time and time again to end in burnout and/or failure. You're also more likely to not only gain back the weight you lost from this hardcore health kick, but also gain additional weight when you “relapse” back into the unhealthy patterns.

So then what do you do?

Have patience. In a world where everything is needed right away, it can be easy to lose sight of this. You also need to understand and appreciate that small changes = big differences. Know that you aren't alone! Even the healthiest of people will falter from their healthy ways every once and awhile, and that’s okay! The little things really are the way to fall in love with being healthy- without the burnout or relapses.

Here are some of the top ways you can tinker with your every day habits that, with a little patience, will result in a big impact.

Break up Your Exercise

Want to get the heart rate up a little bit and add to your physical activity for the day? Take the stairs instead of the elevator! Park further away when out shopping, or bike to work if you’re close enough (or still going into the office!). The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) stated that exercise doesn't need to come all at once- you can break up your sessions into smaller chunks throughout the day.

Trilogy tip: Every hour stand up and do 10 push-ups, 20 squats and 100 jumping jacks. Not only will this help your body and heart, but it'll get the blood flowing to your brain too- improving cognition (and there's your argument for if your boss is wondering where you run off to every hour!).

Wake and Drank

What's the first thing you reach for in the morning (other than the snooze button)? Chances are it's probably coffee. Now, I will never tell someone to stop drinking coffee- I'm not insane. However, I will tell someone to delay the first sip. Instead of having coffee be the first thing you drink in the morning, have it be a nice tall glass of water.

Drinking water first thing in the morning will help in multiple ways:

#1: Improve concentration, alertness and short-term memory.

#2: You'll burn extra calories.

#3: You'll feel more full, so you'll be less likely to overconsume.

Trilogy tip: Have an empty glass on your nightstand or next to your coffee pot to remind yourself to have water before coffee.

Schedule Sleep

Sleep is a beautiful thing. But somehow a good nights sleep eludes many of us. For many, sleep is a backburner concept, it gets moved out of the way when something else pops us. We schedule meetings, we schedule times to eat, why shouldn't we schedule time to sleep? Getting at least 6 hours of sleep per night will improve your mind and body in the following ways:

#1: Reduce risk for heart disease.

#2: Reduce severity of headaches.

#3: Promote of weight loss.

#4: Reduce inflammation throughout the body.

#5: Better stress management, live longer and less likely to procrastinate.

Trilogy tip: Don't jump to go to sleep hours before you normally do. Start slow. Go to sleep 15 minutes before you normally do every night, then after a week or so do 30 minutes and so on. You're body will adjust naturally and start to get tired earlier.

Swap White for Wheat

Most people can tell you that wheat is healthier than white…but why? Well, products that are white have some pretty important nutrients processed out of them- nutrients that aid in digestion, weight management and more. Wheat products contain fiber, vitamins b6 and e, zinc and more! Wheat products are also more filling, so you'll be less likely to reach for another serving. Filling up on less plus extra vitamins and minerals?! Yes please!

Trilogy tip: Don't like the taste of wheat? Start by adding a small amount of wheat products to your white products, then half, then three quarters, then before you know it you’re eating all wheat!

Relax

Chances are you haven't had much alone time in the past year with everyone working, going to school and living at home. Not having a moment to yourself can cause a buildup of stress, which contributes to high blood pressure, obesity and more.

Take at least 15 minutes each day to wind down, unplug and relax. Whether that’s meditation, coloring, closing your eyes, reading, whatever. Spend that time on yourself to destress and re-center yourself in an otherwise crazy and hectic world. Not sure what to do? Check out this mega list of ideas!

Trilogy tip: Associate something exciting with your alone time. Example: Using an super cuddly and soft blanket only when you're having your relaxing alone moments.

Go Naturally Sweet

As we should already know, added sugars aren’t the best thing we can put in our bodies. They can cause cavities, digestive issues, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and more. But it's crazy to say that we can never eat anything sweet ever again! Instead, curb your sweet tooth by going natural. Fresh fruit or dark chocolate are some top picks. These are natural sugars that also have antioxidants in them. You can even combine them: hello frozen dark chocolate dipped bananas!

Trilogy tip: Don't completely get rid of all the things you love. Reward yourself every once and a while with a indulging comfort, or only associate them with certain things. Example: I love Swedish butter cookies, but I only have them at Christmas.

Don’t Go 200%

We've all been there. We set our goals on a healthy and fit new year, go to the gym then end up so sore for the next week that we don't want to move, let alone go back to the place that caused all this pain. If you haven't worked out in a while, going all out on your first day back is probably not the best move. Doing this will only put you at a higher risk for injury. Start out with bouts of exercise, slower pacing and lighter weights. You'll enjoy your workout more, have less soreness and be more likely to stick with your program.

Trilogy tip: Exercise is not one size fits all. We each have our own set of goals to achieve and hurdles to overcome. Before you start your exercise program, talk with a trainer or other healthcare professional to figure out the best strategy for you.

Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn't a race to be won. It's a journey. These tips are meant to keep you happy and healthy for well beyond 2021.

For more information reach out today!