Every year, like lakhs of people, you decide to eat healthier, get in shape and take better care of yourself. With all your will power, you dig up the most interesting and quickly benefiting diet plans, look at your gym memberships and start creating all these rules for yourself so that you take better care of yourself.
Within a month, your will power starts diminishing and you see yourself doing it forcefully and before you know it your resolution to take care of yourself has disappeared!
Most people associate a healthier lifestyle with dieting which our mind associates with deprivation. A healthier lifestyle is about adopting certain habits to create subtle changes which builds a better lifestyle.
Let’s not make resolutions or rules this year, let’s focus on enhancing your lifestyle for a better living.
Highlight the positives: We all have a combination of habits, some which are healthy and some which are bringing us down. Make a note of all your lifestyle habits and mark the ones you want to change in red and the ones you are happy about in blue. We all tend to focus on what is not working for us, how about focusing on the positive habits for a change? Pat yourself on the back for all the positive habits you do follow in your life.
Any lifestyle habit you choose to make, always make sure that you do appreciate yourself for the progress you see in it. Suppose you are on a “diet”, and in one meal you over-eat; you automatically start feeling guilty and feel a sense of failure. That’s not required, as in a day you have 3 meals, which is 21 meals a week. Out of 21 meals, even if you do over-eat 2-3 meals, congratulate yourself on the 18-19 meals you got right! Highlight the effort and progress you made.
Pleasure in movement: When we all think about getting in shape, mentally we picture ourselves going to the gym and exercising with a lot of pain and struggle. Why do we need to make our body go through pain to get into shape?
Find something which makes you feel good. If swimming in the cool waters is something you look forward to, take that up! If you love to dance, spend an hour dancing or join a group where you get to enjoy dancing and learn a new dance form. If spending time nature appeals to you, go strengthen your muscles by doing some gardening.
Love what you eat, Eat what you love: It’s a misconception that you can lose weight only by cutting down on eating all the things that you love. The trick to losing weight is eating smaller portions and enjoying what you eat. Our body requires a balance of protein, vitamins, fibre, and carbohydrates…yes, carbohydrates! When we cut off any of these, our body automatically weakens. Eat everything, enjoy it but in small quantities.
If you find yourself having the tendency to eat large portions of things that you love, change the size of your plate. Eating in a plate which is a size smaller, makes the plate look fuller and the brain is mentally tricked! Avoid taking second helpings. You will see a drastic change just by doing this!
High expectations: Do not set yourself up for failure by creating such large targets which loom over your head at all times. Take baby steps by setting small, achievable goals for yourself. Let the healthy habit change be gradual.
If you haven’t gone jogging in months, don’t decide you will do it for an hour every day. Start off with doing it for 10-15 minutes and slowly increase the time as you see yourself enjoying it and doing it consistently.
Research shows that doing a 10 minute exercise routine 3 times a day is more effective than one 30 minute exercise routine. So, after every meal spending 10 minute doing a brisk walk is going to kick up your digestive system into fast gear and you will see your stamina increasing steadily; post which you can increase your time as well.
Muse: Find your own personal muse. The muse being the kind of lifestyle habits you wish to create. Inspire yourself to adopt the lifestyle which is going to make you feel healthier for a long period of time. Once you find a reasonable and personal one for yourself, you are bound to stick to it.
Remember feeling healthy and taking up the lifestyle of your choice is all about loving yourself. When you start loving yourself, you will realize that taking good care of yourself is a luxury you deserve.