Spring clean your health routine

By Emily Countryman

Changing to a healthy lifestyle can be overwhelming. Every time you turn on the TV the news tells us we must immediately start eating something or immediately stop eating what we thought was good for us. With sunny days ahead let’s get ready to spring into health. Let’s reevaluate your habits and reboot the ones that have slipped…

•Water over juice and pop: Are you drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day? Carry water bottles in your car or use an app to remind you .

•Meal prepping: Do you meal plan or meal prep? It’s a great way to help your healthy eating habits stick. When you are in a rush to the next sports event or on your way home from a long day at work it’s tempting to grab something convenient but not a healthy choice. Try to prep a few dinners one evening to use on those busy days.

•Cut the sugar: If you haven’t reduced your sugar consumption below 6-9 teaspoons a day keep looking for ways to cut it. Check your pantry for sneaky sugars added to pretzels, snacks and even pasta sauce. If you have a sugar craving snack on a piece of fruit instead of candy.

After you have dusted off your old health changes make a plan to continue to implement them and start adding new healthy habits. This is not an overnight process. It takes a lifetime of healthy living.

New habits to work into your routine…

•Meditation and affirmations. If you feel anxious or have a talkative mind, clear your head and think about nothing for a few minutes each day. You don’t have to be a zen master to see the positive impact. Just sit in a quiet space, set your phone timer for 10 minutes, or even just one minute and try to think of nothing at all.

•Cut back on one unhealthy habit: This doesn’t mean you need to quit something cold turkey, but maybe you eat out a lot. Try to do that one less time per week. Maybe you are running to the break room for coffee more than you’d like. Switch to decaffeinated tea on round two. Parking at the front door at work or the store? Park a few rows back and get your extra steps in. Every small change will add up.

•Crowd in the good stuff! Rather than limiting yourself and worrying about all of the new habits you have to do and favorite foods you can’t have bring in more of the good. Add a piece of fruit a day or one unhealthy swap for a healthy one. That way you start to crowd out the old habits by slowing incorporating the good stuff.

Keep moving toward your health and wellness goals. Every small change will add up to big health improvements.

Emily Countryman is a health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness www.idealwellnesswa.com. She writes a monthly health column for this newspaper.