It’s been a full year now since I started making some small changes, that added up to big results in my life. Everything from cleaning out my Facebook friends list, being more mindful of the words coming out of my mouth, to putting an end to drive-thru lunches and sugary soda. While seeing those before/after photos in magazines and Instagram can seem equally inspiring and daunting, I want to share how simple it is to get started your healthy lifestyle started. Small steps, remember, can turn into big results. The point is to keep on stepping!
1. Start moving. I started a year ago simply by committing to taking the dog for a walk in the mornings before the kids were up for school. Sure, I missed days due to weather or my own excuses, but it was something I hadn’t committed to before, and I’m sure the dog was just as shocked as I was! I also got a fitness tracker to keep track of my steps and quickly learned how sedentary I am because of my job working at home. I still, one year later, struggle to reach 10,000 steps many days but that’s OK. I’m aware and working to improve that.
2. Be mindful of what you’re putting in your body. Using an online calorie counter was eye-opening for me because I quickly saw how many calories I was eating, when I wasn’t hungry to begin with! You can enter in your height, weight, activity level outside of working out (yep, sedentary for this gal) and your weight-loss goals. You then have a calorie goal to aim for daily. I also started learning how, for example, protein is going to be more filling than a sugar filled donut which helped in my weight-loss. I also learned the benefit of keeping my body healthy and happy through the use of daily vitamins and products like Align probiotics.
Taking a probiotic supplement like Align once a day provides probiotic bacteria that contribute to a natural healthy intestinal flora. Align is a daily probiotic supplement that provides live bacteria to benefit health, relieving and managing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) like abdominal discomfort, gas and bloating. It’s the #1 Gastroenterologist Recommended Probiotic supplement (recommended 3X more than any other probiotic)* which means it’s the go-to for many Canadians.
In fact, healthy people who are interested in promoting their digestive wellness would benefit from taking Align. With continued daily use, Align helps provide good bacteria that form part of the natural healthy gut flora, to help support a healthy digestive system and maintain digestive balance. I did a 14 day challenge using Align last month and decided that I happen to like the non-bloated look very much, so am continuing it currently.
3. Treat yourself well! I don’t have cheat days and I don’t punish myself if I go (way!) over my calories on any given day. Because my focus isn’t a daily goal but rather an overall lifestyle change, having a day when I’m not perfect is totally fine. Likewise, I ensure I find ways to motivate myself – whether it’s booking a family vacation on a beach, a new shirt I saw last weekend shopping or maybe Friday night drinks with friends. Love yourself, and with practice and focus, there will be a few pounds less to love by the end of the summer!
4. Rest. Trying to do it all, in a very short time-span, is a recipe for disaster. Rest days are mentioned a lot on social media for a reason – when taking on a new activity, especially if you’re sedentary, is a bit of a shock to your body. Sore muscles and fatigue are one thing, but an injury is an entirely different thing to deal with and can set you back on your progress. Ensure you’re also getting enough sleep. While the TV show binge you’re currently on rewards you with knowing “what happens next” before anyone else at the office, the bags under your eyes are seen before your vast TV knowledge. Try going to sleep – and yes that means turning off your phone – a half hour earlier for a week, then a half hour earlier a week or two after that. See how you feel with an additional hour of sleep in a few weeks!
5. Don’t drink your calories, but do drink your water! Again, once I started counting calories and learning about food, I was so angered by seeing how many calories I was simply sipping – without realizing the impact! Experts recommend a basic rule of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (the 8×8 rule). I love using a water bottle with measurements to keep me on track, but find that it’s also a good rule of thumb to drink a glass of water when I’m feeling like I need a snack. Often, that can make me hold off a little longer, or I’ll get sidetracked onto some other task and forget about the snack entirely.
Hopefully these few tips I’ve learned along the way will be helpful to you on your journey too!
I created this post as a paid ambassador for Align® Probiotic. All opinions and advice are my own.