Baby Steps Are Better

BY Randi Zinn TIMEDecember 5, 2013 PRINT

I’m often asked by my friends and family for some tips on how to get back into a healthy routine, either food or exercise related. My answer is always the same—take baby steps!

The biggest pit fall in any attempt at change is making too big a commitment and then being unable to stick with it. I’ve come to see that smaller changes over time create the lasting impact. Here are a few helpful tips on the subjects that most often cross my conversations:

Cut Sugar Down Slowly

If you want to cut sugar out of your diet—don’t go cold turkey. Allow yourself to enjoy fruit smoothies, agave as opposed to sugar in your tea, and perhaps a delicious cookie over the weekend. This way we won’t feel deprived and therefore resentful. Instead, we feel that we are in control but that we can also enjoy our lives and are less likely to react in the opposite direction and binge on an entire pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving!

Make Exercise Manageable

If you want to get exercise back into your life don’t commit to working out six out of seven days a week. I guarantee you will find yourself sedentary on the couch in the face of this challenge.

Why? Because it’s just too much, too fast! People have so much more success with more manageable goals. Instead, plan to have two active workouts a week—jogging, weights, or cycling as an example—and one feel good activity—like a gentle yoga class or a massage.

You will begin to love feeling stronger, more flexible, and more taken care of. This is how good habits are developed—because they are approachable and they feel good to your body and mind.

Eat Vegetables You Enjoy

Many people say they want to add more nutrition rich food to their diet. Rather than suddenly going vegan and being paralyzed in your kitchen, take baby steps!

Go visit your local farmers market and pick up some veggies that are in season—make a soup with some of the great ingredients you found (it’s tough to mess up a soup!) and enjoy.

If you need some kind of more formal commitment, perhaps something like this: instead of eating French fries with a sandwich, always order a side of veggies or salad. Or make the commitment to eat dark green veggies like kale or spinach with at least one meal per day.

The good old, an apple a day rule works wonders for many people! In other words, you don’t need to go crazy. Simple shifts can make a huge difference and then pave the path for more comfortable and interesting changes over the long haul!

Remember: change when it comes to your health is meant to make you happier and healthier—not to punish or make you more miserable.

So how can you do things in a way that’s kind and encouraging to yourself? It’s really a much nicer way to do things! Good luck!

Writing is Randi’s favorite way to share the profound experience of motherhood. As an NYC mom, yogi, and entrepreneur, Randi creates bespoke workshops and gatherings for women who want to share the best ways to stay grounded and engaged, living life inspired. Follow her stories, events, and community at

Randi Zinn
Health section
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