Embracing a healthy way of living for permanent, lasting changes is vital for creating improved health and wellness. To make changes in your lifestyle, it is important to start with a plan for lifelong health. Focus on the big overall picture, which is achieving overall good health, and not just short-term weight loss.
Before you hop on the diet bandwagon in an effort to be healthier or lose weight, it is important to get into a wellness state of mind. The way you think about your health and wellness plays a role in the action you take toward living a healthier lifestyle. So by prioritizing your health, you’ll develop the “wellness state of mind”.
Before beginning to make changes in your lifestyle, it is important to know where you are in your journey toward total body health and wellness. If you
- Know your goals
- Ready to make change
- Understand that change is a gradual process that takes time, patience and daily action
then you’re in the right state of mind to power forward!
Set healthy, realistic goals. You are more likely to succeed in reaching realistic goals when you make step-by-step changes. Start with one or two specific, realistic and small changes at a time.
For example, cutting a few calories here and there won’t show up on the scale immediately, but making consistent changes will. Below are a few effortless ways to sidestep excess calories throughout your day:
Drink your tea or coffee plain (especially if you drink multiple cups of coffee/tea per day)
Don’t skip breakfast Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Getting more fiber at breakfast will make you feel full sooner and eat less of it overall.
Swap soda for carbonated water Cutting out one can of soda or sugar-sweetened beverage a day could save you about 150 calories. You can add lemon and cucumber slices with mint for some extra flavor!
Keep your kitchen clean Avoid temptations by keeping your pantry, fridge and freezer free of foods with a lot of added sugar, solid fat and salt
Eat protein throughout the day Eating meals and snacks with protein, found in nuts, seeds, lean meat, beans, soy and dairy, can stop you from feeling hungry
Order food before you’re hungry It is never a good idea to wait until you’re really hungry to eat! People who ordered food at least an hour before eating tend to order fewer calories than those who order at lunchtime and eat immediately. Waiting until you’re hungry to decide what to eat increases your odds of overindulging
Find your balance between food and physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness—plus, it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Exercise should not feel like an obligation. If the gym is not the place for you, a walk outdoors, yoga or riding a bike still counts as physical activity!
Make your mental health a priority by developing a positive attitude. Your mind plays a large role in your health and your relationship to what and how you eat and drink.
Reaching and maintaining a healthier weight or lifestyle contributes to your overall health and well-being. Being able to sustain a healthy dietary lifestyle is about organization and carving out a feasible individualized plan that suits your lifestyle, more than it is about willpower.
Author: Linda Said, RD, US Registered Dietitian.