Anytime of year is the right time to make a decision to strive for a wellness lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the year, and it doesn’t have to be a major change; in fact, when choosing to make the “wellness change”, sometimes, smaller is better.
The definition of “start” is to begin or set in motion; this has never been more fitting than when used in this context of wellness. Your plan is not to go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, but to set in motion a lifestyle change. Huge changes that are made overnight with an expectation of success rarely succeed. Our society has decided that everything should happen in an instant and when we don’t get what we want immediately, or see the results we expect right away, we become discouraged and quit. We almost set ourselves up for failure from the beginning. A fresh and successful start is going to begin with baby steps.
The First Step
Your ultimate goal is wellness, and it’s more than just an absence of symptoms. It is a true expression of health in every area of your life: physical, emotional and spiritual. Considering these three categories of wellness, the first step to a fresh start is to make a list of the top five areas where you want to improve.
There may be a multitude of changes you eventually want to make, but success begins by setting small things in motion. Like a marathon runner, the strategy is to set a steady pace and go the distance. Consider the following examples of areas where you may want to improve and suggestions on how to make lasting changes with baby steps.
Want to Lose Weight?
Did you know adult obesity in the US reached just over 42% in 2018? That’s right, nearly HALF of Americans are overweight and obese. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health.
For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years1:
- The prevalence of obesity was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents.
- Obesity prevalence was 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. Childhood obesity is also more common among certain populations.
This statistic helps to support the fact that one of the most common lifestyle choices made is to lose weight. It’s a wise choice, and definitely an important one. Did you know that maintaining an ideal weight and body composition is the #1 thing you can do to improve your health?
Unfortunately, research has shown that over 80% of those who lose weight will eventually gain it back (usually within three years). This is why losing weight is linked to 2 very important lifestyle choices: Nutrition & Physical Activity
Nutritional changes will include everything from the quality of food eaten, the quantity of food eaten and supporting those changes with key whole food nutritional supplements.
- The first step to weight loss, this change needs to start small by increasing your low-glycemic vegetable intake, the greener the better, and avoiding high-glycemic vegetables such as corn, potatoes, carrots and peas.
- Start by eating one extra low-glycemic vegetable a day; in a week or 2, add another vegetable to your diet. Within a few months you will be eating the recommended daily allowance of vegetables and you’ll be feeling healthier and losing weight.
- Decrease Caffeine, Sugar and Other Chemicals. Treat caffeine or junk food just like any other bad habit and slowly reduce your intake. For instance, drinking four cups of coffee and 8-34 ounces of soda per day is extremely unhealthy. Begin by reducing your coffee from four to three cups a day for one or two weeks, then go to two a day for one or two weeks until you are down to only a cup a day. As for soft drinks, these should be consumed no more than once or twice a month due to their chemical content.
- This plan also works with snacking, high sugar intake, consuming chemically altered diet snacks or drinks, and high carbohydrate/low protein diets. Slowly decrease your intake over a regular period of time and you’ll hardly notice it, but you will be making a change.
- Support your body with supplements that are still lacking to boost metabolism and improve the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
A sedentary lifestyle is just one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide. This is defined as a lack of regular, routine physical activity for a sustained minimum of 20 minutes more than 3 days a week. It’s not just being physically active that is required but being in continuous physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Starting small, pick two days a week and walk out for ten minutes, then walk home. If you miss one day then go the next day but don’t give up. After two weeks add a day and begin walking three times a week. Then on the sixth week walk for fifteen minutes, then walk home (30 minutes total). The ultimate goal is to be walking 45 minutes at a time four or five days a week.
Less Over-the-Counter Medications
It may be that you’re one of the millions of people worldwide who find they reach for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs on a regular basis: allergy medications, cough or eye drops, pain relievers, sleep aids, antacids, and cold remedies are taken routinely. This is called “self-medicating” and can be dangerous for those who aren’t aware of drug interaction risks as well as the side-effects of the chemicals in these drugs. Let’s sit down and talk about any OTCs that you take and why; it may be that there are healthier, holistic options you haven’t considered.
More Restful Sleep
Research has shown that eight hours of sleep is vital to your mental and emotional wellness. This can be affected by not going to bed early enough, insomnia, or not getting restful sleep once you’re in bed. The first step to making a change in this area will be to determine which of these problems you face.
Going to bed earlier is just a matter of telling yourself that you’re going to make the change; if you’re staying up until 11 then start going to bed at 10:45, and a few weeks later go to bed at 10:30, and so on. Insomnia can have several possible causes such as drinking caffeine or eating too close to bedtime, as well as stress. If you sleep fitfully consider your mattress, diet or physical activity.
Decrease Stress and Increase Peace
One of the biggest demands on our time is television and computer time, with the average person wasting four hours a day. Imagine reducing this to one hour; that adds three hours to a day or 21 hours to a week. Think about what you could do with almost an extra day every week.
The problem with busy lifestyles is that we don’t allow ourselves any time to shut down or decompress, and watching television or playing on the computer doesn’t count. Down time is several minutes spent letting go of the stresses of the day, and the best time to implement this is right before bed.
Begin with just five minutes of being quiet. If you meditate or pray then do so, but even just sitting and trying to empty your mind of racing thoughts will help to calm you before bed. A quiet stroll up and down your street or standing in your backyard contemplating the stars can be equally peaceful. The goal is to let go of the stresses of the day and allow your mind and body to shut down and fully rest.
The concept of baby steps is not new but where we can apply it could be. The areas of our lives that fall under the category of wellness are limitless, only we know where we really want to make a change. Remember that a successful strategy is one that can be accomplished. Make incremental changes over a period of time and sustain those changes and you will succeed!
What other aspects of your life need a Fresh Start?
I’m here to coach you each step of the way. If you need guidance to determine your nutritional needs and caloric intake, I can help you design a plan that works for you.
If you need more help, more guidance or intervention to help correct a particular illness or injury or break a bad habit, please don’t hesitate to call me and ask for that help. Here are just some of the services I provide in my office:
- If you need a more structured regimen with accountability, I have a Metabolic Weight Loss Program structured to remove toxicity, improve your nutritional status, and increase your metabolism.
- If you just prefer a jump start, we have a new microbiome 7-day jump start program that can kick off your fresh start, or reign you back in if you’ve strayed off your healthy path and gained a few pounds.
- Acupuncture to Stop Smoking and curb addictions and sweet cravings or address arthritis in the feet, knees, hips…
- Chiropractic Care to address back, neck and extremity issues that may be hindering your ability to exercise, sleep or participate in the fun of life.
- Medical Massage compliments Chiropractic care to address the muscular component of your injury or illness.
- Physiotherapies to tackle diabetic or chemo-induced neuropathies.
- Functional Medicine to correct hormone imbalance, insomnia, and digestive issues that are interfering with your ability to really enjoy life.
- Custom Orthotics to address foot and knee issues.
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC