7 easy things you can do today to take control of your health

I had such an awesome response to my post yesterday. Thanks to everyone who commented and shared it. I think that might be the biggest post ever on this blog.

The message that some people missed — and one I didn’t feel compelled to make yesterday, because, well, I have 3+ years of 400+ posts already that make this point — is that there is always something you can do to take control of your own health.

The person that’s responsible for making you happy? That’s you. Shaming other people for how they look? Not productive.

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Not the Socrates you’re thinking of, though. (Context)

Before I started running, I cared about changing my life and building healthy habits. Of course I was aware of how I looked and how unhappy I was. But I had no idea where to begin. Nothing I did ever felt like it would produce results, at least not lasting ones. I think that’s where a lot of people are — they desperately want change, but they have no idea where to begin.

This. Is. Not. Possible.

This. Is. Not. Possible.

The truth is that if you can commit to adding one small thing — one healthy habit — one day at a time, no matter how small it is, it will add up into big results over time.

Week 5 of the couch to 5K on the left, Week 9 of the couch to 5k on the right

Week 5 of the couch to 5K on the left, Week 9 of the couch to 5k on the right.

It’s about how you look. How you feel. How your clothes fit. It’s not about a number on a scale, or measuring yourself against someone else.

Seven easy things you can do today to take control of your health:

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1. Eat breakfast every morning.

Are you a breakfast skipper? I promise you that no matter how busy you are, eating something, preferably something with fiber — like oatmeal, or fresh fruit — will boost your energy and mood throughout the day.

My mom in her garden in the fall of 2011.

My mom in her garden in the fall of 2011.

2. Go outside.

Before I started the Couch to 5K, we got a puppy, Scoop. I went from 200 lbs to 175 lbs before my wedding by walking with him 40-60 minutes every night (when I stopped doing it, I gained it back, though).

Is running not your thing? Fine. But find something out of your chair to do that makes you happy. I promise there is something out there for you.

Me and my friends Wanda and Jen before our last long run before the Maine Marathon in 2011.

Me and my friends Jen and Wanda before our last long run before the Maine Marathon in 2011.

3. Make healthy plans with a friend.

My first marathon, I trained with the two best training partners ever. I’m pretty sure there is no way I could have done my first one without them. Making plans with a friend — to go to a class, to go to the pool, to walk in the woods, to play a game — makes the time pass so much faster and practically guarantees you’ll do it.

Veggie burger opped with mexican blend heese, avocado dip, and bbq sauce. And a spinach and stawberry salad.

Quinoa burger opped with mexican blend heese, avocado dip, and bbq sauce. And a spinach and stawberry salad.

4. Make at least half your plate on vegetables.

One of the things I love about the Weight Watchers program is that system encourages you to fill up on healthy foods instead of count calories. Most vegetables in the program are zero points, which means you don’t have to limit yourself.

Diets fail because your hungry. Fill up on low-calorie, high-fiber foods and you won’t feel so hungry.

For more great Weight Watchers tips, check out one of our new BDN blogs, Sooner or Lighter, written by Maine’s Weight Watchers general manager Jackie Conn. Love her stuff, especially her latest post, Love your Body and Treat it Well.

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5. Time stretch breaks.

I work in front of a computer most of the day. Since I hit the middle of the second trimester, my back started K-I-L-L-I-N-G me. I’ve used a standing desk before, but I found it harder to stand comfortably for long periods of time now, too.

So I installed Recess, a free app that pops up a window at a set interval (mine is 50 minutes work, 5 minutes rest). The reminder to get up, stretch, and interact with my co-workers has done wonders for my comfort level.

Hydratin' with my Bands on the Run water bottle.

Hydratin’ with my Bands on the Run water bottle.

6. Drink half your weight in water ounces a day.

I got this tip from One Mom in Maine many years ago, but I can’t find the post now. First, get a dedicated water bottle for work. Next, put some masking tape on it and mark off every time you fill up the water, put another hash on the tape.

I find this super hard while I’m pregnant because I have to pee 50000 times day, but I know it’s twice as important since my little fetus needs a lot of it!

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Herb baked fish.

7. Learn a healthy recipe.

I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. I love it when my husband cooks for me. I hate doing it myself. Truth? I know that I will always make a healthier choice when we cook at home than when we go out to a restaurant … or buy some pre-packaged meal. Every time I learn to make something healthy that I enjoy, I call that a victory.

Diane Atwood has a tasty new recipe on her blog today, A Taste of the Mediterranean: Herb Baked Fish and French Potato Salad. And we have an awesome Food page at the Bangor Daily News with over a dozen bloggers contributing recipes. And there’s always Pinterest.

Like my suggestions? Please pin it!

Like my suggestions? Please pin it!

So what are you going to work on this week?

 

Pattie Reaves

About Pattie Reaves

By day, I'm the User Experience and Audience Manager for the Bangor Daily News. By night, I'm a soon-to-be first-time mom and renegade fitness blogger at After the Couch. I live in Brewer with my husband, Tony, and our two pugs, Georgia and Scoop.