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The Add One Thing Challenge

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Break up with your diet for good with this lasting approach.

By Lauryn Lax

Fresh ripe garden blueberries in a white heart shape bowl on dark rustic wooden table. with copy space for your text

Seven out of 10 Americans say they are “actively trying to be healthier” at any point in time, according to a Nielsen health and- wellness report. Enter the diet trends, juice cleanses, gym challenges, FitBits, calorie counting and more. This month, Austin Woman challenges you to break up with yo-yo dieting and try the Add-one-thing Challenge instead. Throughout the next four weeks, adopt one healthy change and make it a habit. Next month, add one more thing and so on. Whether your goal is weight loss or healthier living, tackling one thing at a time will help you build a lifestyle that yields lasting, long-term results. Just keep adding one thing at a time.

CHOOSE FROM OUR TOP 20 ADD-ONS TO GET STARTED:

  1. Add half your bodyweight, that is, in the ounces of water you drink each day.
  2. Add lemon. Add fresh-squeezed lemon or one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your morning cup of water. It will help stimulate healthy digestion and energy for the day.
  3. Add sauerkraut. Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. Arm your gut with probiotics found in fermented foods like sauerkraut, plain full-fat fermented yogurt and kombucha.
  4. Add glass and steel. Replace your plastic food containers and water bottles with glass and stainless-steel varieties to avoid toxins.
  5. Add a chef’s hat. Cook your food, or at least the majority of it. You’ll know what’s in it and avoid many of the hydrogenated oils used at most restaurants.
  6. Add one ingredient. Keep groceries simple by shopping for whole foods that consist of just one ingredient, like fruits and vegetables, meat and potatoes or eggs, fish, nuts, olive oil and spices.
  7. Add organic. Buy the “dirty dozen-plus” foods in organic varieties to avoid harsh chemicals. They include strawberries, apples, nectarines, peaches, celery, grapes, cherries, spinach, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers and hot peppers. In addition, reach for organic, grass-fed meats and fish.
  8. Add one cup of (quality) coffee. Excess coffee, even decaf, spikes cortisol levels (the stress hormone), dehydrates you, depletes your energy and makes you crave sugar. Commit to just one cup of coffee per day, but make it a good one.
  9. Add one serving of leafy greens. Greens aid in digestive health, boost energy and prevent disease. Saute greens in ghee or coconut oil or add them to a smoothie, casserole or homemade muffins.
  10. Add butter. Eat a healthy fat with every meal. Healthy fat burns fat, improves digestion and mental clarity and gives you glowing skin. Some options include grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, olives and coconut.
  11. Add chocolate. Give yourself permission for little treats. You’ll feel less deprived by allowing yourself this tiny pleasure rather than restricting or shaming yourself.
  12. Add five minutes. Carve out five minutes to meditate and just {be}. Pro tip: Five minutes of mediation is equivalent to one hour. Try the app Headspace to learn more.
  13. Add beauty rest. Set yourself up for a successful night’s sleep. Put the cellphone away. Drink warm, herbal tea. Turn off all screens and devices. Read a good book. Utilize blackout curtains. Lower the temperature. Again, put the cellphone away.
  14. Add sunrise. Invest in a sun alarm. It will tap into your body’s natural circadian rhythms and wake you up feeling fresh instead of fatigued.
  15. Add clear skin. Your skin, just like your body, eats. Replace one hygiene product with a natural version or create your own using a base of coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, avocado or ghee.
  16. Add the right light. The light of day and the light of night affect more than your mood. Emit the right amounts of blue light and welcome in orange light by downloading the nifty app f.lux. Watch and learn as your mind, body and spirit get in sync with your daily schedule, like clockwork.
  17. Add Lady Bird Lake. Walking is the best exercise you can do anywhere. Whether you park the car farther away from the grocery-store entrance, get up every hour to stretch your legs at work or meet a friend for a walk on the trail, just walk more.
  18. Add lean muscle. Lift weights three to four days per week to build lean, healthy muscle, boost your metabolism, prevent bone loss and to finally be able to put your own carry-on in the overhead bin, gosh darn it!
  19. Add inspiration. Pursue self-development. Attend a conference or meetup, find a mentor or listen to inspiring books on Audible during your commute to work, which isn’t getting any shorter.
  20. Add mantra.  Come up with a positive mantra to tell yourself every morning when you wake up and look in the mirror
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