Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking, or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
"Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine," says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. "They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change."
Here are 10 to try:
1. Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra kgs. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly.
2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
3. Consume more water. The average person consumes less than 1 litre of water per day and that is nowhere close to the recommended 8 glasses (250ml per glass). Remaining hydrated helps to lubricate the body's cells and remove toxins that build up. Remaining hydrated will also keep you fuller for longer, which in turn will help you keep your weight down.
4. Switch three-grain servings each day to whole grain. If you're like the average person, you eat less than one whole grain servings a day.
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits and you can add a salad to any of your meals.
6. Cut the sugar. Add sugars and hidden sugars account for a large part of calories consumed and we don't even know it. Reducing sugars in our diet can reduce inflammation and can make a big change to your weight.
7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle, or bowl, the less you will eat.
9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less.
Hope these 10 small steps to get your health on track. Get out there and get started!