3 Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Health
Let's face it, in today's fast-paced and productivity-driven culture, making your health a priority can seem impossible. Creating space to engage in healthful habits can even be perceived as selfish. How can you possibly make time for family dinner, physical activity, and adequate sleep when you have so many pressing obligations. The struggle is real!
As a wife, mother of two amazing Trinity Christian School students, family nurse practitioner, Health and Wellness Coach, and Ph.D. student studying obesity and weight cycling, I've learned a thing or two about how to create a healthy lifestyle amid chaos. My plan: keep it real and keep it simple. Here are three ideas that will help you move forward, wherever you are in your journey.
As a wife, mother of two amazing Trinity Christian School students, family nurse practitioner, Health and Wellness Coach, and Ph.D. student studying obesity and weight cycling, I've learned a thing or two about how to create a healthy lifestyle amid chaos. My plan: keep it real and keep it simple.
#1. Be Intentional
Healthy living does not happen by chance. Our society is wired with conveniences that make the unhealthy choice the default (such as drive-thru fast food and "buy with one click"). You have to be consistently intentional about your thoughts, actions, and behaviors. Decide at the outset of the day or the week what steps you want to take that support your health and well-being. Let's take prepping school lunch, for example. I have learned that making our lunches the night before is the best way to ensure we have a delicious and nutritious meal to enjoy the next day. Think of your nighttime prep as being kind to your future self. I may make a larger dinner so that we can have leftovers for lunch, or during dinner prep, I may slice fruit and veggies in batches to make it easier for lunch prep throughout the week.
#2. Start Small and Do What You Can
Prioritizing your health does not mean you have to overhaul your life in a day. Doing too much too fast is a sure way to create harm, disappointment, and guilt. Consider working on the area where you feel most energized and empowered to change. Achieving small victories will help you continue to make good habits and build new ones. If you eat most of your meals out of the home (at fast food places and restaurants), cut back one meal a week at a time. If you are averaging 3,000 steps day when the goal is 10,000, aim to move 100 more steps per day and work your way up.
#3. Involve the Entire Family
I find it amazing that children are more likely to eat vegetables (or any other food that is often despised) if they are involved in the preparation process. Consider giving your children age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. At first, all parties might be frustrated and apprehensive. The kids may make a mess, and the meal prepper may feel irritated by the additional time it takes to make a simple dish. However, the payoff is HUGE if you stick with it. Creating a meal together provides an opportunity for parents and children to spend quality time together. Your children will learn life lessons that will serve them well in the future, and they may learn to appreciate the time commitment that comes with caring for the family.
The Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 1:2 ESV). Our heavenly Father knows what we need, and he graciously gives us the wisdom and strength to live healthy and overcoming lives. Many of the health challenges that we face today are a result of our lifestyles (inactivity, overconsumption of processed food, and a lack of margin), which means we can make choices to change the results. So how about you? What's one action you can take today to prioritize your health and get moving in the right direction?
About the Author
Melissa Troncoso is passionate about helping people cut through the clutter of misinformation and overcome barriers to achieve success in weight management, health, fitness, energy, and life balance. She is a native of Houston, Texas, and world traveler thanks to a 17+ year career as a Navy Nurse. A lifelong learner, she is a third-year PhD student studying obesity and weight cycling. She enjoys reading, eating good food, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children.