Take Control: Little Decisions That Add Up to a Healthier Future

You’ve probably heard the phrase “a little goes a long way” more times than you can count. But guess what: It’s true! One small change can have a major impact on your life. This is especially true when it comes to your health and wellness. Little tweaks to your diet, exercise routine and how you manage stress and other pressures add up to a lasting positive change—and a longer, happier life.

Need proof? A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that if each American today cut back 100 calories a day (equal to a third of a bagel) for three years, it would prevent more than 57 million potentially fatal cases of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in a lifetime.

But knowing where to start with making healthier choices—and how to keep them up—can be a challenge in and of itself. Here are four ways to get started:

  1. Decide to make your water bottle your BFF: Remembering to drink the recommended 9 to 13 cups can be tough, but staying hydrated boosts your metabolism, helping with weight loss. If you’re feeling anxious or drained at school or work, drinking water boosts energy levels and brain function. Make it easy and tasty to hit your water goals: Pick up a water filtration bottle and infuse your drink with your favorite fruits and veggies, like raspberries, cucumber, blueberries and lemon.
  2. Decide to take health matters into your own hands: You rely on your smartphone to wake you up, organize your schedule and track your finances—so why not use it to manage your health too? The BCBSM mobile app has health trackers for managing your diet and syncs up with most of the top fitness trackers. There are several for workout classes, gear and apparel and gym memberships, all just a couple taps away. Set small, achievable goals and watch yourself hit them.
  3. Decide to take time to pause, breathe and reflect: As stress, anxiety and burnout become more prevalent, it’s important to take time for yourself. Consider using a personal day from work as a “mental health day,” giving you some time to get reorganized, take care of all the little tasks you’ve been putting off or pamper yourself. Don’t have a whole day to devote to this? Pick a specific time each day—maybe 15 minutes in the morning or after you get home from work—where you unplug and enjoy the peace and quiet with no interruption.
  4. Decide to eat five small meals throughout the day: While this itself isn’t a guaranteed weight loss strategy, if you find yourself getting too hungry with the standard three meals, try breaking them up into five smaller ones. This can stop you from overeating or mindlessly snacking in front of the TV. Make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber, and try out dark chocolate when you crave something sweet.

What other healthy decisions have made an impact in your life? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credit: Oleg Romanko

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