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A few years ago I decided to make some very small changes in my everyday life. These small changes led to bigger changes which in turn have created many benefits for me personally and my family as a whole.
Having changed 6 things in my life in the last 2 years have shaped how I live a healthier, happier life. It was by no means an easy journey but it sure as hell has been worth it!
That being said there is no magic pill. If there is a person or a company out there trying to sell the idea of a quick fix, they’re
probably lying. Everything we do in our lives is a journey.
You can’t just wake up one morning and manifest a 6 figure business, can’t sell your house and move to Jamaica that same night, can’t loose 10 lbs even though someone has told you drinking “x” shake or adding this to your diet will shed your belly fat in 1 day!
We have become a society that consumes at record speeds. From our wi-fi signals to ordering products online and having them on our doorstep the next day. (I know because I’m already waiting on my latest amazon package.)
We are also constantly measuring our self worth based on what we see on social media without looking at the “how” behind the story. All we see is the final product of someone’s 6 figure business and their dream home in the caribbean.
Do you want to know the secret of the how?
Do you want to know how you too can become filthy rich and afford that trip to the maldives every year?
I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. Now don’t be disappointed. I do have some little secrets that can help you enjoy your life that much more on an everyday basis.
I can’t help you grow your business or help you find an affordable beachfront property but I can tell you that if you change just a small fraction of your habits you too can enjoy the everyday again.
6 Things to Change right now
1. Remove all processed foods from you diet
This I believe is the foundation for all your healthy habits to build from.
First, I purged my pantry of ALL processed foods which included pastas, bread, rice, flour, quinoa, canned foods, fruit infused snacks, rice cakes, peanut butter and pretty much everything that was in a package and had an expiry date 2 years from manufacturing.
The higher the sugar content and the more processed filler in the food, the faster it ended up in my garbage. I have learned from my years of yo-yo dieting and trying to get “healthy” I have a very addictive personality.
Thus the need to purge my pantry was an all-in type of action. I couldn’t keep anything in the house that would cause me to cave. Weeknight snacks, after dinner treats, weekend cheats. I know how I behave around food and my triggers and I had to get rid of all of it.
Being fortunate enough to have a very supportive husband who was willing to make the small changes with me was also the cornerstone of my success.
Without his support and willingness to travel down the path with me, I would have surely failed and failed hard.
2. Remove all sugar from your diet (this includes alcohol)
Believe it or not, sugar is a silent killer which has plagued human nutrition and it continues to gain momentum the more the food companies feed it to us.
Don’t you ever wonder why Coca-Cola sponsors the Olympics and all other major sporting events?
Why does gatorade have more sugar in it’s 20 oz bottle then a can of peaches?
Over the last 2 years I have realized how addictive sugar is and I watch how it consumes our everyday behaviours from the very young to the very old alike.
Having been an addict myself I know how hard it is to kick the habit. But it is doable with a little bit of hard work and dedication.
First off, you have to learn to read the list of ingredients and the nutrition labels on your food purchases. This is the only thing you should ever look at when buying your food.
Sugar companies have a way of sneaking in ingredients without you knowing and they have perfected their camouflage game in the last 5 decades.
List of sugars by different names:
No wonder we can’t seem to get a handle on our sugar as the typical consumer doesn’t even know they are consuming it based on the different language food companies use.
Despite our best intentions in trying to be healthy and buying products that claim to be “heart healthy” and “low in fat and sodium” they are instead filled with sugar. How else can you make cardboard taste good?
If you want to read more about sugar and it’s effects on human nutrition I highly suggest reading Gary Taube’s book “Case against sugar“or John Yudkin’s “Pure , White and Deadly: How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it“.
Second, stop buying cheap crap food. I don’t expect everyone to know all the names of sugar but to have a general idea of what to avoid is a good first step.
Lastly, eat fresh food that does not come from a box. If food doesn’t go bad from sitting on a shelf what the hell is it doing to your insides?
3. Ditch the cable and TV
Our current state of the obesity epidemic especially with kids under the age of 8 is out of control. That is not to say that adults don’t suffer from the same behaviour.
Growing up in Poland in the early 80’s meant we had one TV in the house. This TV did not have cable. We had a VCR which meant we had to purchase VHS tapes from out of the country from the local ‘”gypsies” or as we called them, my aunts and uncles.
TV was a privilege and we were the only ones within a 5 km radius that owned a TV so we were lucky.
However, we were not lucky enough to watch anything on it as access to movies on VHS was rare so I never actually remember watching anything. I do have one memory of a Bananarama “Venus” music video though but that’s all I ever remember watching.
Needless to say, my own TV addiction didn’t fully take place till we emigrated to Canada in 1989. Saturday morning cartoons was like winning the lottery for a 9 year old immigrant!
From cartoons to TGIF programs in the later 90’s, to epic blockbuster hits on your new 40″ TV and now Netflix, the world of TV entertainment has expanded.
With this growth of entertainment the width of our bellies has also grown to match the influx of channel surfing and the now more popular Netflix and Chill evenings.
I am no stranger to Netflix but I simply refuse to watch TV on weeknights. I stopped watching TV during the week when I changed my approach to my diet and my overall health goals.
Quality time around the TV is limited to Friday and Saturday evenings in my house and has been for quite some time.
We as a family enjoy our Netflix and Chill evenings but it’s a treat. It’s an escape from the 9-5 grind and we treat it as such.
4. Read more
To further expand on ditching the cable and TV I also got back into reading more. I read every night before bed. This has replaced my addiction to watching TV before bed.
In grade 6 we had to make a visual representation of a favourite hobby in one of our classes. We had a big tri-fold that we had to use to describe and showcase what we really enjoyed doing and present it to the class in a type of show and tell.
If I remember correctly, these tri-folds were quite large even for me who at the age of 12 stood at above average height of 5″9.
Believe it or not, my favourite hobby was reading. I was a collector of Archie Comics and those Disney Adventure magazines I’d make my mom buy me everytime we went to the grocery store. I had them categorized and kept them stored on my bookshelf. NO ONE was allowed to touch them.
Displaying them for the whole class to see filled me with such joy and also a little bit of self-importance.
Every else had stamps, rocks, trolls but I had books! I was smarter than everyone else because I read.
No one else seemed as impressed with my collection as I was but I didn’t care. They were mine and I loved each and everyone of them.
Fast forward to being a mother and time for reading went out the window. There was very little time for showering or even getting a decent amount of sleep so reading was at the bottom of my priority list.
These days I make a priority to read as much as I can. I feel a sense of accomplishment whenever I finish a book. My library card is getting used more now than it did when I was a kid and somehow it fills me with a sense of sweet victory.
In conclusion, read a damn book. Put the phone down and shut off the TV and read. Your mind will start working again and you will be able to let your imagination roam to places that you thought went extinct when you entered adulthood.
5. Get outside and move your body
As well as getting rid of the TV and reading more I believe getting outside is also a key to living a happier and healthier life.
Having grown up with a family that was always up for travelling down the road less travelled my adulthood is no different.
As a child my dad would always pack up the truck on the weekends and all through the summer and we go off and explore as many back roads as we could.
The dustier and more deserted the road, the better.
Growing up in an age where portable electronics were obsolote forced our young ficcale minds to engage in exploration on a whole new level.
Hiking mountains, riding bikes, swimming in rivers and climbing trees was the norm. Sitting at home on the couch watching MTV and MuchMusic was boredom.
Being outdoors represents freedom.
It represents possibilities for adventure.
Possibilities for memories.
Get your butt off the couch and explore. Breath the air and enjoy the scenery while you can. Maybe even skip some rope like you did when you were a kid!
6. Stop justifying your changes to others
Lastly stop trying to convince people outside your circle as to why you’re changing.
Trying to get a handle on my own growth and health I have realized, with some help, that opinions are one sided.
I read somewhere about writing down names of people whose opinions of you really matter on a small 1 inch paper. Those names are the closest to you and whose voices you should consider when making decisions.
Let me tell you that my list is very small.
Anytime I find myself at a crossroads I look at my list and ask myself how this will affect them?
If the answer does not affect them then the decision is my own.
For far too long I have invested my energy into pleasing people who no longer sit at my table and share my life with me. I now take the time to really focus on those in my life that matter.
“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”Bernard Mannes Baruch
As a result of small changes to my everyday living, I have transformed my life into a life worth living.
I am content and euphorically happy with my decisions to change.
Where are you? Still miserable? Unhappy? Unsatisfied? Maybe it’s time to make some small changes to your everyday.
I can’t make you do anything. The decision has to be yours and yours alone. It’s called accountability and all adults have it. Own your journey and your life. Be happy because you only get one chance.
meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) word used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be