Slow and steady wins the race. It's a very true and important phrase... especially in the wellness arena.
I know there are many grandiose advertisements out there -- catchy come-ons that promise you will "get healthy, lose weight, and drop 5 sizes in 30 days!" The reality is that in order to achieve such a drastic change a drastic change has to be made by you.
For example, if you have never exercised before and commit to 2 hours in the gym every day for 30 days, you will see big differences. However, once the novelty wears off (and it typically will about 4 weeks into your resolution) your everyday life kicks in again.
We soon lose any gains we've made and we become disappointed and discouraged.
With that being said, if you commit to small lifestyle changes you can still get tremendous health and wellness benefits. By leaps and bounds you are far more likely to stick with it.
In Wellness, Attitude is Everything
One of the most import things I can stress to anyone is that many times the difference between people who succeed at achieving wellness and the people who do not is attitude.
Wellness is a state of mind. A lesson I try to teach my clients with diabetes is to move from saying, "I am a diabetic" to "I am a person that has diabetes." The difference? Saying and believing you are a diabetic gives the disease the power -- you end up with a feeling of no control.
Once you have control you can have change.
Physical Activity is a Must
Got 30 minutes a day to spare? That's the length of one sitcom or half a Law & Order episode. It's also the recommended amount of moderate activity a person needs 5 times a week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.
If you want to streamline, try 20 minutes of vigorous activity just 3 times a week. That too will do the trick.
Strength training twice weekly is also recommended for added benefit.
The beauty of this plan is that you do not need to do all 30 minutes in a single session. Three 10-minute bouts of activity throughout the day is totally acceptable!
I am a big believer of never telling anyone that they can't have something. Truthfully, it's my experience that if I say no to Oreos, it only makes things worse.
I subscribe to the adage everything in moderation.
What does that mean exactly? Well, it means if you want an Oreo, have an Oreo... but please do not munch your way through an entire row!
Everything in moderation also means incorporating fruits and vegetables whenever you can, cutting back on processed foods and sugars, and filling up on whole grain breads and pastas. Keep red meat to a minimum and spend some more time getting to know lean chicken and fish.
Teach yourself to know what makes a better and more reasonable choice when cravings strike.
Peace of Mind
Total Wellness doesn't just involve your body; it also involves your mind.
While I am a huge proponent of fitness, I have learned it's important to exercise the mind as well.
Try new things, like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. The deeper you can relax the better.
One of the leading causes of obesity is stress. Know how to fight it and you will be one giant step closer to your ultimate wellness goals.
Last week, I posted a blog about metabolism. That too contained some of the small steps you can take to make big strides with your health. If you missed it, no worry -- click here and read it now.
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit OscarandOtis.com.