The secret to a healthy lifestyle plan is (drum roll!)...there is no secret!
Bookshelves are overflowing with how-to’s on healthy eating, exercise routines, positive mindsets - and overall healthy lifestyles. If you Google any of these topics, there are numerous pages of links, ideas, information, and advice.
After years of teaching nutrition and physical training, I quickly realized the issue is not what to do. We have plenty of ideas on what to do! The real issue (more than ever!) is that we don't know how to do it with our busy lives. We simply don’t make time for our own health, for a healthy lifestyle.
As with any plan, it takes thought, planning, and discipline to map out and stick to it. It means planning time on our busy calendars to shop for nutritious food items and then make them into great meals. It takes effort to make time for the gym, or to go for a walk. It also means being in a ‘can-do’ mindset, and not feeling deflated because we don’t meet our goals.
In the end, the real secret is making your healthy lifestyle a priority one day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time. Find those little adjustments, be patient with yourself - and soon enough the tactics creep into our lifestyle because they feel good and become more routine.
To help us get there, let’s take a look at a few common scenarios, thoughts, and roadblocks - or, what we think are roadblocks - to make those healthier adjustments to our lifestyle. From here, we can find tactics, exercises (literally!), and solutions.
I have no time!
"I don't have time," wailed my friend. "I want and need to improve my family's diet and establish an exercise routine for myself, but I can't. There is no time." I asked her if she would keep a log of her time over the next week. What we found was enlightening. Guess What? With some slight revisions, we found time.
Work in to your work out what you enjoy.
Case in point, it turns out my friend is also a voracious reader. She reads late into the night after her children go to bed and then feels too tired to get up early enough to go for a walk before work. We made a simple adjustment, by introducing audiobooks while she walks each morning, does household chores, and has even worked them into commuting to and from work. Her hobby, her happiness actually became integrated into her exercise routine, and more.
How do I make nutritious meals? without getting pushback from my family?
For this same friend, it meant looking at her buying habits when it came to the family's food and meal purchases. We started by excluding all items from her list that had no nutritional value. (Yes, a shopping list is a must too.) At first, there was pushback from her family, but they came around when she included them in the “cooking game.” Now, dinner time is family time. Her children pitch in to prepare meals - and, bonus, they begin to learn valuable, nutritional lessons. It also makes meal prep more fun, faster, and feels good to do it together. (Also, check out our related Blog here on Stealth Nutrition for more tips and tricks.)
Identify your bad habits to make way for healthier habits.
Back to my friend, we realized the many, many hours she was scrolling on social media. It had become a habit she didn’t even really enjoy with her mind feeling very negative afterwards. Then, we took a hard look at her list of life goals. Soon enough, she replaced her time scrolling to learning French on her device. This new habit even turned into a family vacation to France - and another incentive to stick with the French lessons.
We can all develop a healthier lifestyle plan - and now is the best time to start evaluating what you want, your goals, and how you can (realistically) accomplish it. It does take effort, it does take thought, but we can do it. Start by asking yourself: what is most important to me?
Our LifeGuides are also a great outlet to support you in creating a healthy lifestyle plan. They have been where you are and have seen what works - and what doesn’t work. Whether your goal is healthier eating, an exercise routine, or a more positive mindset, there is a Guide for you. Our Guides also make great Accountability Partners (and cheerleaders!) to keep you on track and help you more easily reach your goals.
By Carolyn McGraw, LifeGuide, Healthy Body
Carolyn holds a degree in Nutrition Science and is an Educator in the field, as well as an instructor in yoga and other practices supporting both the mind and body.