Change isn’t easy, especially when it comes to our health. When we’ve had a long day at work and we just can’t be bothered cooking dinner, we can often make unhealthy choices, like fast food. We can feel guilty when we’ve had that extra slice of cake, or returned home from our grocery shop with a packet of doughnuts.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to get some exercise into our daily routine, especially during winter when we just want to snuggle up on the couch in front of the TV.
If you want to make changes to improve your health, there are a few things to consider in order to make it a little easier to start off on the right track:
1. You have to be ready to make the change.
No-one can tell you to change. If you’re starting off on your path to achieve better health because someone tells you to, whether it’s a family member, your doctor or anyone else (no matter how well-meaning they are), it’ll be difficult for you to achieve long-term results. You could end up feeling resentful and out of control with your life and this type of mindset can easily sabotage your goals. YOU have to be ready to change. Your ‘pain’ of continuing down the path of ill health must be GREATER than the ‘pain’ of making the necessary changes to improve your health. Only then are you much more likely to be successful in the long-term. You know that you never want to feel the same way that your ill health is currently causing you to feel, and this is a great motivator for you to take action.
2. Keep a food and exercise journal.
We do so many things throughout the day that we’re not even aware of. Maybe there’s a plate of biscuits on the kitchen bench that tempts us every time we walk past and by the end of the day, there’s just an empty plate. Or we’re sitting down in front of the TV with a bowl of chips, and before we know it, the bowl’s empty. Keep a journal of everything you consume (food and drinks) over a one-week period and then review it. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve actually consumed without really being ‘aware’ of it. While you’re at it, write down any exercise that you do and, I suggest you write down how many hours you spend sitting down. The body needs regular movement for optimal health, even if it means just standing or walking.
3. Enlist the support of your family and friends.
When wanting to make a major change to improve your health, it’s important to tell your family and friends and have them respect the decision you’ve made. It’ll be more difficult for you to change if they don’t respect your decision. When I decided to make the change, I told everyone around me – family, close friends, and work colleagues. I wanted to put myself in the best possible position in order to be successful. There may be a few people that feel threatened by your decision – maybe they feel they’d like to be healthier but lack the drive to take action and would prefer to keep you on the same track as them. I’ve experienced this by being offered unhealthy foods (foods that they know I don’t eat anymore) along with ‘oh, a little bit won’t hurt you’, and ‘you only live once’. You name it – I think I’ve heard most of it! In my situation, I chose to stick with my decision and not spend so much time around those that were trying to sabotage my efforts. I knew that those who really cared for me and knew my ‘pain’, wouldn’t talk that way.
So there you have it; 3 tips to starting off on the right health track. You’ll start to feel so much better once you take action and, just maybe, seeing improvement in your health may even inspire others around you to think about making healthy changes themselves!