Small Steps To Your Wellness Goals
By Dr. Ralph Strother | Medical Doctor | INcare | HEALTH
Many of us set fresh, exciting wellness goals for the new year, only to get side-tracked before we’ve gained any momentum. My best advice is to start by making small changes first. Remember – small successes build large victories. And research shows it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so try to really commit for your first three weeks. It can make it easier to stick with your plan for the long-term. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward” – Chinese proverb
Instead of saying you want to lose weight, commit to finding a healthy balance
Small steps toward a healthier lifestyle often result in losing weight. Speak with your doctor about what a healthy, balanced lifestyle looks like and how they can assist you in getting your health on track. At INLIV, we take the time to get to know you, discussing your overall wellness including nutrition, exercise, and emotional well-being. We want you to share with us what habits or impediments you’re struggling with, and we will assist in clearing those hurdles. Struggling to break that smoking habit? We will help set up a plan to get you to that goal. Maybe you’ll benefit from health coaching sessions to get you on the right path and keep you accountable. We can assist with that, too.
Giving up junk food is a lofty goal. Start by choosing healthy alternatives
When one of my patients gives up something entirely, too often they will binge later and consume even more of what they had vowed to abandon. Because your body can crave foods that are suddenly removed from your diet (like junk food, bread, sugar), binges are common. What’s your kryptonite? Instead of trying to simply give it up, I recommend finding healthy alternatives to satisfy your cravings. For example, reach for low salt, unbuttered popcorn instead of potato chips. Try fruit juice with no added sugar instead of a can of soda. A bit of dark chocolate is better for you than that milk chocolate bar you like to gobble down mid-afternoon when you feel your energy waning. Those small steps will slowly add up and you’ll find your old cravings will dissipate.
You want to run a marathon. Start slowly, progressing to longer distances
As a physician with a diploma in sport medicine, I can attest that beginning an intense physical activity program without prior training often results in injury and the healing process can quickly sideline your fitness goals. If your plan is to run a marathon, set small goals first, and work your way up. If you haven’t been very active, begin by walking vigorously each day. Then gently ease into running. Run a block, then walk a block. Gradually work up to a 10 – 1 ratio. Run 10 blocks, walk one. Run 10 minutes, walk one minute. Set small, achievable goals that will help you avoid injury and keep you motivated as you track your progress.
If exercise hasn’t been part of your lifestyle, speak with your doctor about the best physical activity options for you, particularly if you are dealing with any chronic conditions. At INLIV, we offer a range of fitness and rehabilitation programs to help our clients achieve their goals. We even offer virtual training for those on-the-go individuals who find it difficult to get to the gym.
“Walk, run, cycle, try something new like kick-boxing or salsa dancing – anything that helps keep you active is great” – Dr. Ralph Strother, INLIV Medical Doctor
I recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day and the best way to achieve that is to pursue an activity you enjoy. The time will fly! Walk, run, cycle, try something new like kick-boxing or salsa dancing – anything that helps keep you active is great.
Regular appointments help optimize your health
One of the best forms of preventative health care is having regular check-ups and an annual health exam, even if you are feeling fine. Minor symptoms you’re experiencing may indicate an underlying condition that can be addressed proactively to improve your overall health. And there are key points in life when certain tests are recommended – mammograms, prostate exams, and ensuring your blood pressure is controlled.
INLIV offers Comprehensive Medical Assessments to provide you a detailed review of your current health status, and Total Health Management programs for those seeking a family physician and on-going, integrated care. If you’re interested in learning more, we offer free tours of our facility and an initial free consultation to help determine how INLIV can assist you with your wellness goals and achieving a healthy lifestyle. Call 403.538.8881 to reserve your tour and consultation.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together” – Vincent Van Gogh
What to expect when you join INLIV’s Total Health Management program
PERSONALIZE: Our physicians are committed to an ongoing relationship so we are better able to understand your situation, lifestyle, and long-term needs, to ensure that any relevant issues relating to your current and future health are reviewed. Your INLIV physician is your partner and advocate in your health and wellness.
Maybe the first small step you take for your wellness this year is to book a free tour of INLIV. It’s a great opportunity to see everything that we have to offer for your health and wellness.
With personal training, rehabilitation, body composition analysis, medical aesthetics, medical assessments and our family physicians and support team in Total Health Management, we can help! Give us a call at 403.538.8881. or email us.
Dr. Ralph Strother graduated in Human Biology from the University of Texas in Austin before returning home to attend the University of Alberta, where he graduated at the top of his class with his M.D. (distinction), receiving the Conn Memorial Gold Medal. Ralph then completed a Sport Medicine Fellowship at the University of Arizona. He is a charter recipient of the Diploma in Sport Medicine and the certificate of added competency in Sport and Exercise Medicine. He has been the team doctor for several national and Olympic teams and is passionate about full-spectrum family medicine and well-being.