You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”. This is a really simple way of achieving weight loss and sustainable living. Yet, so many people fall into the trap of diet fads such as the Keto diet, the water fasting diet, all these diets that are sustainable and can even be detrimental to our health and well being.
You need to be able to maintain a “diet” long term that is sustainable, healthy and realistic. Otherwise every successes you have will be short lived.
There is no hack, no quick fixes and magic pills. (I wish there was). Sensible healthy eating, exercise, quality sleep and living a stress free life is the golden ticket to long term success.
So how do you actually turn your habit of dieting into a lifestyle that you can maintain?
1. Start small
There is no need for a dramatic approach. There is no rush. Remember, you have a lifetime ahead of you. One of the reasons why diet fads don’t work is because they can be overwhelming. It is a good idea to start adding healthy food to our diet rather than cutting things out. Eat healthy food in abundance so that there is no room for unhealthy foods. Don’t fear fruits and vegetable because it will not make you fat.
So start small like drinking more water, load up on vegetables and fruits. When you are out on a restaurant, choose healthier options. Example; choose acai bowl over bacon sandwich.
You also don’t have to hit the gym 7 days a week – Just move your body every day. Take the stairs, bike to work. It doesn’t have to feel like you have to. Small changes add up and sets your mind up to make even more healthier choices.
2. Make/eat food that you actually enjoy but make it healthier
I am not talking about greasy, deep fried comfort food. I am talking healthy food that nourishes your body. Healthy food tastes delicious believe it or not. The trick is to eat food that you like. Don’t eat broccoli if you don’t like it! If you like French fries, switch to air fried instead of deep fried fries instead. If you like ice cream, switch to nice cream instead (fruit ice cream), if you like brownies, switch to brownies made out of black beans (seriously you can’t tell it is made out of beans). There’s always a healthy alternative to foods that you usually eat and there are tons, tons of recipes out there!
It will be a bit of challenge especially in the beginning but eventually your palate will change and you will no longer crave the oil, the salt and sugar. The less you eat unhealthy food, the lesser your craving for them.
Finding alternative to unhealthy food is easier that doing a 1 week of “no this and that” challenge.
3. Learn how to manage stress
Stress can trigger bad habits and poor decision making. For some of us, we turn to food when are stressed without even realizing it. And stress is something we have to deal with every day – If we don’t know how to manage stress then it is very hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some other suggestions for countering stress:
- Meditation – Time and time again studies show how meditation can help reduces stress. We react differently to stress when our state of mind is calm. Meditation also teaches us to breathe properly so when a stressful situation arises, we can breathe through it.
- Exercise – We all know this, endorphins makes us feel good and gives us more energy. Yoga and Tai Chi have elements of both exercise and meditation.
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle is not hard. You just have to know your why and be consistent with your choices. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake but don’t throw your efforts out of the window either. Pick yourself up and try again. Eventually it will get easier.