The term “diets don’t work” has become a major cliché in today’s society. Countless diet books line the shelves of bookstores and numerous diet products are advertised via TV, The Internet, and magazines. Yet the majority of the U.S. still remains overweight. So how does one decipher what is good information and what is a gimmick? Well, you first need to recognize that you already know the basics of living a healthy lifestyle. You may not be an expert, but you can determine what healthy meals and workouts consists of.
Think of the average healthy person. Do they overeat or starve? Do they over exercise or never exercise? Of course not, these people are balanced. The foods they eat are not off the wall or crazy. For example, instead of eating take-out for lunch everyday, they cook their meals in advance to make sure only the freshest most wholesome ingredients are used. Instead of buying a piece of gym equipment or subscribing to a gym membership and sporadically working out, they consistently engage in moderate exercise.
Healthy people not only eat well and exercise often, they also have a healthy attitude towards both. They do not spend time obsessing over what they ate or how they worked out. These people understand that a healthy lifestyle enhances life, not consumes it. So with the New Year approaching make a life commitment to create lasting change and enjoy the benefits of optimum health. Here are a few ways to achieve just that.
1- Proclaim your goal – Getting someone else involved in your goals is a great way to keep yourself accountable. No one wants to tell a friend or colleague they plan to eat healthy, only for them to see you the next day scarfing down a piece of cake. Tell someone who you see often about your health goals. Ask them to check in on you from time to time if you wish. You can also solicit a partner so you can go food shopping, workout, and both become healthier together.
2- Write down your progress and goals – Becoming more fit is not something we can think about once a year and see results. When you are first starting out, write down your goals. Whether it is a specific weight, size, or striving for seven consecutive days of eating veggies, put it down on paper. Then each day chart your progress and see if you can identify any pitfalls you have encountered throughout your week. If there are any revisions you need to make towards your goal then you will have good records in order to make positive changes.
3- Set yourself up for success – Make attaining your goal as convenient as possible. For example, if you’d like to cut back on sweets, don’t buy them when you go food shopping. Get rid of all the loose change and bills under five dollars when you are at work and prepare your meals in advance. Plan ahead if you know you are going out. In other words make decisions before hand and don’t put yourself in tempting situations.
4- Do your homework – There are tons of health and fitness books out there, so choosing a program that works for you is not a simple decision. Whatever you choose make sure your eating is balanced, meaning you take in reasonable portion sizes of all the food groups. Also make sure the fitness workouts won’t leave you in pain the first week. Once you’ve found a program you like don’t be afraid to adjust it to fit your lifestyle. Just give enough time to see results before you do.
Remember you already know what is good for you and what is not. Creating a healthy lifestyle is more about being determined to stay on the right track, even when you are tempted to give up, than it is about knowing every aspect of nutrition and exercise. After researching and practicing, your knowledge will increase along with your drive to succeed. So at first use common sense regarding your health and have every choice you make move you closer to your goal.