Choosing a Healthy Lifestyle…We Can Do This!
Written by: Janice Miller
Committing to healthy habits usually means some trial and error until you can settle on a program or process that works for you. The word “commit” carries a lot of weight (which is something most of us would rather not carry ourselves!). A commitment is a vow or a pledge to carry through on a responsibility that we agree to. A commitment to ourselves for our own betterment is not to be taken lightly! It is serious business, and when performed with a good mindset and a heart for success, will bring excellent results with far-reaching benefits. We want to set a goal to learn how to commit to healthy habits all year long.
Reduce Portions Wisely
When someone brings up the subject of committing to healthy habits, our first thoughts will typically gravitate to food. We have heard over and over that, when it comes to smarter eating habits, two important changes that should be made are cutting down our portions and replacing unhealthy food choices with healthier ones.
Reducing our portions does not necessarily mean starving ourselves. Most of us have already tried crash diets and eating one meal a day with two healthy shakes in between, and we can all attest to how that worked for us: not at all. If your experience with these types of diets was anything at all like mine, the gnawing, growling hunger brought out the bear in you! To top it all off, any weight lost was almost immediately put back on once we crashed through the barn door and began eating normally again. Instead, it’s better to stick to a regular eating schedule (you should feel hungry, but not like you’re starving, by meal time) and focus on having healthy portion sizes.
Make It Permanent
When embarking on a healthy new program or regimen that is designed to help us get healthier, the idea is to choose a path that provides everything we need to make this a permanent, rather than temporary, life change. Our goal is to learn how to commit to healthy habits all year long. We want to build our bodies, our minds, and our lives.
One strategy for building healthy-living habits is to start small. Instead of completely overhauling your diet overnight, start by making small changes in food choices and portion sizes, and continue making more health-focused tweaks over time. Rather than immediately committing yourself to two hours of gym time every day, try adding more movement into activities you’re already doing. Park your car further from your office building so you earn more steps each day. If you have a dog, offer to walk other dogs in your neighborhood so you have more time on your feet. These are great ways to work your way up to more serious training.
Choose the Right Plan for You
Choose a plan that includes the foods your body needs, but also some foods you like. It is common knowledge these days that many healthy foods, and combinations of foods, are also delicious (not the cardboard that eating healthy used to force on us!), but there is nothing wrong with a little cheat every so often. Treating yourself to one chocolate chip cookie in two weeks is not going to break your focus. There are many resources available today to teach us new, healthy recipes, resources from which we can begin to educate ourselves on how to commit to healthy habits all year long. Because, after all, this is a permanent life change, not just a short-term adjustment. We want to look good and feel good all the time, and we want this to trickle down and influence our families.
Slow and Steady
Exercise doesn’t have to be grueling. Whether you rock climb, play water sports at a local indoor pool, or join a CrossFit gym, there are many approaches to exercise. Even playing tag with your kids counts as heart-healthy activity! Just exercise to your own limits and don’t try to take on more than your body can handle. You and your body will be very happy with the results, and you won’t burn yourself out!
Slow and steady is the rule of thumb when setting sail into any new adventure. This way we keep our vision and our focus clear, and we give ourselves more opportunity to accept and adjust to our new commitment to practicing healthy habits. All aboard!