Why is it so hard to make lasting lifestyle changes?! After all, information on diet, exercise and health is accessible at your fingertips through the internet, social media and apps. What gives?!
For starters, many people “yo-yo diet” from fad to fad instead of taking the time to make lasting changes. Put it this way, you are a unique individual and you didn’t become 50 pounds overweight in a month and it’s going to take you more than a month to make that shift back to a healthy weight. Not to mention, when you choose a method of weight loss that you cannot sustain for the long haul you’re just setting yourself up for weight gain. I always tell my clients to focus on making small sustainable changes over time. By shifting eating and exercise habits to compliment YOUR unique lifestyle, will allow you to make concessions for the occasional splurge. Simply cooking more whole food meals, eating more fruits and veggies, finding an exercise program that you love (like a local class or power walks with your dog), can work wonders on your overall sustainability.
There’s also the emotional aspect. If you’re someone that eats during times of stress or sadness, giving up this crunch can be extremely difficult. Think about your habits. Do you eat dinner on the couch watching TV (and go back for thirds!) or binge on Netflix and sugary snacks? Even these seemingly benign habits can wreck havoc on your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes simply replacing an old habit with a new one works wonders, like eating dinner at your kitchen table then taking an evening stroll with your partner or dog. Studies suggest that it takes 21 days to break free of bad habits, but if there’s a deep rooted pain, you may need to work with a professional to get to the bottom of it.
Furthermore, many individuals do not make the time and plan for success. It doesn’t matter how much you know about a healthy lifestyle if you don’t have the right strategy for success and schedule time for yourself. For example, if you’re a busy mom or career woman, you need to schedule what I call “you time” into your calendar. Literally, write it on your calendar or type it into your smartphone. This is the time when you will enjoy a workout at the gym, read a book, relax, or simply do something you love. Unless there is an actual emergency, you adhere to your schedule and say “no” when other things crop up that might interfere with your “you time.” This will teach you to make yourself—and your health—a priority, and it will ensure that you always have time for exercise or other activities that will alleviate stress, which can often wreak havoc on your diet.
Moreover, many people lack in accountability. You cannot go it alone and it can be helpful to build a team of supportive individuals (no matter what your budget is), whether it’s a trainer, wellness coach, family, friends, gym or online community. And most importantly find your why. Give yourself some leverage. Do you want to be there for your children or grandchildren? Do you want to look fabulous and feel amazing at your wedding or reunion? Do you want the confidence to just get off the couch and rock your life? Find your why and you’re on your way to meeting your lifestyle goals.