By Kirk Hamilton, PA-C
I was asked to give New Year’s tips on health and wellness on a radio show. The first thing I thought of was that it takes about three weeks to change habits and tastes.
Since I have three phases to my TRIAD Wellness Program, or 9 Simple Steps to Optimal Health, I decided to present a three-phase approach to developing a healthier lifestyle this New Year’s.
(Healthier Lifestyle #1) Diet – Have a Salad as a Daily Meal
A very important and life changing habit is to commit to eating a large vegetable salad every day. Not just a side salad, but a large salad as your main meal. Include a variety of greens, four to five other vegetables, ½ to 1 cup of beans, a tablespoon or two of raw nuts or seeds and maybe some chopped fruit. NO CREAMY, OILY DRESSINGS.
Try my Super Salad Recipe to get you started.
(Healthier Lifestyle #2) Exercise – Minimal Effort to Establish the Habit
Begin with a Daily Walk
The first thing that comes to mind is to just take a walk for 1/2 hour every day. Make it easy to be successful. Success breeds success. For some of us, it’s not so much the exercise that is the problem, but taking the time out of our busy lives. Commit to 3o-minutes a day for three weeks to develop the habit. That’s ten and a half hours of walking to help build the habit over 3 weeks.
10-Minutes of Focused Daily Exercise
Another way to build the exercise habit and be successful at it, is to think in terms of “ten minutes per day”. I highly recommend Tony Horton’s “10 Minute Trainer.” Tony is the exercise guru who is the creator of the very popular P90X. The P90X is a steep time commitment for those just getting started. To develop the habit, focus on flexibility first. Tony’s 10 minute yoga routine is a perfect way to start.
Between walking and completing any range of 10-minute exercise routines, you’ll get the habit started in no time!
(Healthier Lifestyle #3) Mind-Body
The last tip is for your mind-body effort–probably the most important health maintenance habit to create.
Practice sitting quietly in the same spot for 15-30 minutes every day for three weeks. The only requirements are that you sit and be physically still.
Don’t worry about what happens in your mind. Allow your thoughts to come and go. It doesn’t matter if your mind is empty or not. Just concentrate on being physically still. When I sit, I start by asking for help to see the next step on my path to be who I am supposed to be, my purpose, how to be of service to the planet, etc.
I encourage you to take the three-week challenge and apply these simple pillars to your New Year’s wellness plan.
You won’t be disappointed!
Happy Prosperous and Healthy New Year!
About Kirk Hamilton
Kirk Hamilton graduated from the University of California, Davis Physician’s Assistant Program through their Department of Family Practice in 1983.
Since 1986 he has been a practicing Physician’s Assistant at Health Associates Medical Group in Sacramento, California, a nutrient oriented general practice. Kirk has worked in a variety of practice specialties including: Family Practice, Nutrition, Prevention, Cardiology, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, Allergy, Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine.
Staying Healthy in the Fast Lane simplifies the causes and effects of modern chronic diseases by outlining the five dietary changes over the last century that have led to excess calorie consumption, and along with reduced physical activity, have resulted in the epidemics of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.