In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long ...View Article
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Take Baby Steps to Health
If you were to start reading all the books on nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc. you would go into so much overload that your brain would explode, so don't do it. That does not mean that I want you to ignore working toward a healthy lifestyle. Let's face it, if you don't want to wind up an old broken down mess, you are going to have to start doing better, just don't go overboard, take baby steps.
OK, so I eat strange things like garbanzo pancakes. In fact, I occasionally have to remind myself that compared with the rest of the world I AM NOT NORMAL. Actually, I did start out as the typical teenager who ate pizza and French fries as the staples of my diet. Exercise consisted of going dancing on the weekend. Drinking and smoking were the norm well into my late 20's. So how did I make all these wonderful changes? Baby steps.
I used to drink zero water and mostly soda. I got off the soda habit by switching to fruit juice. Once I got off the soda, it was easier to switch from juice to water. Although I now drink mostly water, I try to juice carrots every day. I also drink Bragg's Apple cider vinegar drink (I cup water, 1-2 tablespoons Bragg's apple cider vinegar, honey, stevia or agave nectar to sweeten). This did not happen over night. It took years to get to this point and I still have to remind myself to drink water.
Yes just like everyone, my tongue loves junk food. It is just that my body does not. No matter how healthy you eat, you can always kick it up a notch. I suggest that you do just that. If you usually eat chips, try eating nuts instead. Yes, raw almonds would be the best choice, but if you are kicking up a notch, jumping from chips to raw almonds just is not going to do it for most of you. Once you get the chips out of the picture you can always trade in the Planter's peanuts for something better, like fresh fruit. Someday, you can up that to raw veggies, nuts, and seeds. But the idea here is to do what you are willing to do. Baby steps.
If you are not a junk food junkie, but eat the Standard American Diet (AKA SAD) then try getting rid of pork products, add more raw veggies and eliminate anything that says, "enriched." The book, "The Maker's Diet," by Jordan S. Rubin is an excellent source for good sound diet suggestions. It is based on the Bible, which is always a good foundation! You do not have to do it all, but doing any part of it will be a good step in the right direction. Doing it all would be wonderful. I have had patients change their life by following that book, but most of you are not willing to change that much that fast. So do what you will and continue to improve it little at a time. Baby steps.
If you are a total couch potato, then parking your car in the back of the parking lot is a big step for you. I don't expect anyone to go from zero to 60 in 3 seconds, but what are you willing to do? Do that. Once you are walking a bit, maybe you will be willing to do it more often, even walk the mall. So yes, I do try to ride my bike as many places as I can and I have a personal trainer at the gym three times a week, but that is not how I started. The truth be told, I do not exercise as much as I would like. Exercise should consist of muscle training, aerobics, and stretching. I fall very short on the aerobics and stretching, but I am working toward doing better... Baby steps.
Meditation each day is a wonderful way to keep all your ducks lined up in a row. Most people don't take any time for quiet. We are so busy running from one place to the next. If you don't take any time, then try stopping for 60 seconds before each meal and give that moment to you. You might even want to say a little prayer of thanks while you are at it. I started linking seeing a flock of birds to letting God know how much I appreciate all his good work. So now when I see a flock of birds, I stop and say thanks. Perhaps the sound of a child laughing will be your reminder to smile. Whatever it is, stop for just a moment and be grateful and quiet. It is a baby step, but for many, it is a big step.
Meditation for the masters means clearing your mind for a good 30 minutes everyday. My mind is not that highly trained. It likes to wonder and wander. So when I can, I try to spend some quiet time thinking about being in my favorite place or doing a favorite activity. I like to mentally take a walk down the beach, you know, daydream. I feel the sand under my feet, the wind and surf caressing my skin, I smell the salt water, I hear the birds and crashing waves and I see a variety of wonderful things along the way. You can spend a few minutes doing this and lower your blood pressure. It is amazingly healthy.
When you feel depressed spend a few minutes imagining you just won the lottery. When you find yourself thinking about something that makes you sad or angry, stop and think about something that makes you happy. It is your mind, and you are the only one with a key to it. So stop thinking crappy thoughts and give yourself the treat you deserve. You used to daydream all the time and it was usually a happier time in your life. You still have an imagination, you just have to dust it off and remember to use it.
No matter where you are on the path to health, you can always do better. When you do too much too fast you tend not to do it for long. The idea is to make permanent improvements. Unfortunately, most people need something to go wrong before they are motivated to make changes. So think about this: Do you feel good? I don't mean do you not feel bad. Do you feel good? Do you have more energy than you know what to do with? Can you bound up a few flights of stairs and not be out of breath? Do you wake up in the morning raring to go? Is a smile part of your usual appearance? If you are not bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you should be. The Lord intended us to live life joyously. Health and happiness are part of that.
You can't do everything at once, but you can do something now. Do that something. A baby step on the way to health is still a step on the way to health.
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