Small Changes to Upgrade Your Health

From Better Homes & Gardens

Here's a secret: it's easier to outsmart human nature than to overcome it. To do that, try these easy-to-adopt habits to help you live healthier every day.

Pack your workout clothes.

Keep a grab-and-go set of workout clothes or walking gear nearby at all times. That makes it easy to be spontaneous about working out whenever you have a moment. When you have a pair of sneakers in the car, you can take a walk around the sports field while watching your kids play soccer, baseball or other outdoor sports. Ask other parents to join you, and you have the beginnings of a walking club.

Adjust your portions. 

Fill half a 10-inch plate with vegetables or fruit, a quarter with whole grains and the remaining quarter with lean protein, such as fish or chicken. Downsizing is an easy way to cut calories.

Relax your forehead.

Your forehead is like a mood ring, immediately displaying whether you are relaxed or tense. And long-term stress can affect your health in all sorts of untoward ways. Try breathing slowly and deeply. Close your eyes and pay close attention to your breath going in and out. Relax the muscles in your forehead and around your eyes. Then, allow your concentration to move to your cheek and jaw muscles, relaxing them too. Continue to move your concentration down along your neck to your shoulders, focusing on letting go of any tightness and pain you feel. Remember to keep breathing slowly and deeply. Practice this twice a day for about five minutes each time.

Take a healthy cooking class.

When you have the skills—and recipes—available to you to make healthy meals, it can have a significant impact on your health.

Stop "all or nothing" thinking.

For example, you might think, "since I don't have a free half hour, I'll skip my walk today." Or, "since I ate fried chicken for lunch, my diet is blown and I might as well eat whatever I want for supper." It's far better for you to say, "I don't have a free half hour today, but I can walk for 10 minutes." And if you fall off the good-food wagon, just hop back on again.

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