Answer the following question truthfully: Are you in control of your health? Or do you let it control you?

For most folks, it’s the latter. If you fall into that category, it’s okay, because I’ll show you how to take control of your health starting with just 15 minutes of your time a day.

A Population Out of Control

The stats indicate many people struggle to control their health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • More than 1 out of every 3 adults in the United States is obese.
  • More than 2 out of every 3 adults in the United States is either overweight or obese.
  • Over 17 percent of kids ages 2-19 are obese.
  • Medical costs associated with obesity are around $147 billion per year.
  • Medical costs for people who are obese are $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

Obesity is triggered by a number of factors, such as your genetics, socioeconomic issues, age, medical issues, etc. But guess what the number one cause of obesity is?

Lifestyle factors.

This means what you eat, how much you exercise, whether or not you smoke, how much you sleep, etc. You probably knew this already. The reason I bring it up to you again is to prove a point: if you’re struggling with your weight and are unhappy with your current state of health, you can make a change.

Here’s how.

How to Take Control of Your Health

First, you have to want to change, so sit down and really think about the reasons why you want to get healthier. Maybe you’re sick of feeling embarrassed every time you go out to eat, or you want to look better in a bathing suit, or you want to increase your chances of being around longer so you can watch your kids grow up. Whatever your reasons are, write them down. This will serve as motivation down the road when you get a little off track (which you inevitably will). Once you decide you’re ready, talk to your doctor. When you make changes to your health, especially major ones, you need to get the green light from a healthcare professional.

Next, map out your health goals. And by “map out”, I mean write them down. Be specific. Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by August 1st.”

Sounds easy enough, right? So the next step is to take the goals you wrote down and place them in every spot where you spend a lot of time. This means in your bedroom, your family room, your office at work, in your car… you get the drift. The idea is to ensure that your goals are always on your mind. This helps you stick with them and stay motivated.

Commit to spending at least 15 minutes each day on healthy behaviors for the first week or two, and track those behaviors each day. These “healthy behaviors” will be highly individualized, but here are some ideas to get you thinking in the right mindset.

10 Ways to Take Control of Your Health in 15 Minutes or Less

1. Keep a food diary outlining your daily calorie counts.

2. Spend 15 minutes walking or biking.

3. Cook a healthy dinner for yourself or your family.

4. Take a 15-minute walk on your lunch break at work.

5. Make a healthy smoothie for breakfast in the morning.

6. Pack a salad for lunch instead of going out to eat.

7. Spend 15 minutes doing yoga or stretching.

8. Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables.

9. Take your dog for a quick walk.

10. Try to go a day without drinking any soda, juice, or other sugary drinks.

Taking Control for the Long-term

Once you spend a week or two commiting to at least 15 minutes a day, increase that number to 30 minutes a day, and continue to track your progress. According to research it takes 66 days to form a healthy habit, so if you continue these healthy behaviors every day for 8 weeks or so, you’ll be much more likely to experience long term success so you can take control of your health once and for all.

By being productive, we become susceptible to some common mistakes that make us actually less productive: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Productive People Make

Featured photo credit: Sad man in autumn park, Prague via Shutterstock

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