Time Out for Healthy Living

Kelly is driving down a dangerous road. With kids, a full time job, running the household, an executive husband who travels a lot, and studying to get more university credits, Kelly’s health habits have really gone downhill recently. She doesn’t have time for breakfast, snacks by 10 a.m. on something sugary to get her energy up, usually grabs fast food or skips lunch altogether, and suppertime is so hectic, because the family is busy with evening activities. She doesn’t make time to exercise regularly, struggles to balance emotions with good parenting, and consequently is exhausted all the time. Help! Does this sound like someone you know….maybe even you?

This is a very familiar situation that many people find themselves in. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. I have a hunch that you know what you should be doing, it’s just that you need a little help and perspective getting “on track” with your health goals. Let’s go through a 10 minute assessment of your needs and goals for making improvements in your lifestyle. Get a pen and paper and let’s start!

WHAT IS THE “END RESULT” (GOAL) AT WHICH YOU’RE AIMING?

If you know what you want, specifically and clearly, then the likelihood of getting it is much higher than if you are vague.

What do you want?

How will you know when you’ve gotten there? (What is your measuring system for success?)

DISCOVER THE POSSIBILITIES

What have you already tried?

What could you do differently, that might help you get better results?

REMOVE THE BARRIERS

What roadblocks do you see or know about?( ie. social commitments on your calendar) that may interrupt your focus off your goal?

PLAN THE ACTION

How soon can you address the roadblocks and what action steps will you put in place?

Do you need anyone else to make this work? Who can support you?

REVIEW AND DECIDE ON THE NEXT STEP

What do you plan to have happen over the next week?

How do you like your solution?

What kind of priority will you give this?

This framework can work for any area of your life. If you’re trying to regain control over your health habits, take it one step at a time. From the brief scenario described with Kelly’s situation, there would be a few things I suggest would be easy to implement into your day, to make significant improvements right away.

1. Eat breakfast. Eating with your kids is the best option, it sets a good lifestyle choice example that will become a permanent habit for them as well. If you can’t take time to “eat”, whip up a fruit smoothie (fresh fruit, yogurt or milk, ice, fruit juice in a blender) to tote along to the office. If coffee is a regular habit, try decaf…same flavour, without sapping your body of nutrients. Your blood sugar levels will be more balanced through the morning, and by taking some fruit along, and incorporating that into your daily nutritional intake, you’ll stabilize your energy, as well as nourish your body with great fuel.

2. Incorporate exercise into the early part of the day, preferably before the kids get up. Consider walking, following along with home DVD’s, videos, or TV exercise programs. Twenty minutes in the morning will set you up for a great day, mentally and physically.

3. Keep a journal to track your results….when goals are written down, and time frames as well as action steps are put onto paper, it’s amazing how this alone can heighten your awareness of places you are falling short, and therefore, this gives you direct feedback to be able to correct your path during the day!

4. Make sure you stay hydrated! Especially with the summer heat, don’t wait until you’re thirsty! Water is your best choice, flavoured or plain, low sugar juices, decaf teas and coffees. (Beware of the “iced cappuccino’s” of fast food chains…they are LOADED with fat and sugar, and empty calories.)

5. Above all, take some time out for yourself to enjoy life. Stay in the present moment, find time to meditate or reflect on the beauty and blessings of life. Enjoy your family, friends and most of all, enjoy and love yourself.