The Big Picture of Health: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

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Month of Little Steps to Health FitessJanuary is BlogHer's Month of Little Steps to Health & Fitness, and we want you to share your favorite easy health tip! Click here to see how to play along. And check out all the tips so far in the Month of Little Steps to Health & Fitness series.


Whether you've just begun to adopt a healthy living lifestyle, or you've been eating and living healthy for years, there's no need to put pressure on yourself to be perfect at it. You don't have to sweat the small stuff.

Yes, if you go out to dinner with friends, it is possible to order healthy off most menus...

  • choose light entrees off the menu
  • avoid the bread and butter
  • choose vegetables in place of fries or baked potatoes
  • say "no" to dessert

But there's no healthy-living law that says you have to.

Yes, if you are out of town, there are still many ways to fit your regular exercise routine in...

  • use the hotel gym or pool
  • take the steps rather than the elevator
  • take a walk and see the sights

But there's no healthy-living law that says you have to.

Yes, if you're having a bad day, there are healthy comfort foods to choose from...

  • fat free and sugar free puddings
  • low fat and no sugar added ice-cream
  • a pasta dish made with whole wheat pasta and a low fat sauce
  • light banana cream pie

But there's no healthy-living law that says you can't just buy a gallon of ice-cream.

We all know that there are no "real" healthy-living laws, but that doesn't always stop us from punishing ourselves when we perceive we are breaking them. That's all it is though, a perception. It's a perception of guilt, and often that negativity leads us to give up on ourselves. It doesn't have to be that way: If we take the little step of not sweating the small stuff, we will see huge results.

  • less stress
  • less guilt
  • increased mental strength
  • more acceptance of ourselves

When we don't sweat the small stuff, we do our body good ... and that's healthy living too.

For the most part, I think I'm making many more healthy choices in my life, and I feel good about that. But I'll admit, on a recent four-day cruise with my daughter, I ordered cheesecake every night from room service just before I went to bed. And even though I could have chosen healthy meals and desserts, I only did so when it was something that I really wanted. I didn't go out of my way to exercise, but I did take the steps instead of the elevator (sometimes). Overall, I didn't sweat the small stuff. And you know what? I had a wonderful, guilt-free vacation with my daughter.

Do you allow yourself a "guilt-free" break from healthy living every now and then? Is it something you might want to try? I hope you'll let us know your thoughts in comments.

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
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