How to Create Lasting Healthy Habits
How to Create Lasting Healthy Habits?
As a nutritional therapist I see many clients with all sorts of conditions/symptoms but I am focused on helping them put into place healthy nutrition and lifestyle protocols and this is all about creating lasting good habits.
At this time of year, so many people are thinking of the quick weight loss, or the ‘get fit’ scheme. But the relentless focus on a higher level goal is – in my eyes – the wrong approach to take.
The problem is – if we only focus on the big goal, it can lead to failure.
People are human. When life gets busy and the ability to stick to a rigid framework fails, then often people give up. “It’s too hard!” “I’m a failure!”
Instead, we should focus on habits that are sustainable and that way we can make changes that lead us towards our goal rather than just thinking about the goal itself.
What is a habit? “It’s a routine of behaviour repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously”
So – how can we implement and achieve those lasting good habits?
Start with something you know should be easy to implement. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying something you know is too hard.
Then focus on making small incremental steps. Don’t set the bar too high. We feel satisfied when we achieve one small change, and this makes the next change/step easier.
For example, you want to cut down on your tea and coffee intake. You drink 8 cups a day, and you’d like to switch to green tea/rooibos/herbal.
Week 1: Reduce to 6 cups a day. Week 2: reduce to 4 cups a day. You may stay at this for a while and then have another push to 2 cups a day. Each time replacing with a more hydrating drink.
Think about a simple change to a healthier food choice rather than depriving yourself altogether.
Say you work in an office with biscuits around. The current ingrained habit is to have a biscuit with each cup a coffee.
Rather than sit there and feel deprived that you’re missing out on the biscuit, take something with you to replace the biscuit, like an oat cake.
Why? Because if you eat nothing, your willpower may last a couple of days. But as soon as you have a stressful day, you’ll be straight back in the biscuit tin! But an oatcake has the texture of a biscuit, but it’s full of fibre, it’s a low GI type food, low sugar and is so much better for your health.
Another approach for sustained healthy habits is to make it convenient and easy.
Healthy eating does not have to be complicated. It does not have to involve cooking complex, time-consuming meals.
Example, you know you should cut out white refined carbohydrates, but pasta is so easy to cook. Why not cook quinoa or take a bit more time on brown rice? Both are fibre rich, easy to cook in a pan and have more protein content. Or for a like for like comparison, buy a lentil pasta!
Or you know you should eat more vegetables, but you live on your own, and they go off too quickly. Buy frozen vegetables instead. They usually have a higher nutritional value as they are frozen so soon after harvesting.
Each small change is incremental to your overall health. Each small change could enable you to lose a few pounds without any effort at all. You’ll then feel motivated to go one step further.
Finally, be patient. It’s not my best trait, but it is important when it comes to establishing new habits into our lifestyle. Initially, you’ll be really conscious of what you are doing differently. But before long, you won’t even think about it. It’s why doing one thing at a time works best. Just repeat, repeat, repeat!
Before embarking on any new health regime, just stop and think through these examples. Lasting healthy changes are possible. I know- I’ve been there and done it. But I did not transform my diet and lifestyle overnight. And I continue to adapt what I do as I get older so that my lifestyle choices work for me.
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If you suffer any symptoms you can’t resolve or you are unsure about your diet and health, why not book a free discovery call? Simply visit www.peytonprinciples.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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