When you start a diet or workout program, it’s easy to think of it as only a short-term change. You’re just going on a diet until you lose the weight you need to. You’re just working out all the time until you get fit. We’ve talked a lot in this blog about why that mindset fails you in the long run. If you want to reach your goal andstay there, you need to change how you think about eating and working. You really need to change your lifestyle.
Most people who are severely overweight have quite a few unhealthy habits. They’re essentially addicted to treating their bodies poorly and the reasons behind “why” they’re doing it are often many and complicated. But what if those habits could be broken and you could instead get “addicted” to healthy living? Would you do it? If so, here are some tips to get you started:
Make Small Changes
No one is born a smoker. Smoking a single cigarette doesn’t make you a smoker. Addiction to nicotine and smoking comes with habitual use of tobacco. The key word here is habitual – which means frequently. So start with small changes to your lifestyle. Try swapping out your junk food snacks with healthy fruits and vegetables that you enjoy eating. Switch out sodas and sugary drinks for water, green tea, or pure fruit juice. Pay attention to ingredients. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars.
At the same time, change out unhealthy habits for healthier ones. Instead of taking a coffee or snack break, take a break to go for a walk or a short bike ride. If you eat out of boredom, when you get to the fridge, think for a moment before you open the door. Are you really hungry? If the answer is no, go take a walk or do some quick and easy calisthenics, like crunches or arm exercises, instead.
The Early Bird Gets Fit
Make a habit of getting up earlier each morning. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get up and go for a run or a bike ride. It’s hard to do at first, but once you’ve been doing it for a while, you’ll find that you have more energy throughout the day. Again here’s that “habitual” word coming in to play again and you may eventually “miss” your morning routine if you skip a day.
If you do skip a day, don’t let yourself skip two, especially when you’re getting started. Many researchers say it takes 28 days to form a habit. Mark your calendar and set goals for yourself. Reward yourself when you’ve reached that 28-day habit-forming goal, just try not to center the reward around food. A new bike, new walking shoes or a new outfit are great motivational goals.
Find the Right Workout
If you hate running, you’re probably not going to stick to it. If, however, you find that you like walking, hiking or riding your bicycle, you’ll actually look forward to doing those things. Find the workout that works for you. You’ll be more likely to get addicted to if it’s motivating and challenging. Try a dance class or a spin class at the gym if you want to add some structure to your workout schedule.
Bad or good, habits aren’t formed overnight. They’re the result of doing something habitually over time. If you’re ready to swap out the bad with the good, get started. The people who are addicted to healthy living don’t feel guilty about it and I’m guessing you won’t either.