If you are considering starting a healthy lifestyle, or feel like you need to revisit or revamp your current habits to improve your health more, but are feeling confused, just know that you are not alone.  Many of my clients both past and present had concerns for their health, but never knew where to start or could not find the motivation to get started.  The most important part of starting a healthy lifestyle is to find those things in your life that influence you and motivate you most.  These people and things will be the backbone of what will become your motivation to create your healthy lifestyle, and are just part of the 2 P’s of healthy living.  So what are the 2 P’s?

The first P of healthy living is prioritizing.  In order for you to start building motivation to be healthy, you must first make your health a priority.  Prioritizing your health includes the following:

  • Go for your regular doctor’s visits.  If you don’t visit your doctor to get your annual checkup and blood work, then you will be unaware of any blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, or blood sugar problems you may have that could place you at risk for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, or diabetes.  If you don’t know what’s wrong, then you can’t fix it.
  • Make time to prepare meals. If you prepare meals at home, then you have more control over what is going into the food then if you eat out or buy convenience foods.  If you don’t cook, follow the simple cooking tips on MyLighttrackDietitian.com to help you learn the basics of preparing healthy meals and snacks.
  • Make time to exercise. Whether you make time to get up earlier in the morning, take a walk during your lunch break, or exercise after walk, there is always some time for exercise if you make the time.  If you are not sure where to start to get an exercise plan together, use the tips on MyLighttrackDietitian.com for some quick exercise ideas.
  • Make time to sleep and relax. Sleeping and relaxing is just as important to losing weight and being healthy as exercising and eating healthy.  Sleep and relaxation allows our body to rest, digest, and keep blood pressure and anxiety to a minimum.

The second P of healthy living is planning.  Once we have identified what health issues we have to work on, then we can create a plan to resolve them. In order to create a proper plan of health we must do the following:

  • Write down your unhealthy habits
  • Identify your ultimate health goals
  • Identify what people or things are motivating you to lose weight and/or be healthy
  • Create 3-month goals for :
    • eating (i.e. eat 3 servings of vegetables every day)
    •  exercise (i.e. train to run a 5K race)
    • overall health (i.e. lower my blood pressure to within normal range)
    • wellness (i.e. get 6-7 hours of sleep every night)
    • Create a goal each week to accomplish that will move you closer to accomplishing your 3-month goals. Keep building on those goals each week while trying to meet new goals that will eventually help you to achieve your 3-month goals.
      • Example:

Week 1: get blood work done at doctor’s office to identify health problems; stop adding salt to food.

Week 2: jog 3 days a week for 30 minutes

Week 3: eat 2 servings of vegetables each day…

  • The final step will be to take a calendar and write down:
    •  what days you will work out and at what time
    •  what time you will prepare your meals and snacks
    •  what time you will go to the store to purchase the healthy foods you need to

  prepare your meals

  •  what time you will go to bed
  •  what time you will give yourself “me” time to relax from the stresses of the day

As you accomplish each one of your 3-month goals, set new goals so you are constantly improving upon your health behaviors and moving yourself closer to accomplishing your ultimate health goals!