Welcome to Small Changes for a Good Life After 50! I am going to talk about some of the small changes that I have made over the past several years that have had an incredible impact on my health and overall well-being. These changes are small and totally doable.  Each week, I will build on the changes and add new one’s so you will see where I am today. When I started my journey in 2012, the very first thing I did was DECIDE. I decided that I was fed up with being tired, I was unhappy when I looked in the mirror and I wanted my health and appearance to show that I was not going to give into aging! My goal is to have my life reflect that I am aging gracefully and healthfully..  I knew this would not happen overnight.  I needed to make small changes to my lifestyle that I could sustain for the rest of my life.

Small Change #1

The first healthy change that I made was giving up diet soda. This actually happened in 2011. I did a lot of research (there is lots of debate on how unhealthy it is) and decided that it was not for me. My husband and I decided to give up sodas for Lent that year. I have never looked back. It is now 2018 and I am seven years soda free. I know that lots of people love their soda but if it is a habit that you want to change, it is easily replaced. My first choice now is water. One of my favorite ways to drink water is with lime. I add it to my filtered or bottled water and S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water! The lime gives the water a bright, crisp flavor. We also drink Kirkland’s Sparkling flavored water and Bai Cocofusion drinks that we purchase from Costco. Another good substitute is tea. We mix about ¾ of a glass of unsweet tea with a ¼ of a glass of sweet tea (made from sugar not high fructose corn syrup – Milo’s is my favorite brand). This one is rare for me but I do like it occasionally.

Small Change #2

Getting in shape and losing some weight – UGH!  I had this brilliant idea that I wanted to run. So for motivation, I signed up for the Music City Half Marathon (now the St. Jude Rock N Roll Nashville). Talk about crazy at the time. I had not run since high school. The tribe I am a part of started training for the half marathon and I joined them. I also talked with a couple of my co-workers who are avid runners and they suggested two programs – Couch to 5K (a beginner 5K training plan) and Jeff Galloway (interval running/walking). I researched both and decided that the Jeff Galloway training would work great for me. I started “running” with 1 minute of running and 5 minutes of walking. Each week, I did 2 or 3 short runs (roughly 3 miles).  On the weekends, I began to increase my mileage by ½ mile each week. As I worked my way up, I increased the running time and decreased the walking. By the time the half marathon came around, I was doing 3 minutes of running and 2 minutes of walking or running as far as I could and then walking for 2 minutes. I was hooked. I completed the half in just over 3 hours. The last half I did in 2016, I finished in 2:42. Over the years, I have gradually increased my speed adjusting to what worked and keeping that, and getting rid of the things that didn’t. I kept up with my progress during the training so I could see the growth.  It kept me motivated.

Small Change #3

The next small change I made was to focus on what the food I was eating and to learn to make healthier choices.  The running would help some with weight loss but I had always heard that you can’t out exercise a bad diet so changes to my eating were a must. At first, I used loseit to track my food or a DietMinder Journal.  I did not make any changes right away, I just tracked what I ate for the first couple of weeks. I needed to see what my current patterns and habits were. This allowed me to look at my average calorie intake and analyze where I needed to be calorie-wise in order to lose weight. I started incorporating more whole, healthy foods and experimenting with our favorite recipes to make them healthier. I made sure that I was getting more fruits and vegetables on my plate, lean protein and reasonable portions of healthy carbs. I also began to move away from processed foods.

Just making these three small changes, I was able to lose about 11 pounds back in 2012. These things really worked for me. Changes take time. Sometimes they take starting and stopping, and starting again! They need to be tweaked and adapted to whatever is happening in your life. I would love to hear from you about what small changes you would like to make or changes that you have made that are making a positive impact on your Good Life!