One of the hardest things about losing weight and developing a healthy lifestyle is leaving long ingrained bad habits or beliefs behind us. Creating healthy habits is hard! Bad habits are so “second nature” to us that we just run on automatic pilot where they are concerned.
Consequences of Bad Health Habits
- lead a sedentary lifestyle
- eating foods regularly with little nutritional value
- increased portion size or frequency of eating foods
- lack of sleep
- development of health issues e.g. heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more
- more stress in your life
- lack of focus for what’s important
The problem with bad habits is that they can become a vicious cycle. It’s hard to break the pattern . You can feel like a hamster in a wheel. Stop the world and let me off!
Changing From Bad to Good
Always start out the process small. If exercise isn’t your thing, start out with something like walking. Walking to the end of the street might be what you can do in the beginning. Maybe next week you can walk around the block. Start small and work up. Taking these small steps and achieving them will give you these little boosts of encouragement to keep you going. You can check out my blog post on “Adding Exercise For Weight Loss (When It’s Just Not Your Thing)” for more inspiration in this area.
Buy Fruits and Vegetables You Enjoy
Again, this is a small first step, but buy those items you know you enjoy. Prep them up when you get home so they are ready to eat, or purchase them already prepped for use. Take advantage of Farmer’s Markets too! See my blog post “Discover 5 Benefits To Farmer’s Markets” on their advantages.
Buy Lean Meats
Buy skinless poultry meat, lean pork loin and non-breaded fish. Slice off any visible fat before cooking. Flavour it up with seasonings or fresh herbs.
Use Smaller Plates
Trick your eye when it comes to portion size-use smaller plates and bowls for cereal. Have those most conveniently available in your kitchen cupboards.
Develop An Evening Routine
Get a head start on a good night’s sleep with setting up an evening routine. Choose a time you will go to bed. Ensure you will have between 7-9 hrs sleep per night. Close out all electronics 1 hr before bed. Take out tomorrow’s clothes. Have a soothing bath or shower. Pleasure read before lights out. This is just an example of how you could set up an evening routine. Do what works for you and remember the idea is to unwind before sleeping so reduce your distractions as possible. Proper sleep is an essential component of the body’s overall health. The sleep time is when the body rests and recovers itself-getting ready for the next day. Make it a priority.
Get A Health Baseline
When was the last time you had a checkup? It may be a good idea to see your doctor. Understand if you currently have any issues going on and what exercise level you should work toward. Explain your goals to your doctor. It’s also good to keep in check, if you have any immediate relatives with health issues such as your parents. What is in your family tree? Are you at risk?
Use Temptation Bundling
This is a handy little trick to use when you have something you really don’t want to do. Take something you enjoy doing and couple it with something that you don’t like to do, and before you know it, you’ll be doing what you didn’t want to do quite regularly–and loving it. Here’s an example- You find going for a walk boring, but if you listen to a podcast or audiobook (which you enjoy) on your route, it makes the whole walking experience more pleasant. It will most likely add up to a new healthy habit for you too!
Make The Choice
These tips are all excellent to use when you want to create healthy habits. Ultimately, there is that time period between your unhealthy habits and your healthy habits when you have to make the decision. Have it firmly in your mind that things need to change and that it starts right now! You know what the bad habits are doing to your overall picture. What those consequences are. It’s time to change that path . Change those bad habits for good ones. Create those healthy habits for life!
Frequently Asked Questions
Habits form out from behaviours that we repeat often. We repeat them so much, that they become second nature and we do them without thinking. This acting without thinking is what makes it hard to break.
Break the cycle. A habit typically follows a chain of events. If you break the chain, you are likely to break the habit.
Developing a healthy habit requires repetition and commitment over a period of time. You will not likely see this occur like second nature for awhile. Having someone to keep you accountable can give you the encouragement to keep going. A Habit Tracker can allow you to see your progress typically through a graph and it can be inspiring to watch your progress.
After years of weight issues, I have finally found the formula of combining healthy food choices, regular exercise and positive behavior change to lose weight for good. Coupled with, exploring self-development, being productive and living simply, I am now maintaining a healthy lifestyle and in a good place. I enjoy writing articles to help my readers to become the best they can be!