Change is never easy. Even when it’s a positive change, making adjustments in your life can be difficult. Adopting a healthy lifestyle does require change for a lot of people. It means incorporating more exercise into your daily routine and following a well-balanced diet that doesn’t cause you to feel deprived or restricted. Having the right mindset is the first step toward discovering a healthier version of you. And here’s how it’s done!
- Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals that are out of reach is a recipe for disaster. While creating goals and reaching them is an important part of success, you need to start small. When you set an achievable goal, you can more easily meet it. This leaves you feeling empowered and proud. It boosts your confidence and motivates you to set even more goals. But how do you know if a goal is attainable? Use the acronym SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). This means if you’re just starting out on your diet and exercise journey, setting a goal of losing 50 pounds in one month is not realistic. While it’s specific and measurable, it’s not realistically attainable. Try a more reasonable goal like losing 10 pounds in the first month or going down one or two pant sizes. Once you crush this initial goal, you’ll find the willpower to keep going.
- Don’t Starve Yourself
All too often people think that not eating is the answer to all of their weight loss woes when in fact, the opposite is true. Starving yourself can have disastrous physical effects and lead to countless medical complications or the development of an eating disorder. Not only that but starving yourself actually slows down your metabolism. That’s because your body goes into starvation mode and starts to preserve body fat, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. So while restricting calories will result in initial weight loss, the long-term effects will be much worse. You may also find yourself too weak to exercise. Other side effects include dizziness, fatigue, loss of hair and bone mass, and irreversible damage to nerve endings. Intermittent fasting is a method where you only eat between certain hours of the day while limiting calories during the other hours. This is very different from complete starvation and actually offers some benefits.
- Switch Things Up
Switching up your diet and exercise routine is important not only for your mental health but physical as well. All too often people hit plateaus in their weight loss journey because they perform the same exact exercise routine day in and day out. This doesn’t challenge your muscles, which may stop your progress in its tracks. But it’s also important to gradually increase your weights and intensity. Too much too soon can shock your muscles and prevent healthy adaptation. The same holds true for your diet. There are so many ways to keep your diet fresh and interesting. Whether you’re following a specific plan such as NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, or another paid program or counting your macros and micros, get creative with your recipes and try something new once in a while. This will keep boredom at bay and bring success within reach.
- Set Yourself Up for Success
Having the right tools on hand is almost equally as important as having the right mindset. There are countless ways to prepare for your weight loss and lifestyle transformation. One of the best ways to ensure you stick to your diet plan is meal prepping. Purchase containers that allow you to properly portion each meal. Then make a detailed shopping list containing only healthy, fresh whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Next, set aside a few hours during the week or on the weekend to prep your meals for the week. When you have healthy food on hand, you’re more likely to fight cravings and grab for something that’s good for you. This helps you avoid fast food or junk food that is convenient but could easily derail your efforts. Try downloading a meal app or calorie counter. These tools hold you accountable and help you see just how much you’re eating in a day. When it comes to your exercise routine, be sure to join a gym or fitness group that is close to home and easy for you to get to. This way you can’t make excuses for not attending. Stock your shelves at home with only the healthiest foods. When you don’t have junk food within reach, you can’t succumb to temptation. Recognize your weaknesses and be honest with yourself about what they are.
- Find Support
Remember, you’re not in this alone. The more positive, inspiring people you surround yourself with, the more likely you are to succeed. Support comes in all forms. You can easily join an online or media related support group where members check in with daily updates on their workouts and food choices. This is another awesome accountability tool. Try joining a gym or working out with a friend. On those days where you’re feeling less than motivated, your pal can encourage you to keep going. And you can do the same for them! Many gyms offer trainers and other professionals to help motivate you and guide your workouts.
- Don’t View it as a Diet
The word “diet” comes with a long list of negative connotations. And while they shouldn’t, the minute someone places the word “diet” on something, many people instantly feel restricted. These feelings can stop you from succeeding before you even start. The best way to view your new healthy lifestyle is as simple as that, a lifestyle. This is a new way of living. It’s a new way that leaves you feeling more energized and more confident. You’ll likely see your waistline shrink and your self-esteem sore. You’ll feel stronger and more capable. It makes it okay for you to indulge in the things you love within reason and with moderation in mind. It’s important to practice forgiveness and self-love. These are important components for adopting a healthier lifestyle. Diets sound like short-term solutions, which isn’t what you want. Don’t put a time limit on your success or your happiness.
The tools you need for a successful weight loss journey aren’t just found in the gym or in the kitchen. You also need mental tools that help you prepare and tackle your goals with positivity and flexibility. Take one day at a time and before you know it, you won’t be able to imagine living life any other way.