What Is “Wellness?”
What is “wellness?” Is it making healthy choices each day? Is it lowering your risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers? Is it being more aware of your physical, mental, and emotional health, and how the choices you make affect your health?
“Wellness” can be all of those. It can mean different things to different people. Whatever it means to you, Lark Wellness can be your personal coach as you chase your wellness goals. Here are 10 ways you can get more out of Lark as you move toward becoming your best self.
1 . Find Your Motivation
Why are you chasing “wellness?” Once you identify why you are interested in wellness, your motivation to work towards it can grow. Your motivation can be very personal. Here are some possible reasons.
Achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight.
Having more energy each day.
Keeping up with family and friends without getting tired or winded.
Lowering your risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Getting through each day without feeling anxious or stressed?
You may have one or more of these reasons, and one or several additional reasons. You are best off writing them down so you can look at them, as you go through Lark Wellness, to renew your motivation.
2. Get set up.
When you set up your Lark app completely, you can use all of the features to their fullest extent. Once you download and install Lark, open the app and follow the prompts that appear. You should allow the app to access your information from your phone so that Lark automatically recognizes and counts the activity that was recorded by your phone’s motion sensor. Also, enable notifications so Lark can remind you to do such things as log your food after a meal or get moving if you have been sitting still for an unhealthily long period of time.
As you get started in Lark, set up your account and profile with as much detail as possible for more personalized coaching. Enter information such as your age, weight, and height into your profile so your nutrition coaching can be more accurate. You can also enter a weight loss goal, so you can later track progress and get feedback.
3. Keep your phone on you.
When you have your phone with you all day, your Lark coach can learn more about you, and you can use Lark Wellness more effectively. Keep your phone on you to:
Respond to notifications as soon as you want.
Be able to log meals right after you eat so you can remember exactly what you ate.
Get more accurate sleep estimates and coaching.
Come into the app when you need to talk, such as when you feel anxious.
Have Lark automatically record your physical activity based on your phone’s motion sensors.
To get feedback that can be important in the moment, such as when you’ve been still for too long and should move a bit.
4. Use Lark.
The more you use Lark, the more you can get out of it. Chatting frequently with your Lark Wellness coach can help you maintain motivation and keep remembering to make those healthy choices. You can reinforce your efforts by tracking progress towards weight goals, logging food and activity, and recording events such as accomplishments or frustrations.
Another reason to use Lark more is to get a more personalized program. The more you interact with your Lark coach, the better your Lark coach knows you. Lark can learn your habits and provide feedback based on them. For example, if you normally have a large dessert at dinner, Lark may praise you if you have a piece of fruit instead. Or, if you get less sleep than you normally do, Lark may coach you through the day to have more energy despite the lack of sleep.
5. Eat right.
Eating right is an important way to get more out of Lark Wellness, since what you eat affects almost every aspect of your world. It affects your weight, your energy levels, and your risk for the most common chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancer. Your food also impacts your mental abilities and mood.
Each time that you make a choice about what you eat or drink, you have the power to improve your health. As you go through the program, Lark will guide you in making healthy choices, one small step at a time. Overall, some of the choices you might be encouraged to make are:
Eating more vegetables and fruit.
Eating sugary foods and drinking sugary beverages less often.
Choosing plant-based proteins instead of fatty red meats.
Swapping whole grains for refined grains.
Most people have a lot of changes they can make to improve their nutrition. It could be overwhelming if you try to make them all at once, but that is not the point. With Lark, you can try to make one or two healthier decisions a day without the pressure of trying to be perfect. You may be surprised at how easy it is to make small changes, and how much of an effect those changes can make.
6. Get active.
If wellness is about a holistic approach to being your best self, physical activity needs to be a part. Exercise helps you feel better, look better, and be healthier in about as many ways as eating right does. That is why Lark is cheering for you every time you get active.
Many experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, cycling, dancing, gardening, or swimming. Lark Wellness knows that there is more to the story than that. You can get more benefits with more activity, and if you are not an experienced exerciser already, you can get benefits just by getting started.
Your Lark coach can help you set appropriate activity goals whether you are a beginner or a fitness fanatic and track your progress towards goals. Your Lark coach may suggest times when you can exercise or guide you in choosing activities you love - because long-term commitment is the name of the game. Plus, if you happen to have a desk job that leads you to sit for hours at a time, Lark may ping you to stand up every so often because even those little breaks can lower chronic disease risk.
Wellness is not a quick fix for anything. It is a lifestyle. Lark Wellness helps you establish new habits, and the way to change behaviors for good is to practice them. You might work on cutting back on sugary desserts for a few weeks until that becomes natural, or resolve to log every lunch for a week. Lark also helps you practice certain skills, such as stress management techniques. Take advantage of your personal coach and work on these skills when you can. They pay off!
8. Make yourself a priority.
Lark puts you first, but do you put yourself first? Those healthy choices do not come easy. They take time and effort. It can take more time to cook something healthy than to go to a drive-through. Squeezing in a walk or workout takes time, as does sleeping more. Where does this time come from?
Lark Wellness can suggest ways to improve your health, and you get to decide whether to accept them. You may need to choose to cut back on TV so you can get in a workout, for example. Sometimes, you may feel as though you are being selfish - after all, sleep can feel like a luxury - but the truth is that becoming a better you enables you to do better for others.
9. Be flexible.
It is a journey. Who knows what will happen? Just do your best and roll with it. You are sure to have setbacks, whether you skip a workout, pull an all-nighter, or go partying with old friends. It’s okay. Setbacks can be positive if you use them for learning and for motivation. If you do make a poor decision or two, Lark can guide you back to making the healthy decisions you intend.
Another way to be flexible is to allow your priorities to change with time. You might find that healthy eating is important for a while, and then decide it is time to focus on getting enough sleep. Let yourself put effort into what’s important in the moment.
10. Keep using Lark.
The more you use Lark, the more you get out of it. Keep using Lark even as you find yourself eating better, getting more active, and feeling closer to your wellness goals. You will find that the nudges from your coach can keep you on your toes and remind you to keep making those healthy choices.