Choosing a healthy lifestyle isn’t as easy as simply telling yourself: I’m going to eat better, exercise more and lose weight. It’s actually more about the small choices we make throughout the day, every day, rather than setting an overwhelming goal. You will get there, but it’s important to focus on the little things we do all day long.
Healthy habits only become habits when you do then consistently over time.
So instead of setting yourself up to fail, you need to set yourself up by planning ahead. Planning is the key to success.
Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:
1. Identifying your weakness is the first step. For example, I can’t have chocolate in the house. If I do, I think about it and it preoccupies my day so much that I am less productive. Ultimately, I eat it and feel guilty. Therefore, I remove chocolate from my house. It’s not only better for me, it’s better for my family.
2. Avoid eating late at night. Eat small meals throughout the day to avoid that snack attack at night. Eating late often leads people to a food hangover the next day. Your metabolism will slow down which will lead to weight gain.
3. Don’t grab fast food on an impulse. Pack healthy snacks rather than visiting the vending machine or the drive-through. By packing small meals throughout the day, it should help your blood sugar from spiking or dipping and will help keep you satisfied.
4. If you shouldn’t eat it – don’t buy it. If you don’t know all the ingredients – don’t eat it. You are less likely to eat out of impulse or eat junk if you take the time to consider what you are eating before it ends up in your house or office drawer.
5. Don’t eat for comfort. This is one of the hardest habits to break because we have been ingrained for our whole life that there is comfort in food. So take a breath, not a bite. Taking care of your body is much more comforting than feeling stuffed or guilty from eating “comfort food”.
6. Pay attention to your portion size. Use smaller plates, at restaurants grab a to go container before you even start eating, measure food, whatever it takes to eat smaller portions will help in the battle of weight loss.
7. Make exercise a priority. Schedule it like an appointment and if you can’t get to the gym walk during lunch, take your kids on a bike ride, just keep moving!
Always keep your larger goal in mind to live a healthier lifestyle, but don’t forget those small steps each day are what are going to help you achieve it!
Sarah Kuretzky, MA, CPT, CHHC