BITE-SIZED ACTIONS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE


By Dwayne J. Clark


Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a highly motivated moment where you dive into health initiatives only to feel burnt out a week later after biting off more than you can chew? I’ve found that it’s the little things I do that help me to stay engaged with my health while keeping it from becoming too overwhelming. What started as a list of five to ten things to try for thirty days has become 36 micro-habits that are ingrained into all aspects of my life and motivate me every day.


TAKING CHARGE

  1. I became, and still am, a voracious consumer of medical information. This helps me better understand my body, how I can help it stay healthy, and keeps me up to date on new discoveries or ideas that I can incorporate into my health decisions.

  2. My mornings are totally different now. I have a full routine that I follow each morning to help me have the best day possible.

  3. Every week I get a massage and acupuncture to keep my body’s healing powers strong.

CLEARING THE SYSTEM

  1. I purposefully eliminate toxic buildup in my body so it doesn’t cloud my brain by maintaining proper hydration, eating the right foods, and ensuring I get all of the nutrients I need.

  2. Four times per year, I do a 21-day cleanse to rid my body of any lingering toxins and let it heal.

  3. I practice transcendental meditation twice each day to focus my mind, increase my energy, and reduce overall stress in my body.

  4. I have a designated place that I love to go to when it’s time to unplug from technology and remove all the noise in my life.

  5. To improve cellular protection and remove toxins from my body, I take four to five deep, cleansing breaths a day.

  6. When stressors are persisting, I give myself permission to cry to release the built-up emotional tension and help lower my blood pressure.

EATING, HYDRATION, AND NUTRITION

  1. I didn’t think food could make me sick. To get better, I had to become a conscious eater.

  2. Subconscious eating and having access to any food in any amount was a big problem for me. One habit I developed in retraining myself to eat is to take one bite of food, wait for two minutes, then ask, “Am I really hungry right now or am I bored?”

  3. Measuring on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being full), I slow down my eating to a 5.5 and nibble off of my plate until I feel satisfied without overdoing it.

  4. Reducing my sugar and dairy intake helped me immensely. I love ice cream, so this was a very difficult micro-habit for me to get used to, but I had to come to terms with the inflammation that the sugar and dairy wreaked on my body. Now I eat a small bowl of good-quality ice cream every once in a while.

  5. I try to go to bed a little bit hungry each night so I know my body has more opportunity to rest and release toxins

  6. When you eat, you’re performing a chemistry experiment. I carefully choose which foods I want to eat in the same meal. It took a lot of experimentation and discipline to do, but was well worth it in the long run.

  7. Ketchup was an everyday thing in my diet but ultimately had to be given up because of its sugar-acid content.

  8. I used to be a “pure white” and picky eater, but I’ve learned to include much more color in my diet over time. All the vitamins are in the color.

  9. To encourage cell replenishment, I make superfoods part of my daily diet. These include eggs, spinach, broccoli, avocados, and green tea.

  10. I take a close look at foods that have been labeled as “bad”, things like salt and butter, to understand what about them can be harmful. I’ve often found that these things have different production and processing lifecycles in other places in the world. European butter or Hawaiian salt, for example, are much better for you.

  11. One of the very first things I do in the morning before even getting out of bed is drink eight ounces of water to clear brain fog, dizziness, and even lower my blood pressure. Throughout the day, I try to drink a total of 70-80oz of water total.

  12. I went from buying my vitamins off of the drugstore shelf to building a personalized vitamin regimen with my doctor and getting them through my pharmacist.

  13. Gut health is essential to longevity, so I take a good-quality probiotic every day.

  14. There’s a supplement called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) that I take to reverse mitochondrial decay. It improves the molecular structure of cells and gives me more energy.

  15. Steak used to be my friend, now I limit my red meat intake to once or twice per month.

  16. Quality, nutrient-dense fish is now a mainstay in my diet, but I ensure that I eat it in moderation to avoid any buildup of mercury or other toxins.

  17. Men love their cereal and I loved having a mixing bowl full of it with peanut butter on top. I had to say goodbye to this habit, but I’m better off with breakfasts that satisfy my hunger and equip my body with the energy I need to get through my day.

MOVEMENT

  1. These days I lift weights that are less heavy, but with more reps. This is better for tone and range of motion as opposed to bulking and taking oxygen from my heart.

  2. Tai chi is something I practice for balance, but I also do small things like standing on one foot while I brush my teeth.

  3. To protect my joints, I stopped trying to run for miles and miles. Now, I take hikes, swim, use my elliptical, or do intervals of running followed by longer stretches of walking.

SLEEP

  1. I really analyze my sleep. If my REM is less than 1.5 hours and my deep sleep is less than 1.15 hours, my thinking, energy, balance, and general functioning suffer immensely.

  2. Napping is important! I nap 10-15 minutes three to four times a week, especially when I have an event to attend in the evening.

RELATIONSHIPS AND PERSPECTIVE

  1. Good relationships, purpose, and emotional intelligence equal happiness. Beyond sleep, your relationships are the second most important thing affecting your health and longevity.

  2. Toxic energy and toxic people destroy cells, so I intentionally remove myself from toxic relationships and give myself permission to cut people from my life if they are doing more harm than good.

  3. Children and younger people have a different way of viewing the world, their ideas and presence can be very medicinal. Nurture the relationships with young people in your life and don’t underestimate the perspective they can offer.

  4. To increase my happiness, I try to stay in the moment and practice gratitude for the things that I have instead of spending my time longing for the things I want.

  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know it’s easier said than done, but I really have learned that there’s no benefit to getting stressed out over things that aren’t crucial.


It may take years to find the things that work best for you, but don’t let that keep you from experimenting and learning more about yourself! Take the time to plan, journal your feelings and the changes that you see, and determine if you like where you are headed or need to make another adjustment. Your health is a journey with twists and turns, unexpected detours, and many amazing sights to see along the way–enjoy it! Rushing into an overwhelming routine with the goal to get to longevity misses the entire point. I want to enjoy my 30 Summers More in steadfast harmony with a holistic sense of wellbeing.


Until next time, Wellness Warriors. Live Well, Live Long!

~Dwayne


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