Simple Swaps for Better Health

North Americans are becoming more concerned than ever before about living a healthy lifestyle. Implementing dietary changes and adopting a consistent exercise routine can prove to be overwhelming and super confusing for most. This is especially true these days with the excess of information making bells and a now Now NOW mentality that consumes society . While a recent Gallup poll found that nine out of 10 consumers make it a point to try to include more produce on their plates, they are not necessarily succeeding.

Until you are advanced along your journey after years of consistency, the fancy ooh-la-la super complicated stuff is not necessary and can actually do more harm than good. Initially just keep it to some simple everyday swaps. Focus on one or two small changes and shortcuts at a time. You will have to make these very deliberate and conscious for a while until BOOM you do it without even thinking. This is the point where you can than move on to add something else. Most can only handle a couple of changes at once. Much like multitasking, changing everything all at once in your life is often overrated and will leave you stressed out and ultimately back at square one. Aim for long lasting impacts not quick fixes.

These are not the only solutions or swaps that can be made but try these out to help make a difference in achieving your goals:

* Boardroom conference vs. walking meeting: Swap your sedentary internal office meeting for a “walking meeting.”  Instead of meeting in a conference room for 30 minutes, make a few trips around the office building and add a burst of physical activity to your day. I can pretty much guarantee that this bit of activity will actually greatly increase the creativity and overall successful outcome of your meeting. The activity will also make sure people are engaged as opposed to mindlessly just staring, nodding and disengaging.

* Online shopping vs. mall: Switch up the routine and head back to the store. While online shopping has made life more convenient, it has eliminated another opportunity to realize the health benefits of walking. Even better is to walk or bike to your shopping destination.

* Gym vs. At-home routine: Eliminate the guilt of missing a day at the gym. Do jumping jacks, pushups, squats during television commercials. You can even find many in-home trainers to come kick your butt or find yourself a no-gym required workout to do too.  These can even be little five-minute routines between commercials to help you burn some calories instead of consuming them mindlessly munching in front of the TV.

* Salad dressing vs. rice vinegar: Replace heavy salad dressing with a light vinaigrette.  Try some rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, garlic salt, mustard powder, sesame oil, sesame seeds and canola oil in a measuring cup. Pour over arugula and tomato halves for a delicious salad…easy peasy homemade dressing without the excessive calories.

* Butter and oil vs. avocado: Instead of making your favorite baked goods with oil or butter, use mashed avocado. There is absolutely nothing wrong with butter or many oils but this is a nice change up to try while also giving you a bit more in terms of nutritional value.

* Mid-morning snack vs. almonds: Control hunger by eating a few almonds instead of the mid-morning pastry. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that almonds helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake by the study participants. Just remember, healthier more nutrient dense foods are great and all but calories DO count too. This means, WATCH YOUR PORTIONS of nuts as they are very high in calories for a small amount.

Another simple swap is to incorporate lunchtime meetups with co-workers, friends or a gym buddy (or of course hire a trainer or take a lunch hour class) instead of just meeting to chat on your break. You can even just use the stairs in your building and walk up and down them (or sprint depending on your fitness level) and do some incline pushups off the stairs, quick hand planks off the stairs, mountain climbers and so on. You can get a solid workout in in 35 minutes if you push yourself and will feel more energized mentally and physically when you head back to work.

There are so many simple ways to get in some better food options and to fit in daily exercise. A pre-planned training program and meal plan is always going to get you further than always doing random activity and mindless eating BUT these small steps are an exceptional way to just START ;D You CAN do it!

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