This morning my husband sent me a great article titled 10 Small Changes With Big Health Payoffs. I felt it was worth sharing.
My number 1 was their number 3:
Make your coffee at home.
If a trip to Starbucks is as much of a morning ritual as showering and blow-drying your hair, you might find this advice crazy, but health experts like Gregory J.E. Ladas, author of the book The Couch Potato Diet, say it will not only save you money but possibly hundreds of calories. When you brew your java at home, you “avoid the unhealthy temptations at coffee shops like doughnuts,” he says. And who hasn’t fallen for a sprinkle donut or a piece of fat- and calorie-laden pumpkin loaf?
I can tell you that weekly I fall for *treats* at Starbucks. Whether I get myself a blueberry scone because I felt I deserved it after a hard run, or splurge on not just a latte but a Venti Soy White Chocolate Mocha. The calories soon add up.
I am a big believer in the principle of all things in moderation. When you deprive yourself of something it will backfire, it might not be tomorrow, it might not be this week, or even this year, but it will backfire. Being healthy for life means treating yourself at times and holding back at others. If you don’t splurge at Starbucks, you can splurge on that margarita at your friends party, or something else more meaningful.
Lately rather than spending almost $3 for plain black tea at Starbucks, I make a pitcher of it at home. I’ve found that Red Rose Black Tea, tastes the most similar to what they serve. I take a large pitcher, boil a large pot of water and tie about 5 or 6 tea bags together. Fill the pitcher with the water, add the tea bags, and let steep on the counter for 20 minutes or so. Remove tea bags and put in the refrigerator for later.
To complete the effect, I have one of the reusable Starbucks cups that looks just like their cold cups. For $12.95, you can save yourself lots of $$ in the long run. I also like to think about all the cups I’m not buying and throwing away, thus helping in a tiny, tiny way to save the environment.
Why do I care about the environment so much? I care about having nice places to run. If we as runners don’t care about the earth we run on, how can we even begin to get others to care.
My next favorite small change on their list was:
Wear a pedometer.
Boston-based personal trainer Helena Collins calls the affordable little pedometer “the most effective fitness tool known to man”—or woman. “Becoming aware of how much you move is such motivation to move more,” she says. “Not only for you, but for your whole family. Kids love pedometers—it becomes a family challenge about movement, not exercise.” It also may be fun to track how active (or inactive) you are each day. For starters, 2,000 steps is the equivalent of one mile. To boost your physical and mental health, wear a pedometer and challenge yourself to increase your steps every day.
It’s been noted that while runners are very active and often get out there and pound the pavement for miles, they take the easy way out the rest of the day when doing every day tasks that involve walking. A pedometer helps keep you accountable for the steps and miles you walk, that you aren’t tracking with your Garmin.
My husband recently participated in a pedometer challenge at work. The first team to 1500 miles won(don’t quote me on that number – it may have been higher – but I’m forgetting right now). Each member could only walk a maximum of 10 miles a day but could do that every single day until the contest ended. Hubby lost weight simply by walking. Every day he became more conscious of the days of how much or little he was walking. If he walked too little that day he made sure to include an after dinner walk around the neighborhood.
When talking about running shoes, a mile is a mile, whether walking or running, it all adds up to your 300 – 500 miles.(the point at which running shoes break down) Same goes for walking with a pedometer. A mile is a mile. If you walk a mile around the block not included in your morning run, that’s 100 more calories that your burned that day!
Do you have any of your own small changes that you think add up big??