This post is a part of the Summer Fun Fit tour – the virtual tour for the book 21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life) – I’m currently reading the book right now and am super psyched to host the author Helen M. Ryan for her guest post about how small changes can do big things!
Your pants are a bit tight, your running mileage has dropped, or you’re feeling tired all the time. You know you should do something about it, but you’re so busy.
You want to revamp your diet, go to the gym, or get a massage, but time gets away from you, as it does with all of us, and the weeks drag on. What can you do to improve your health in the little time you do have right now? Plenty!
Making small changes each and every day can really improve your health—and your life. Don’t wait until you have that elusive block of time or better willpower. Start today. Start small. You only have one life, one health and ‘one shot,’ as Eminem would say. Time’s a-wastin’.
1. Fit in workouts.
You might not have one solid hour in a day to work out, so find pockets of ‘secret’ time. 30 minutes of moderate activity daily is what’s recommended for health but you don’t’ have to do it all at once. Just try to fit something in: do dips on a low wall or sturdy chair until your triceps scream. Squat until your thighs wave the white flag. Go for a brisk walk. Do three separate sets of pushups throughout the day, or three separate sets of planks. Whatever it is, fitting in several 3-10 minutes bursts in a day is really fairly easy.
Work for a shorter period of time, but hard, and you will be amazed at how good you feel.
2. Eat breakfast, even when on the run.
Pick a protein with a complex carbohydrate or fruit to break your all-night fast, fuel your brain and stop afternoon binge-eating. Try for 20-30 grams of protein, even if you opt for a self-made smoothie (or try my coffee breakfast smoothie: nonfat milk, coffee ice cubes, protein powder, and stevia. Caffeine plus protein equals breakfast love.)
3. A smart coffee swap.
Change out a cup (or two) of your daily coffee with a cup (or two) of green tea. Studies have shown green tea, high in antioxidants, can help lower cholesterol, burn fat, and potentially has heart-healthy and cancer reducing benefits. All teas are good, though, so if green’s not for you, stick to the black or white. Just drink up.
4. Indulge in power foods.
Power foods can boost your immunity, lower your stress, help you lose weight and improve your health overall. What to add to your diet? Dark chocolate, almonds, beans, broccoli and spinach, Greek yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, and berries (fresh or frozen).
5. Drop 15 pounds with barely an effort.
Cut back 100 calories a day (have a lighter version of your coffee, cut out the afternoon bagel, or nix soda) and then burn an additional 100 calories a day (a 30 minute walk or a 15 minute power workout) and you could find yourself 15-20 lighter pounds in a year— doing nothing else. Less weight may result in better health, and you’ll feel better, look better and have more energy.
Incorporate these little tips into your day to live a longer, happier life. Sweat the small stuff now, so you don’t have to sweat the big stuff (illness later).
Helen M. Ryan is the author of “21 Days to Change Your Body (and Your Life).” She believes that small steps really do yield big results. A certified fitness professional who lost over 80 pounds, Helen teaches Spinning and photographs rock concerts in her free time. Visit her blog at www.realworldweightloss.com, or follow her on Twitter at @aspinchick.