By Lynda Wallas

Want better health? Start with small changes



A lot of people reach mid-life and realise they’ve let things go a little, or find they are struggling with health issues, or simply don’t have the energy they wish they had. They want better health but they don’t know how or where to start.

Often they freak out at the prospect of turning it around; the effort required to change long standing routines, the going without with regards to the foods they love, the time and effort required to exercise, the research needed to find and learn the healthy practises. It can seem insurmountable and all too hard.

But reality is that, with your health, small changes can add up to a big difference in the way you feel, based on how your body is functioning. In fact, small changes are better if you want to stick to them. Small changes won’t see you throwing your hands in the air with frustration, or missing the old pleasures too much.

What happens when you start small health changes on the road to better health?
If you engage in these new routines regularly, two wonderful things happen;
1. They become second nature (you just do them without thinking, like brushing your teeth) AND
2. They lead you to adopting more healthy routines…. because once you start to feel and see the difference, the more you want to positively impact your health and life.

So long as you can hang in there until these two things happen, you are home free! You have made the change.

Only do what’s do-able for you
The other thing to remember is that there is no one size fits all to improving your health. There are some guidelines, and even some must do’s… but you need to apply trial and error principles, because it won’t all work for you. You are unique. You need to understand what’s do-able for you. What you can compromise on with your inner critic or sceptic, finding the things that you can do because they ring true for you, or they are an area of concern for you and you want to know you are doing something to eliminate or avoid them.

There is, for sure, peace of mind in starting the small changes that will give you a shot at warding off disease. And that alone is a tonic…. doing some of the right things has a flow on effect to mindset, bringing a sense of being in control, being proactive, and the inner peace that comes with that.

I know when life gets too busy for me, I’m under pressure at work, doing extra hours and feeling like I’m constantly juggling and rushing… I get fearful of the good routines that have stopped being regular, and just what that might mean with regards to my health status. I guess having had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome previously means I am sensitive to letting the focus on health slip, and to pushing my body in the wrong ways. So, no matter what else is going on for me, I always put some of my daily routines first. Then everything else follows. And there’s no need to be berating myself for letting things slip.

Where to start to make small health changes 
You probably already know the routines that aren’t serving you as well as they might, if you are being completely honest.
Start by examining morning and night time routines, as these are good places to introduce some small changes for big benefits. Especially mornings…. start as you mean to go on and all that!

Are your mornings a cause for concern?
How do you wake up? When do you wake up? What’s the first thought or feeling you have? Do you go outside? Do you move your body? Do you have breakfast? And if so, what? Do you do anything that is calming, or centres/prepares you for the day? Do you visualise your day and what you want to achieve? Do you adopt a positive attitude in the mornings? Have you had enough sleep? Do you drink water or go straight for a strong coffee? Do you look forward to your day? Do you do anything that includes any or all of these; lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon?

What are your evening routines?
Is TV and the couch your only regular routine? Or do you exercise after work? Do you eat late? Go to bed late? Do you stay up on the computer? Do you find yourself snacking through the evening, keep going back to the fridge? Do you have your main meal at night? Do you rush about taking care of everyone else’s needs? What do you do to unwind? How do you deal with work stresses? Do you do anything that includes any or all of these; chamomile tea, tart cherry juice, magnesium?

Can you change your work day behaviours?
What about during the working day…. do you make your own work lunch or buy it? Do you sit all day at a desk? Do you get daylight? Do you need sugar to get through the afternoon? Are you grumpy, stressed, tired, bored? Do you think about your posture? Do you go for a walk at lunch time whenever you can? Are you tied to your phone or emails? Do you get annoyed easily by others in the workplace? Do you feel adrenaline surging through your body from constant stresses and deadlines?

Have you re-assessed for mid-life?
Have you started any new routines in mid-life as a conscious choice to do what you can for longevity, quality of life, and anti-aging?
Are you doing some things differently to deal with menopause symptoms? (and just grumbling about it doesn’t count lol).
Are you secretly dreading the aging process and what’s to come? Are you especially fearful of a certain disease…. for good reason (perhaps it runs in your family, or you’ve already had to deal with it) or for no specific reason, just because of the unknown?

I hope these questions sparked some thinking, and even soul searching for you, with an honest appraisal of where you are at and what needs some attention.

 

3 reasonably small and very smart ideas for better health
If you have now determined that there is indeed room for improvement, then consider the list below for small actions to start taking today:

1. Set regular bed and waking times, even in the weekend, as much as possible based on nightfall and daybreak…. then throw open the blinds as soon as you wake up. Letting your sleep cycle sync to natural ‘dark and light’ is the perfect sleep pattern for maximum energy, alertness, and hormone balancing. It’s all about sleeping at the time of minimum core body temperature and maximum melatonin concentration….. not to mention our bodies are still aligned to the old hunter gather ways, meaning that this cycle is our bodies ‘normal’ biological clock, where it can achieve all that it needs to with regards to repair overnight, as well as prepare us for the coming day’s activities as best it can.
Got a bad sleep pattern going on? Not getting quality sleep?
Check out these articles at Mercola:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/19/sleep-light-exposure.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/05/20/sleeping-patterns-are-governed-by-light.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/03/03/sleep-deprivation-effects.aspx

 

2. Even if you are doing a desk job, refuse to sit all day! The word on the street is that sitting is the new smoking. Take measures into your own hands; stand/walk regularly during the day, or better yet, ask for a sit/stand desk at work (that easily converts to standing and back to sitting) so that you can alternate throughout the day. Make sure you are active pre and/or post work. Mix it up if you can with work from home days where you can sit/stand in a different environment and include stretching more easily, or opt for a 4 day week. Head out for a stroll at lunch times. Make sure your work desk environment is ergonomically safe…
Sitting too much? Concerned about the effects of that on your health?
Check out these articles at Mercola:
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2017/02/03/too-much-sitting-makes-you-age-faster.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/09/28/dangers-prolonged-sitting.aspx
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/01/15/stand-up-sit-less-move-more.aspx

 

3. Omit the worst disease-creating and weight-gaining foods from your diet…. fried foods, wheat based/gluten containing foods (such as breads, pastas, cereals, processed meats, cakes/muffins/bagels/sweets etc), corn and soy containing foods. Simply deciding to eat ‘real’ foods rather than packaged foods will have you 90% of the way there! There are so many alternatives these days, it’s certainly much easier to go wheat and gluten free. There’s still a lot of conflicting advice where grains are concerned; I couldn’t go totally grain free – that’s not a small change, that’s huge – so avoiding wheat and opting for quinoa, buckwheat, faro, spelt, brown rice and couscous instead gives plenty of options for delicious meals (when only a grain will do). Some say it’s just a matter of re-setting our bodies for a while, then introducing wheat back in. Read the research and make your own choice.

There’s really no excuse for not making healthy sweet treat choices these days, with recipes all over the Internet and in book stores. It’s simply a matter of converting your pantry a little; from sugar to coconut sugar, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, dates etc… from wheat flour to coconut flour, rice flour, buckwheat flour etc…. from butter to coconut oil, coconut butter, cacao butter etc. How wonderful that we don’t have to go without!

Are you wondering if wheat/gluten might be impacting your health? Want to know a bit more about wheat disorders to decide for yourself?
Check out these articles at Mercola:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/23/why-is-wheat-gluten-disorder-on-the-rise.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/02/gluten-food-processing.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/01/22/how-to-safely-bring-wheat-back-into-your-diet.aspx

Are you looking for healthy sweet treat recipes and inspiration? Or simply want some amazing meal ideas to step it up a notch in the healthy stakes?
Check out these fabulous websites:
https://www.addictedtodates.com/
https://www.mynewroots.org/site/
http://www.becomingness.com.au/chocolate/
https://www.thehealthychef.com/category/recipes/
http://paleogrubs.com/dessert-recipes
http://blog.paleohacks.com/category/recipes/
https://liveenergized.com/category/alkaline-diet-must-reads/

Why are soy and corn bad for us? Did you know they are ‘hidden’ everywhere?
Check out these articles at Mercola:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/18/soy-can-damage-your-health.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/04/soy-dangers-summarized.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/04/corn-is-making-the-us-unhealthy.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/10/9-unhealthy-foods.aspx

 


Looking for even smaller changes to make?
Don’t panic, there are even easier places to start! Here’s a list of better health options to choose from:

a. Drink 2 big glasses of water first thing in the morning.
b. Take a vitamin C and D supplement over winter months.
c. Eat good fats for your heart (avocado, nuts, butter made from grass-fed milk, organic eggs, grass-fed meat).
d. Include fermented foods (‘good’ bacteria) to ease tummy troubles; sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, yoghurt, kefir.
e. Go carefree; smile more, let go of stresses, let go of the past.
f. Buy organic, pesticide free fruit and vegetables (visit a weekly market).
g. Get more turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger in your diet.
h. Take up yoga for flexibility and peace of mind.
i. Eat more coriander for your eyesight.
j. Learn to make bone broth for a soothing, healing, well-being drink.
k. Have a glass of warm water with lemon juice and 2 drops of apple cider vinegar in the morning.
l. Clean out the clutter… physically, sentimentally, and emotionally.

Check out these posts here at The Me in Menopause to help with the above list:
http://themeinmenopause.com/coriander-quality-life/
http://themeinmenopause.com/homemade-bread-new-jam/
http://themeinmenopause.com/health-relationship-body/
http://themeinmenopause.com/health-benefits-manuka-honey/
http://themeinmenopause.com/daily-mantra-well/
http://themeinmenopause.com/make-a-mood-board/
http://themeinmenopause.com/bliss-ball-inspiration/
http://themeinmenopause.com/chia-pudding-benefits-chia-seeds/
http://themeinmenopause.com/apple-cider-vinegar/
http://themeinmenopause.com/cinnamon-the-spice-of-life/


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Lynda Wallas
Lynda Wallas
About me

I’ve always been interested in health and fitness…. which turned out to be a good thing when fertility treatment in my 30s took a toll on my health, leading to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and early onset menopause. More about Lynda...

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    • Lynda Wallas

      Thanks very much for your words of encouragement.