Making “Small Changes” in Health and Wellness
Just 2 weeks after signing up for the Philadelphia Blue Cross Broad Street Run, one of the largest ten-mile road races in the U.S., I began the month of February ready to start logging miles on the treadmill.
My schedule, however, had a different game plan. The short month became filled with lunch meetings, late nights at the office and weekend trips back home. The next thing I knew my after work and weekend trips to the gym were sidelined. And that’s not even mentioning my birthday celebrations (gluten-free carrot cake, anyone?). So with a sweet tooth that kicks in every now and then and my gym trips dropping off, my usual healthy habits seemed to fly right out of the window.
Fortunately I knew where to look for help. One of the things I enjoy most about my job here at NFCA are the opportunities to meet with a wide variety of healthcare professionals, including dietitians, physicians, naturopaths and even physical therapists.
About 2 months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Keri Gans, MS, RD, CON, via phone one Friday afternoon. (If you don’t already follow Keri on Twitter, I suggest you start. She tweets around the clock and always has a fun fact or tidbit to share. Check her out: @kerigans). We chatted about nutrition, both gluten-free and mainstream, and a week later I had a preview copy of her upcoming book, The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You, waiting for me on my desk.
After flipping through Keri’s new book, two chapters in particular caught my eye.
- Small Change 8: Tame Your Sweet Tooth and Your Salt Shaker
- Small Change 10: Get Moving
Keri shares research-based tips and advice in each chapter, complete with situational Q&A to challenge the daily, common concerns we all have regarding diet and exercise (kind of like NFCA’s Ask the Dietitian blog). Here are three bits of advice from Chapters 8 and 10 that hit home for me. See my full review of Keri’s book on NFCA’s product review site, www.GlutenFreeHotProducts.com.
Small Change 8: Tame Your Sweet Tooth and Your Salt Shaker
Common Concern: “I can’t kick my cravings no matter how hard I try. I think I’m addicted to sugar.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for ice cream, rice pudding, and any coconut-type dessert. Fortunately, I’ve also always been active so too much of something has never been a problem. But when your hand begins to reach for the candy bowl that sits on a coworker’s desk (thanks, Whitney) a few times a week, and sometimes more than once a day, you know you’re in trouble. With a little extra push from Keri, I’ve re-introduced apples, baby-carrots and grapefruit as my mid-day snacks.
Common Concern: “I’ve been under so much stress lately. I deserve a little reward.”
I’ve already admitted that my sweet tooth has been known to get the best of me, but I haven’t mentioned that at times I have followed the “you deserve it” method. It’s easy to use this excuse when things get busy and you’re coming to the office early but still leaving late. But it’s time we all take Keri’s advice: “Food is not a reward. I repeat: Food is not a reward.”
Small Change 10: Get Moving
Keri opens Chapter 10 with: “It’s been said that exercise is like a savings account: The more you put in, the more you get back – with interest.”
Within the last 2 weeks, this line alone has pushed me to pack my gym bag in the morning, walk through the gym doors after work, and schedule time to run on the weekends. It can be easy to let the ball drop after a few weeks veering off course, but when you already know what results you can expect, taking the initiative becomes a lot easier.
What “small changes” will you make this weekend?