Once you settle into a sedentary lifestyle, it seems like an impossible feat to turn it around. Even with the best of intentions and preparations, when it comes down to making changes, it just doesn’t happen.
The good news is, even if you’ve struggled or given up in the past, that doesn’t mean a healthier lifestyle isn’t in your future. By following some straightforward tips for making the necessary changes achievable, you can move from the couch to the healthier, more active lifestyle you want.
Prepare To Succeed
In order to succeed with any changes in life, you need preparation. If you want to do well on a test, you study. If you want to eat better, you stop buying processed or high sugar foods. With the appropriate preparations, you can set yourself up for success.
Before starting any exercise routine, it’s always best to check with your doctor to make sure to take part in activities that won’t do more harm than good. Depending on your personal circumstances, it may be ideal to meet with a doctor of physical therapy who can offer advice on the most appropriate exercises for you, especially if you struggle with nagging pain from a previous injury.
Change Daily Habits
Making changes should be a gradual transition to healthier choices rather than jumping in feet first. Making small changes will help you get accustomed to your new norm versus the shock of cutting certain foods out and feeling like you’re being deprived of something you like.
One such change is how you fill your plate for dinner. Be aware of what you’re dishing out and try to make sure half of your plate is filled with non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and dark green vegetables. The beauty of this is you’re still eating a similar amount of food for a fraction of the calories.
Consider eating from a smaller plate. Experts aren’t sure if it’s simply an optical illusion or what the science behind it is, but people who eat from smaller plates typically consume half the calories of those who eat from bigger ones.
Instead of eating 2-3 large meals, snack throughout the day. That’s not to say you should snack on junk food, you have to be sensible. Prepare individual, portion-sized, healthy snacks like high protein beef jerky, fruits and vegetables. Your body uses food much like a car uses gasoline to keep it running. By eating a normal portion of healthy snacks every couple of hours, you’ll keep your energy levels from dipping and affecting your motivation and perseverance. It’s easier to stay on track when you aren’t overly hungry.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential! When you don’t get enough sleep, patience and motivation dwindle as well as determination. It’s hard to be excited about making changes to your daily routines when you’re too tired to put in the effort.
Set yourself up for success by creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it. The best thing to do is designate a bedtime; if you need to set an alarm an hour before your bedtime, do it until you can get into the groove. An hour before bed, silence your phone, mute notifications or put your phone in airplane mode. Keeping distractions to a minimum will help you to unwind so you can sleep when you crawl into bed.
Start a bedtime routine; wash your face, change into your pajamas and do something that helps you relax. Some people read, journal or meditate. Find what works for you.
A healthier you is not impossible! Start small, celebrate the small victories along the way and if you have a bad day, don’t give up!