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Small Steps to Improved Health

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions like lose weight, stop smoking or join a gym. While it is common to set high goals, setting smaller, achievable goals could do more for our health and create lots of wins to celebrate along the way.

"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 a few ideas to get you started:

1. Keep an eye on your weight. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly. Don’t obsess about the scale but be aware of habits and patterns that could be influencing you and adjust as needed.

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. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. Need help with breakfast ideas? My meal planning ideas have you covered.

4. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.

5. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.

6. If your currently overweight, lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

7. 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 identify triggers than may set you off course.

8. Recruit support! Need help motivating yourself to get your move on? Call up a friend! Instead of meeting at the coffee shop, take a walk in the neighborhood or local park?

9. Mix it up! Boredom is a common culprit with diet failures. Plan ahead for variety, and healthy snack options.

10. Stay Hydrated. People often misinterpret signs of dehydration for hunger. Staying hydrated will help keep you from excessive snaking.

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This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.


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