23 Mar Pick Two To Form Healthy Habits
This article was written by my good friend, Karen Schackelford, who had a great blog called The Good Stuff Girl. I hope you enjoy it!
No matter where you are in your health journey, remember that committing yourself to a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to happen overnight. It’s about incorporating healthy choices into your everyday activities and routine. Changes in lifestyle often begin slowly, with small actions that eventually become healthy habits.
According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact. Also an encouraging note: the habit formation process doesn’t matter if you mess up every now and then. Building better habits is not an all or nothing process, so keep trying!
Keeping this in mind, one of the best ways I have found to make changes and help others with change is to try and incorporate several new habits each month. By doing this, it will allow you to have some control over what you wish to conquer first and have some time to develop those 2 habits before you move on to the next 2. I call this the “PICK 2 PLAN.”
I’ve created a list with over 100 ideas that you can choose from to get yourself moving in the right direction. Pick 2 to start. Consider choosing one challenge that is harder for you and make the second choice less difficult. This step allows you time to get those first 2 under your belt before you go to the next month with 2 new habits.
I’m rooting for you! Good luck!
NOTE: The first 10 listed are known as the FAST TRACK 10. When choosing the FAST TRACK, you start with ALL 10 at one time for one month. THEN, add 2 each month thereafter.
1. DRINK FILTERED WATER
Drink 2/3 of your body weight in ounces every day. (Example: If you weigh 120, you would drink 80 ounces per day.)
Exercise at least 5 times a week for 1 hour – and sweat. (This reduces breast cancer risk by 40% and a return of breast cancer by 50%.)
3. TAKE VITAMIN D3 EVERYDAY
Consult with your doctor to be sure you take the proper dose.
4. NO MORE SOFT DRINKS
Including diet drinks.
5. NO MORE ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
Try stevia, honey or go without.
6. NO MORE COLOR DYES
Toss out all foods with any color dyes. You will need to read the labels for such things as (RED DYE 40, YELLOW 5 and 6, BLUE 1 and 2 and so forth.)
7. NO MORE HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
Read food labels and discard all foods with High-Fructose Corn Syrup. For a listing of foods that have HFCS in them, click here.
8. TAKE A QUALITY PROBIOTIC
Take this everyday for your gut to stay clean and healthy. (Be sure that you change up the kind of probiotic every other month or so. This will enable you to get different strains for different areas of the gut to be affected.)
9. CHANGE COOKING OILS
NO vegetable, canola, soybean or peanut oils. Use coconut and walnut oils for high temp cooking. Add extra virgin olive oil only after cooking.
10. EAT ORGANIC GREENS EVERYDAY
These can be in a salad, lightly steamed or blended.
11. READ A BOOK ON HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Read a health-related book this month.
12. EAT A RAINBOW EVERY DAY
Try to take in every color of the rainbow when eating. You may end up missing one or two, but at least you tried!
13. MEMORIZE THE DIRTY DOZEN LIST
This is a list of the TOP 12 foods that the federal government lists as being the most contaminated. These foods are heavy with pesticides and should be eaten only in organic form.
14. FILTER YOUR DRINKING WATER
Install a filter on your faucet, rent a water cooler and have water delivered to your home, or consider a Berkey countertop filtering system.
15. REPLACE YOUR PLASTIC CONTAINERS WITH GLASS
Change out your plastics for glass, stainless steel – or make sure all plastic is BPA free. I prefer glass containers for storing food.
16. DO NOT DRINK COW’S MILK
Cow’s milk will form mucous in your body. Instead, try coconut, almond, or rice milk. Be sure to watch for additives in store-bought milks.
17. FLOSS YOUR TEETH EVERY DAY
18. DITCH YOUR DEODORANT IF IT CONTAINS ALUMINUM
Opt for organic brands or try making your own. I use Primal Pit Paste.
19. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Depending on your age, adults need at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night, while school age kids around 9-11 hours.
20. EAT A CUP OF BERRIES EVERY DAY
Make sure they are organic if they are on the Dirty Dozen list.
21. CHANGE OUT YOUR TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS
Opt for organic brands (I like Dr. Bronner’s) or try making your own.
22. GIVE UP CAFFEINE
Caffeine makes your bones brittle.
23. STAY CONNECTED WITH FRIENDS
Make time once a week at least to touch base and visit with a friend. Social connections and longevity are linked.
24. STOP SMOKING
25. TAKE A 20-MINUTE NAP EACH DAY TO RECHARGE
26. SLEEP WITH AN EYE MASK
Get better sleep with less light distraction and create more melatonin by wearing an eye mask.
27. LOSE 5 POUNDS
28. LIFT WEIGHTS
Lift weights at least 2 times a week. This should be a part of your exercise plan. Weight-bearing activity helps with bone density.
29. COOK FROM SCRATCH
2-3 times a week, make whole-food meals where nothing or very little come from a box or a package. Eventually, as you get the hang of it, increase to 4-5 times a week.
30. GET THERMOGRAPHY/MAMMOGRAMS, PAP SMEARS AND COLONOSCOPY
31. INCORPORATE FRESH HERBS INTO YOUR COOKING
Herbs have many beneficial medicinal qualities.
32. GET UNFILTERED SUN FOR 15-20 MINUTES PER DAY
All you need is a place on your body to absorb the unfiltered sunshine.
33. MAKE YOUR OLD RECIPES HEALTHIER OR TRY NEW ONES
Switch out “bad” ingredients for “good.” This may take some practice.
34. GO GLUTEN FREE FOR A MONTH
Try going gluten free for a month and see how you feel. Many people feel much better when they don’t consume foods containing gluten.
35. BUY NON GMO-CORN RELATED FOODS
90% of US corn is genetically modified so look for the NON GMO labeling.
36. TAKE A HIGH QUALITY MULTI-VITAMIN
Quality is key to improve your health, your blood work and how you feel overall.
37. READ THE NEWSPAPER, A BOOK, ARTICLES, ETC.
Make yourself smarter and keep your brain engaged by reading a bit everyday.
This will lower blood pressure too!
39. TRY A STANDING DESK
40. EAT A CUP OF RAW VEGGIES EACH DAY
41. EAT WILD-CAUGHT FISH AT LEAST ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK
42. LIMIT YOUR MEAT INTAKE
43. MAKE YOUR OWN CHICKEN STOCK OR BROTH
This is SO much better than buying it from the store which is typically loaded with sodium.
44. DRINK A CUP OF HERBAL TEA EACH DAY
There are many medicinal qualities in herbal tea.
45. GET IN THE HABIT OF READING LABELS
Before you buy anything, look for the bad ingredients such as MSG, color dyes, various sugar names, etc. Keep the “bad” stuff out of your home.
46. KNOW YOUR BMI (Body Mass Index)
Your BMI can lengthen or shorten your life span. Click HERE to find out how.
47. EAT A HANDFUL OF NUTS EACH DAY
Nuts are fattening, but they also contain good fat. Nuts aid in decreasing blood pressure, insulin resistance and high cholesterol. Peanuts should be omitted.
48. LIMIT EATING OUT TO ONCE PER WEEK
49. EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN REGULARLY
Learn a new language, play a new musical instrument or work crosswords regularly to continue developing the brain.
50. WALK AT LEAST 10,000 STEPS EACH DAY
Steps can be counted with a pedometer or FITBIT.
51. LIMIT BEER, WINE OR LIQUOR TO SPECIAL OCCASIONS ONLY
52. DRY BRUSH A FEW TIMES A WEEK
53. INCORPORATE BRAGGS APPLE CIDER VINEGAR IN YOUR DIET
Drink a TBSP in water with a few drops of lemon, use in homemade dressing and use for marinating meat. The vinegar can be found at any grocery store.
54. GET RID OF YOUR TOXIC LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Replace with organic or homemade laundry soap.
55. CHECK YOUR ITEMS IN THE BATHROOM FOR PARABANS. REPLACE THEM.
56. USE ESSENTIAL OILS
Essential oils can be used to treat and improve so many issues. (I recommend DoTerra or Young Living.)
57. WALK A MILE EVERY DAY
58. USE ORGANIC SPICES
59. OMIT FRIED FOODS
60. EAT SOME TYPE OF FRUIT EVERY DAY
61. TRY A NEW VEGGIE EACH WEEK
62. KEEP AN EXERCISE JOURNAL
Challenge yourself. Change up your exercises.
63. RUN A 5K, 10K, HALF or FULL MARATHON
64. EAT GRASS-FED BEEF ONLY
65. GET YOUR EGGS FROM A LOCAL FARMER
66. GET YOUR PRODUCE LOCALLY
67. BUY ONLY ORGANIC HORMONE- FREE CHICKEN
68. SWITCH TO REAL BUTTER OR GHEE (clarified butter)
Ghee is great for those who are lactose intolerant.
69. EAT MORE FIBER
Aim for 30 or more grams per day. Learn more here.
70. LIMIT TABLE SALT
Use a quality Himalayan salt instead.
71. MAKE YOUR OWN SALAD DRESSINGS
72. INCORPORATE FLAXSEED MEAL INTO DAILY FOODS
Aim for 1 TBSP per day.
73. WATCH A FUNNY SHOW OR MOVIE AND LAUGH
Laughter is good medicine.
74. INSTALL FILTERS ON YOUR SHOWER HEADS AND FAUCETS
You don’t want chlorine or fluoride in your water, not even in your water you bathe or shower in.
75. TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT REDUCING MEDS
Perhaps you have been taking a particular medicine for so long that it might not be necessary any more. I have been able to get off certain meds by talking to both functional and traditional doctors. Many times they can work together.
76. SWITCH TO DARK CHOCOLATE
Dark chocolate is much better for you than milk chocolate. Choose chocolate with a cocoa/cacao percentage of about 70 or more.
77. DO A 24-HOUR FAST ONCE A MONTH
Fasting allows your body to rest and digest. (Once a month.) NOTE: those with blood sugar issues may not be able to participate.
78. TAKE VITAMIN B12
79. TAKE FISH OIL DAILY
Protect your brain and steer off dementia. Krill oil is great too.
80. SWAP YOUR LARGE DINNER PLATE FOR A SMALLER PLATE
81. PLAN MEALS IN ADVANCE
82. DO NOT SIT FOR OVER AN HOUR
For every hour your sit, you should stand or move around 5-10 minutes.
83. OIL PULL WITH COCONUT OIL
84. EAT SLOWLY
Extend your meal to at least 30 minutes, instead of the typical 10 minutes or so. You will eat less calories and chewing your food more leads to better digestion and breaking down of nutrients.
85. MARINATE MEATS BEFORE GRILLING
When grilling meats, be sure they are marinated first in homemade marinade. Be sure to use rosemary or a live herb to help with carcinogens. Only grill at low-medium setting (not high).
86. REPLACE CHIPS AND SNACK BARS WITH REAL FOOD
87. CREATE YOUR OWN COOKBOOK
As you tweak your recipes and find new ones, print and place them in a notebook. Share these with your children who cook. Pass down healthy recipes to the next generation.
88. PRESENT ENTICING MEALS
When meals look nice and colorful on the plate, people tend to enjoy the food and are more motivated to try it.
89. WATCH THE MOVIE “FED UP”
Grab your family and watch together. You can order here.
90. READ THE BOOK BY JORDIN RUBIN “THE MAKERS DIET”
This was the first book I read that led me to a new way of eating.
91. LISTEN TO DR. LUSTIG REGARDING SUGAR
He has many videos online to watch. Dr. Lustig is an American Pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California where he is a professor of clinical pediatrics.
92. KEEP TOTAL FRUCTOSE (sugar) CONSUMPTION UNDER 26 GRAMS PER DAY
93. GO BAREFOOT
Don’t wear shoes outside in the grass, soil, or sand. This is called “grounding.”
94. BEGIN AND END EACH DAY WITH A TALL GLASS OF WATER
95. DON’T BUY BOXED CEREAL
Instead make your own paleo granola.
96. GET RID OF ALL WHITE FOODS
White bread, white pasta, refined sugar, etc.
97. REPLACE TEFLON COOKWARE WITH CERAMIC, IRON OR STAINLESS STEEL
98. WALK YOUR DOGS EVERY DAY
They need it and you will get an extra calorie burn by doing it. Unless you are going long and hard, don’t count this for your exercise.
99. ENJOY A GREEN SMOOTHIE OR A GREEN JUICE (BLENDED) EVERY DAY
100. READY MARY CAIRE’S POSTS DAILY
Which two actions would you start with to work on forming healthy habits?
Written by Karen Shackelford.
Mary Caire MD empowers the world to create a culture of optimized health guided by DNA and epigenetics.