Have you ever wondered why so many people – possibly including yourself – fail when it comes to meeting big health challenges like losing weight, getting fit or improving their mental well-being?
More often than not it’s because–as strange as this may sound at first–they go all in, all at once. They try to make too many lifestyle changes at once. Which usually results in nothing changing at all.
Why ‘All In’ Doesn’t Always Work
The motivation behind ‘going all in’ when making healthy lifestyle changes is a reasonable enough one. Take losing weight. We all know that losing weight is hard and so we tend to tackle it with a big, sudden effort, by getting into some slightly odd eating plan (eat like a caveman, eat like a rabbit, or whatever the fad diet of the day is) that is hugely restrictive and requires quite a lot of work to follow as well.
And things usually start well. But then, because the whole thing feels so oppressive we start slipping. Running late for work with no time to make that required egg white omelet with kale we stop by the closest fast-food joint, but just this once. Or your child’s football game one night means you miss an exercise class and a meeting at work the next day means you skip another. Soon enough you are back where you started with little to show for it. Or not quite where you started, because you have now also gained a lot of new guilt over failing again.
Sounds all too familiar? The fact is that some sensible weight-loss programs do work . Most sensible fitness programs work. The problem isn’t with the programs–the problem lies in the fact those programs require such major lifestyle changes. It’s impossible to make every change overnight. And so we fail. And end up feeling miserable. And give up.
Since giving up on what are good, healthy ideas is not a great idea either, what are the alternatives? How about starting small, by implementing these simple healthy lifestyle changes today.
Drink a Glass of Water Before Every Meal
It’s a given that everyone needs to drink more water. It will help improve your digestion, clear the skin and keep you away from those tempting but bad for you sodas. There is another big benefit though; drinking that glass of water before you eat will already fill you up, so you won’t be as tempted to eat beyond the point when you are full just to clean your plate as you might usually do.
Make Just One Meal Really Healthy
Pick a meal, it really doesn’t matter which one, and vow to make it the one truly healthy meal you eat a day. For many, lunch may be the easiest though as it’s often the one meal eaten away from the rest of the family. Get into the habit of taking lunch to work to help you stick to your plan. It does not have to be complicated. A can of tuna and two apples. A skinless chicken breast and some cucumbers. And make sure you have it all ready to go when your break begins. That way you won’t even have to think about eating healthy, you just will.
Get Active at Lunchtime
It won’t take you an hour to eat tuna and apples, so do something more productive than standing around indulging in the usual water cooler gossip. Get outside and go for a walk. Get a coworker to come along with you so it’s even more fun. Close your office door and do some stretches and simple exercises like push-ups. Again, it does not even really matter what you do, as long as you do something.
Set Yourself a Weekly Physical Challenge That’s Fun
If the exercise you mean to do (as in you have good intentions to try to do it regularly) is boring then the chances you’ll actually do it are slim. One thing you can do to reignite your passion for physical exercise is to set yourself a weekly physical challenge to complete.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it excites you. A challenge is something like “hike 5 miles through/across X trail” “swim 5 miles in Lake/River X”, or even “survive 60 minutes of Zumba class”. Not only will these be far more interesting for you but it’ll also sound far more impressive around the watercooler as well!
The best thing about implementing these small, easy to get started lifestyle changes is that as you stick with them adding others gradually will be easier and suddenly one day, you’ll realize that you did ‘go all in’ and succeed, you just never really noticed it.