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December 27, 2021

Approaching Health in 2022

An "all or nothing" mindset is exhausting and doesn't lend itself to long-term success, especially when it comes to health and happiness. Restrictive thinking and actions aren't sustainable. Not allowing yourself indulgences once in a while is no fun.

As you approach 2022 and think about the changes you'd like to make, I challenge you to first think about what you can add to your life versus what you feel you need to take away. Below, I've listed several health "buckets" and some ideas of what you can add to your life. Chances are, when these additions become habits, you'll feel more compelled to make better choices overall.

Add plants and protein. I don't think I know a person, myself included, that eats enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Start by adding them to one meal a day, then two, etc.

And, in terms of protein, I'd say that 80%-plus of the food logs I look at lack what I consider an adequate amount of protein (.8 to 1 gram per pound of body weight). So, fill that plate up with vegetables, maybe a little fruit, and a four-ounce-plus serving of protein (beef, fish, chicken, turkey, etc.). Then, there will be less room for the junk!

When it comes to progressing in exercise, more isn't more. More cardio won't allow you to get leaner. In fact, too much can do the opposite, as it burns muscle. Add strength training. If you haven't worked out in a while, start small. Go for quality of movement. As you get acclimated, add another day. Once you're consistent and moving well, add weight to build muscle.

Another thing to add would be steps. NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is essentially steps. It's the calories you burn all day while not sleeping, eating, or working out and they matter! If you wear a smartwatch or fitness tracker, see what your daily average is. From there, add a few thousand steps by walking after dinner each day. Over time, you will see and feel the benefits.

Add more sleep! If you're not getting at least seven hours per night, you are probably getting too little. And this doesn't mean seven hours in bed...this means seven hours actually sleeping. Be consistent with your sleep schedule, and aim to add time slowly to achieve that 7-9 hour sweet spot. Consider adding sleep rituals, like turning off devices and screens an hour or so before bed, reading to relax you, or picking up a breathing or meditation practice.

Stress Management
The last few years have been super stressful for many people. It's important that we all take time out for ourselves. What hobby would you like to add this year? Or maybe you'd like to block out more time to read? Meditate? Get a massage? Add a weekly appointment with yourself to your calendar.

The mindset of adding could really set you up for success. Remember it's all about progress and small wins that will add up in the long term. The word for 2022: ADD!

Wishing everyone their best year yet!

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