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Tuesday, 05 April 2016 14:44

My 6 Top Tips for Living Healthy

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For me, living healthy is an active plan. I have to work at it. It takes time to shop for good food, make healthy meals, exercise, manage my stress, and so on. Sometimes I feel strong and the healthy living comes more easily. Other times, I'm low in willpower and I need all of the help I can get. Here are a few ideas of what helps me stay on track.

1. Do it with a buddy.
I am definitely more likely to get out for my run or walk (or insert exercise here) when I schedule to meet a friend. In fact, in about 20 minutes, I'm heading out to meet my friend Christy for a run. I can definitely say that if I weren't scheduled to meet her today, I would skip the run to finish this newsletter instead!

The same thing applies to eating well. My co-worker Traci and I have started the Whole 30 eating plan today. She and I have been texting today about what meals we are planning for the week and because we are doing it together, she will bring food for me and I will bring food for her. I would not have the momentum or motivation if I weren't doing it with a friend.

What are you wanting to do more of? Eat well, exercise, reduce stress? Who can you ask to do it with you?

2. Track yourself.
Many patients I work with have great success with tracking what they eat or when they exercise. Tracking can come in many forms. You can use a piece of paper and write it down. You could print out or buy a calendar and track it there. There are also some great fitness programs like My Fitness Pal which tracks what you eat and you can log your exercise, too.

Personally, I am in love with my FitBit. I just bought the new FitBit Blaze. I've set my goal for 10,000 steps per day and my watch tells me how close I am. I am motivated to walk a little more at the end of the day if I haven't yet met my goal. The cool thing about FitBit is that you can participate in challenges with your friends. I'm in a Work Week Hustle challenge with some of my friends and family. It shows how many steps we each have and tracks us for the week. You get notices like "Alan pulled past Chanelle for first place" and you can cheer each other on.

3. Help yourself.
When I am in a low willpower state, it is best for me to not have any temptation food in the house. Since I am now starting on this Whole 30 plan for the month, I packed up a bag of any unapproved foods that I know would be tempting and I gave them to a friend. They might still be edible in a month, but I don't need them as a daily test of my willpower. I might have a craving, but if I don't have the food in the house, it makes it one step easier for me to resist!

The same goes for working out. Some clients say it helps them to pack their gym clothes with them because they know if they go home at the end of the work day to change, they won't get themselves back out again.

What are the things you can do to help set yourself up for success?

4. Remember that small steps count.
I will often hear people say that they don't have a big enough time chunk in their day to get to the gym, so they just opt not to go. Every movement counts! Even if you can take three 10 minutes walks throughout the day. That matters! Even if you only have time to do one minute of deep breathing, that can change what is happening in your body physiologically! Even if you skip a few extra bites of the dessert you have indulged in, that counts! It all adds up. No step forward toward healthy living is too small.

5. Think about the why
I've seen people have the most success with sustainable change when they tap into their "why". Why do you want to eat healthier, exercise more, manage your stress? Do you want to live longer? Keep up with your kids? Fit into your wardrobe again? Regain your self confidence? Whatever the reason, tapping into the why can help you see the long term goal and help you stay strong and motivated.

For me, I want to give myself my best chance for health to beat the odds from my high risk of getting cancer. That's what keeps me on this quest. Plus, when I am exercising and eating well I feel happy, vibrant, alive, and confident. Who doesn't want more of that in their life?!

6. Stay true to you.
People sometimes feel that others derail them or they feel pressured to get off course. I like this advice from the Whole 30 program. "You never, ever, ever have to eat anything you don't want to eat. Just because it's your sister's birthday, or your best friend's wedding, or your company picnic does not mean you have to eat anything." Remember, it's always a choice. YOUR choice. You are the one who has the most benefit to advocate for you. You are the one who most reaps the rewards!

What helps you?
Which of these ideas can you try? What other ideas do you have for keeping on track with healthy living? Reply to this email or post on the blog page and let us know!

In my book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, I write: "People often think that living healthy means sacrifice, but when healthy living comes from within--from your values, beliefs, and vision you have for yourself--eating well and making lifestyle changes doesn't feel like a sacrifice. It feels like a privilege, an active choice, and simply your new way of life." I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

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Dina Colman, MA, MBA is an award-winning author, healthy living coach, and founder of Four Quadrant Living. Her Amazon Top 100 book, Four Quadrant Living: Making Healthy Living Your New Way of Life, guides readers to make healthy living a part of their daily lives, leading to greater health, vitality, and happiness. Contact Dina at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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