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Need a 2013 Goal? Forget “Lose Weight” – Actions Anyone Can Take for a Healthier Life

Here are some ideas for simple actions a person can take to live a healthier life.  When we choose to focus on our actions and habits instead of focusing on a fickle and unpredictable outcome, such as losing weight, we take back our power over our lives.  Don’t be at the mercy of the scale.  Focus on the habits you can control every day in your life.  I’m not suggesting anyone tackle all of these at once.  Perhaps choose just one and work on that until it becomes comfortable then add another.  Or consider choosing one food-related, one movement-related, and one self-image related goal.  Many small steps taken consistently over time add up to big results toward living a happier, healthier life.

  1. replace sugary drinks with water or unsweetened tea
  2. try a new vegetable once a week
  3. include fruits or vegetables with every meal
  4. start the day with a healthy breakfast
  5. cook one new recipe from scratch per week
  6. pack your lunch and bring it to work instead of going out
  7. reduce or eliminate foods containing High Fructose Corn Syrup or artificial sweeteners
  8. quit smoking (so much more important than your weight!)
  9. drink less alcoholic beverages
  10. take a walk every day, 5 days a week, or 3 days a week (start slow and build up)
  11. look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself every day
  12. 1 day a week, choose an unexplored area near you and go for a hike (urban or nature)
  13. get regular sleep
  14. try a new physical activity that sounds fun to you
  15. schedule at least 1 hour of “me” time a week and use it to do something you enjoy that relaxes you
  16. commit to one vegetarian day a week and explore vegetable-based cooking (everyone can stand more vegetables in my book, vegan or omnivore)
  17. keep a journal and write down what you are thinking about and feeling at times when you strongly desire to binge eat but are not physically hungry.
  18. sit less. if you work at a desk, set a timer and get up every 20 minutes, even if it’s just to stretch. Better yet, take a walk around your office. When you’re on the phone, stand up.
  19. when buying processed foods, choose products that contain ingredients you understand or 5 ingredients or less
  20. commit to shopping at your local farmers market whenever possible or joining a CSA
  21. take the stairs instead of the elevator
  22. park as far away from the store as possible and walk
  23. don’t drive everywhere, walk if you can
  24. prepare a large batch of something on the weekend you can easily reheat for meals during the week
  25. instead of delivery pizza, try making your own at home with fresh ingredients
  26. seek out healthier version of the things you love to eat
  27. reduce or eliminate foods containing partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils
  28. sign up for an event like a 5K walk or run and train for it
  29. replace negative thoughts about the way your body looks with positive thoughts about the things your body can do
  30. reduce your consumption of media that only celebrates perfect airbrushed bodies (magazines, television, online, etc)
  31. subscribe to healthy recipe blogs, newsletters, or facebook pages
  32. if you are beginning an exercise program, keep track of the positive improvements in your performance (being able to continue longer or harder)
  33. stop self-deprecating talk
  34. stop talking about other people’s weight or body size
  35. stop comparing yourself to others
  36. donate or put away clothing that does not fit and flatter you right now
  37. prepare vegetables and fruits ahead of time so you have healthy, easy to grab snacks ready when you want to munch something
  38. watch less television
  39. take a walk on your lunch break at work (perhaps with a coworker!)
  40. if you have certain foods you find you binge eat, don’t keep those foods around your home
  41. take a cooking class
  42. eat 1 salad a day with dinner or lunch
  43. eat meals off of smaller plates and bowls, then wait 15-20 minutes before deciding if you want to eat more
  44. commit to not cleaning your plate.  Even if you leave just one bite behind, you are teaching yourself you are in control of how much you eat, not the size of your plate.
  45. when you eat something indulgent, eat it slowly and enjoy it, guilt free.  Then move on.
  46. try a video game that requires you to stand up and move
  47. join a gym or yoga studio and commit to a certain number of workouts per week
  48. choose a different type of ethnic food each month, and explore healthy, veggie-heavy recipes from that culture’s cuisine (you may discover a love of certain flavors and spices this way)
  49. take up a new hobby that is outdoors or a hobby that keeps you occupied when watching television (less mindless snacking)
  50. every day, turn on some music you love and dance when nobody is watching

10 thoughts on “Need a 2013 Goal? Forget “Lose Weight” – Actions Anyone Can Take for a Healthier Life

  1. I like these ideas! The only one I personally disagree with is not keeping binge foods in the house. As a recovering binge eater, the way I’ve made binge foods glitter *LESS* is by stocking those foods in my house, keeping more than I could possibly conceive of eating, and then restocking when it’s gone. Eventually, I could trust myself with these foods, because I knew they were always available to me, & I was no longer restricting them. Blessings!

    1. Then that one would not be one I would recommend you choose 🙂 Personally, I just stopped buying potato chips altogether. I haven’t bought them in more than 4 years. Once I realized they were unappealing to me unless I could eat the whole bag, I decided not to buy them and keep them in my house anymore. If I want a chip, I’ll certainly have a single serving or get them with my sandwich when out, but for me they serve no purpose and generally make me feel crappy. I’m at peace with not buying potato chips.

    2. Getting out of the mindset that some foods are bad things I can never have has been extremely helpful for me – and I’ve gotten there primarily by deliberately including ice cream, a former binge food, in my home and diet. For my mother this doesn’t work at all. If there are 16 bags of chips in the house, you better believe she’ll eat all of them within a few days. For her it’s not a fix for scarcity, it’s a temptation.

  2. Yes I agree, this is a good list. If you incorporate a few things on this list you’ll be doing better. This list will help identify some of our bad habits. 🙂

  3. I love this list and several of these is what lead to my success too. People don’t realize how “simple” it is if they are willing to make changes and stick to them. 🙂

  4. I love this! A couple of these are among my new year’s resolutions this year. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m finding your blog/facebook page really inspiring!

  5. Great list! I do a lot of these. For example, my strange veg of the week from the farmers market. I think it’s the biggest and oldest in the country, and I’ve been going ~15 years and still see new things. I’m more likely to try new leaves than strange roots or unidentifiable plant parts, but occasionally I take a chance.

    I think the two things that help with my lifestyle most are minimizing eating out, and biking/walking most places that I go (within 5-6 miles, anyway).

    And I’m with you on the chips – I enjoy them occasionally when I can have a single serving, but will eat to excess if they’re in the house.

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