I've been know to get on health kicks, ride them for a few months and them toss them aside. This time around I'm committed to making changes that really stick. I think it might have something to do with my age (I'll be 40 in November) and my health issues (benign ovarian tumors + arthritis + migraines), whatever it is I feel like this time around I'm changing my lifestyle rather than toying with a diet or exercise plan.
Since I've started making changes in February, I've walked/ran/hiked almost 110 miles; I've lost more than 13 pounds; and best of all, my arthritis is relatively under control. Most of all, I feel more grounded and relaxed. As I've instituted new changes, I've been keeping track of things that work and don't work for me, in hopes of really figuring out how I make this a permanent change. Here are five tips I've learned on my "get healthy journey."
1. Stop taking the easy route. What do I mean? We are a society where everyone multitasks, fights for the closest parking spot and eats crappy fast food ... all because its fast and easy. I've changed my daily routine and I've stopped being SO efficient. When I'm doing laundry, I make multiple trips up and down the stairs to gather our dirty clothes. In the past, I'd load up a single hamper and make just one trip. Now, as I try to get more steps into my day, I make multiple trips and extend the process. We also committed to not eating out. It's a lot more work to cook at home, but it's healthier, so we forgo easy for better.
2. Find a buddy. Any buddy will do ... just find a health buddy. Studies have shown that couples who start an exercise program are more likely to stick with it than those who embark on the program alone. Mike and I made a decision together that we would live a healthier life. We exercise together most days. We eat the same food. We cheer each other on. There are many days I'd rather not get out there and move, but I do because Mike motivates me to get off my butt.
3. Find a few things that work and stick with them. Mike and I eat the same things all the time. Breakfast is almost always one of three things: protein shake, oatmeal or greek yogurt. We don't reinvent the wheel every, single day. We found out what works for us and we're sticking with it. I have a small repertoire of healthy and tasty dinner menus and I just rotate through them. When we get bored with our choices we toss in something new, but we pretty much stick with our favorites, which are both health and promote weight loss.
4. Publicly share your goals. If I hadn't been blabbing so much on Facebook and Intagram, I'm certain I would have quit my #MileADay challenge a month ago. But I publicly committed to it and regularly shared my progress. I didn't want to be seen as a quitter and this was such a huge motivator. Plus, I can't complain about all the awesome support I've been given thanks to all my public sharing. I feel like I have this huge cheering section pushing me along.
5. Be realistic. I'm almost 40 years old. I'll never again have the body I had when I was 18. But that's okay. I'm setting realistic goals and reminding myself daily that my journey is about being healthy, but a size 0. At one point Mike and I talked about eliminating all sugar from our diet (I'd still love to do this), but at this point in our journey it's not realistic. We need to make small, regular changes .. building up to something bigger like Operation No Sugar.
Being realistic is the very reason I decided I would try to walk/run/hike a mile a day. It's not realistic for me to commit hours and hours a day to exercise. I can set aside 15 to 3o minutes a day. So rather than setting myself up for failure, I set realistic goals to use the time I did have wisely. I've also realized that there are days I have to sacrifice in order to fit my exercise time in. Maybe I have to give up TV time or reading blogs. Realistically, I can't do everything in a single day. I have to look at what's required of me and then figure out what I'm willing to live without. I'm not willing to live without exercise. I'm not willing to live without healthy meals. So, I've had to make changes each and every day to fit in the stuff that matters to me.
Are you making healthy changes in your life? Any tips on making those changes stick? I'd love to hear any tips you might have.