“If you just can’t seem to get on track with eating healthy and exercising, you’re not alone. Whether you’re just too busy, have some lingering pain, or simply don’t know what’s healthy and what’s not, it’s hard to work healthy eating habits and adequate physical fitness into your life.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about making it easy to be healthy. If you can set yourself up for success, it’ll be easier to follow through when the time comes. If you can find easy ways to work healthy eating and exercise into your daily routine, you’ll be on your way to better overall health.
It’s not about “dieting”
When it comes to year-round health, it’s about “diet”, not “dieting”. Sure, going on a strict diet after the holidays to burn off the excess turkey and pie pounds is fine, but you can’t maintain a fad diet year-round. You need to think about eating as an overall change.
The simplest way for those averse to diet to put themselves in the right direction is to begin to make small, incremental changes. First, replace half of your daily consumption of soda, sweet tea, and juices with water. When you master that, replace most or all of it. Tell yourself that you’re going to only eat red meat once a week, and replace other nights with leaner protein. Designate one night of the week as vegetarian (meatless Mondays!) if that’s your thing. If you need help feeling full, seek out foods that actually help you feel sated like chickpeas and lentils.
Going on a rampage and throwing out everything in your fridge except celery and yogurt isn’t the way to go. It’s too drastic. Make small changes that are actually realistic. You’ll find yourself feeling better in no time.
For exercise, go with the convenient and fun over all else
If you are naturally averse to exercise, telling yourself that you’re going to start running five miles a day or you’re going to start spending hours at the gym is not only unrealistic, it’s counterproductive. Sure, long, intense workouts are going to burn more calories and produce greater gains in muscle development. But do intense, time-consuming workouts fit into your life?
Probably not. Instead of opting for the most “bang-for-your-buck” workouts, you should be ok with framing exercise as something that’s fun. For example, rather than walk or run on the treadmill, offer your services as a dog walker. Spending time with animals is fun, and you can make some dough while you burn calories. Dance. Practice martial arts. Play basketball. Chase your kids around the yard. Working out is more than just running and lifting weights.
That covers the fun. You also need to make exercise convenient in order to stick to it. Work your workouts into your daily routine. Walk or bike to work. Take a walk during lunch. Have a mobile meeting. Do a 5-minute workout during the commercials when you’re watching TV at night. People tend to fail to stick to an exercise regimen when they feel they have to sacrifice a large chunk of time to do so.
Health and fitness are year-long commitments – not stuff you do when you need to look good at the pool in July. The only way to keep yourself engaged, year-round, is to find ways to incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life.”