Whatever your specific goals are, I assume they are at least somewhat related to improving your health. Whether you want to simply gain or lose weight, achieve a certain level of fitness, get a more clear idea about proper nutrition, or learn to love your body and yourself as a person, I want to help you achieve just that!
Sustainable health: why becoming healthy requires a lifestyle change
Focusing on the long-term
When it comes to changing the way you look and feel, it's important to notice and understand why focusing on the long-term is the best strategy. New diets and workout routines usually feel super challenging and sometimes almost impossible to complete - at least I know that was the case for me - which discourages people from trying to improve their health, and that’s such a shame! This is because fad diets focus on the short-term which makes them simply not sustainable for a longer period of time. We’re told to suddenly switch to eating foods that we’re not used to or to drastically cut our daily caloric intake, all of which is stressful on our bodies and minds. When it comes to “quick fixes” in terms of getting fit, they have us jump into super hard workout routines which practically no beginner could sustain for a long time.
But that’s the way these things were designed on purpose – in order for you to see the desired results quickly rather than to retain them for a longer period of time – which also makes people think that becoming healthy requires so much continuous effort that they simply give up. You don’t have to kill yourself with extremely intense and long workouts and starve yourself or eat foods you don’t enjoy to be healthy. Health is not about restrictions and feeling miserable - it’s quite the opposite.
Implementing small changes
Let’s take a look at another method of making changes in your diet, this time in a totally doable, stress-free and rather exciting way. Start by looking at how and what you’re eating at the moment and begin to implement small changes. And small doesn’t mean insignificant; any change, no matter how minor, is a great improvement if you can actually carry it out, as opposed to setting impossible goals for yourself, not being able to stick to them and then beating yourself up about it. That’s so not the way to go! So, instead, think of small changes that you can make today.
For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight and the number on the scale or your body measurements don’t seem to be budging, decrease your portions. Even when not counting calories or weighing food, you can easily do this simply by using a bit less rice/pasta/any other grains in your meals, which will contribute to an overall lower amount of calories you’ll eat during the day. A way to make it easier is to increase the amount of vegetables you’re eating. Because non-starchy veggies (think peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, broccoli) contain relatively few calories per 100g compared to starchy ones (potatoes, beans, corn, peas), it’s easy to fill yourself up while not consuming huge amounts of calories. You will end up eating less calories from grains and little bit more from vegetables – resulting in an overall decease in calories and an increase in your daily veggie intake. Dare I call it a win-win?
When it comes to workouts, if you decide that, from now on, you’re going to exercise 5 days per week when you’re not used to working out or moving much at all, such task might be so scary that the fear will stop you from completing the workouts. Don’t get me wrong, challenges are good, great even - if set reasonably and in a way that works for you specifically. What if you decided to exercise 3 days each week? Compared to no exercise at all, it’s already a huge positive change for you health! If you notice that these workouts make you feel better and you’re able to complete them in the amount you set for yourself, after some time you may decide to increase the number of workouts per week.
Changing your mindset
These are just some practical ways to reach your health goals. No worries, there will be more posts dedicated to that specifically. However, what I’ve just talked about requires a slight shift in your mindset. After all, the majority of people wants to see or feel results fast. That’s why the trick to becoming and staying healthy is figuring out what your true goals are; think beyond weight loss or weight gain. Start considering other benefits that come with getting fitter in general. Maybe for you it’s being able to walk up many flights of stairs or run to the bus stop without getting winded? Or maybe it’s how much more strong and capable you could get in your daily life? All of these are great benefits but they have to be what YOU want. Otherwise, you won’t find the motivation needed to achieve your goals.
The bottom line is, find what works for you and slowly begin implementing that into your daily life. This might mean diet changes, starting to move more or developing a more positive mindset. The new stuff shouldn’t scare you (well, maybe a little bit - any changes can be intimidating) but rather make you excited! It’s all about you and how you feel, so don’t try to rush things, especially new things you’re just trying out. The idea is to get used to these changes and make them a routine that you find not only effective but also comforting. We all want to achieve great things but it starts with small victories ;)