Living a healthy life is often misinterpreted for living a life of extreme restriction and deprivation. This is why diets fail for most people. Any time I have ever tried to 'diet' in order to lose weight or get healthy, I actually gained weight in the process. I cut carbs out cold turkey but then ended up eating more than before since my body was craving more substance. Another great example of this is telling myself I would get up every day before work and do a full workout.... This lasted about a week. I was exhausted, sore and the last thing I wanted to do was keep getting up to workout.
What I needed instead of a crash diet or extreme working out was a lifestyle change. Making a change in your life like this can be in the form of small steps like swapping out meals and gradually increasing your workouts. Take the time to form healthy habits and improve your life by small changes. You will not be perfect overnight. It takes time, mistakes, and a lot of learning to make the move towards a healthy life.
I thought I would go over some common mistakes That occur when you are trying to make the lifestyle change and what to do instead! These steps will help you stick to working towards your goals and achieve them!
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This: "In 6 months I will be a new, healthier me and lose some weight in the process"
Not that: "I will lose 50 lbs in 6 months"
If your only goal is to lose weight, you will fail. Losing weight is about getting healthier. If you lose weight but do not gain any healthy habits in the process, chances are you will put most of the weight right back on. When we think of weight goals, you should focus on being a healthier and cleaner version of yourself every single day. If you focus on this, you will lose weight or hit your physical goals during this process.
This: Cheat meal
Not That: Cheat day
We should be thinking of cheat meals, not cheat days. Having one or two cheat meals a week will not throw off your progress but having a whole cheat day will. Having a cheat meal will add a few hundred calories whereas a cheat day might double your caloric intake. There is nothing wrong with taking one or two meals a week to indulge. I usually save this day for the weekends or if I know I am going out with friends. If it is planned out, you will know not to have another cheat meal that week!
This: Working out every other day/3-4 times a week.
Not that: Going to the gym every day.
Working out should not be such a burden that you are too sore to move the next day or too tired to get out of bed. It would be great if we could start working out and have the stamina to work out every single day and be a fan burning maniac. In reality, this is not possible. You are going to need to work up and build strength before you add more time at the gym. Now, I am not saying to go easy on yourself but learn your body and know its limits. We don't want any pulled muscles!
This: Do something you love
Not that: Workouts you hate
Working out doing an hour of something you love is always going to better than an hour of something you don't. You will put more into it and be more likely to show up and get work done. Try new things and find classes you enjoy. It may take a while but you will find an exercise that suits you! Whether it be yoga, lifting, running, or dancing, just have fun!
This: Eating enough healthy food to fill you up
Not that: Eating less of the same, unhealthy foods.
Okay. It is a part of every diet to restrict your food intake. This is a terrible way to diet and you should not do this. Our bodies need food to keep up going. The answer is not to stop eating but to start eating better foods. Think lean meats, veggies and fruits. Find meals that are good for you and that you enjoy! Healthy food does not need to be bland and boring. Some of my favorites are avocado toast with an egg on top, beef and broccoli, and chicken tacos!
This: Meal prep
Not that: Make meals every day
When food isn't prepared, it is so much easier to decide to get food out instead of cooking a clean meal. Meal prepping one day a week can help you live a healthier life by not taking the easy route of the drive-through. I usually spend part of my Sunday getting meals for the entire week ready to go so all I have to do it warm it up and enjoy.
This: Find a healthy treat you enjoy
Not that: Cut out all sweets, cave and eat a whole cake.
I'm speaking from experience here when I say, going cold turkey on sweets is the WORST idea. I have a serious sweet tooth and used to crave a treat after every meal. I had to find something to swap out these bad choices with to curb this craving. A great way to do this is with fruit or a few pieces of dark chocolate! My personal favorite dessert now is a dark chocolate covered frozen banana. YUM. It is about finding ways to swap out the sugar for a healthier option, rather than depriving yourself of a treat.
This: Get a marked water bottle to see your intake
Not that: Drink until you feel satisfied
My mom never drinks enough water because she says she's not thirsty, but this is the wrong approach. Staying hydrated is a crucial part of becoming healthy. Our body is mostly water and our intake can take drastically change our daily lives. I recommend getting a water bottle that marks how much water you should be drinking every few hours of the day. You only need to fill this one twice, and you will hit your goal every day!
This: Spend time researching nutrition and fitness
Not that: Spend money buying fad diet program guides, etc.
If you put in the time and research you will have a better understanding of why you are on this journey and what you need to do. Between blogs, journals and other media you can find almost everything you need on the internet to be successful in becoming a healthier you. Now, if you want to pay for a workout program - I totally understand. I personally use Openfit! Another great option if you are really struggling is NOOM. They help you focus on a lifestyle change instead of a fad diet!
This: Remember you can make mistakes
Not that: Start over every time you slip up
This is not about being perfect. You can make mistakes, have a little too much at your cheat meal and skip a workout. It is going to take time to get where you want to be and it will be full of ups and downs. Do not beat yourself up over small failures and don't give up. Remember, this is a journey. It will take time and lots of effort. You will mess up. But that does not mean you will not make it!