Finding a Healthy Lifestyle That Works For You
First of all, health means something very different to everyone. To me, being healthy means maintaining a moderately active lifestyle and balancing the healthy & non-healthy foods I eat. Your healthy lifestyle may be completely different; there is no one size fits all approach.
I completely believe in balance. It is something I have picked up over my year of healthy lifestyle transformation. If this is something that is important to you, you need to incorporate into your lifestyle.
I can’t stress this one enough. Do not just do what you hear is best. Research your options, and know there are disadvantages to every plan. The same diet will not have the same affect on everyone. (By diet, I mean a lifelong way of eating, not an “I want to lose weight” diet) Experiment with different plans and pick one you can stick with. Which brings me to my next point…
Sticking to a “Diet”
Many people yo-yo diet, meaning they do it to lose weight and then fall back into old habits, causing the weight to come back. Pick a lifestyle you can stick to long-term. For me, this meant finding foods I enjoy and creating a balance. It also meant finding an exercise routine I won’t get bored of, and a gym I feel comfortable in.
Also, wanting to lose weight isn’t the only reason to change your lifestyle! Everyone should be healthy. But if you do want to lose weight, you still need to change your diet permanently. The weight you lose from yo-yo dieting will never stay off if you don’t continue following a healthy lifestyle.
So Do I Dive Right In?
There are basically two approaches to starting anything new: dive all in, or ease into it. I have done both when it comes to starting a healthier lifestyle, and I’ll explain how to do either and the benefits of both.
I think this method is a lot easier to accept and start, but also a lot more difficult to stick with. For years I dabbled in going to the gym and eating what I thought was healthy food. I never fully committed or understood what I was doing. This method does NOT work for me! But, it may work very well for you! Making gradual changes may make you more comfortable.
This was the method I used a year ago when I went Paleo. I found this extremely difficult, but not giving myself an option was the best way for me. I did this for six months before I allowed myself to experiment with different diets. I really needed to detox and forget about junk food for a while, and I found this worked well for me. It was a terrible 2 weeks while I got used to it and detoxed from sugar, but I don’t regret it at all. Getting over the adjustment period is difficult but well worth it.
Learn From My Mistakes- Tips For The All In Approach
When I did the all in approach a year ago, I had a dietitian’s help but no idea what I was doing. This is not the right way to do it! Make sure you fully understand what you are committing to. If you are experimenting with eating Paleo like I did, make sure you understand what you can and can’t eat. This goes back to researching! Set clear rules for yourself if you are establishing your own plan. When temptation strikes, are you allowing yourself to give in on occasion? If you are limiting your carb intake, are you going to have a refeed day for high impact workouts? Determine all of this before you start so there is less temptation and confusion.
PREPARE. This is super important! I started my diet two days after being told what to do, with minimal preparation. It was impossible to find things to eat when I was hungry. Make sure you food shop and meal prep beforehand! If you are easily tempted by a certain type of food, try to get it all out of site before you start.
Being prepared also means mentally. Make sure you are in a good frame of mind to start this. You have to want to change for yourself, not because someone else is telling you to.
Lastly, don’t stress! We all slip up and have off-days. We’re human! It is easy to become obsessed, and that isn’t healthy. Health isn’t just what you are putting into your body. It’s also a frame of mind. Don’t eat things you don’t enjoy just because they’re good for you. Enjoy your food and your life!