When you research modern ways to lose weight and get healthy, the phrase “lifestyle change” is exceedingly common among dieticians, weight loss experts, doctors and gurus. However, the prospect of changing your entire lifestyle is overwhelming and often unrealistic. The average time it takes for a person to change a single behavior is 66 days. Forming new habits takes even longer; the better part of a year for many people. Because of this, asking yourself to commit to an entire lifestyle overhaul overnight is incredibly problematic. A successful overnight transition to a completely new regimen is unlikely, and failure only compounds the stress associated with existing health issues. Here are six baby steps you can take right now that will lead to long-term healthy habits without setting you up to fail in the process.
Start your health journey by not removing anything at all, but by adding a single glass of water. Chances are, the first thing you consume each day is a cup of coffee, and that’s okay! Coffee is awesome, but it’s also a diuretic, which means it stimulates the kidneys and causes urination. After a full night of fasting during your sleep, your body is already dehydrated and caffeine causes further dehydration. Drinking a full glass of water before starting your morning routine will rehydrate your body and leave you with more sustained energy throughout the day. Reading about how proper hydration combined with a thrive experience can leave you feeling refreshed and ready for anything.
Read Nutrition Labels
Set your own criteria for purchases based on your nutrition goals. If you want to cut sugar out of your diet, but going cold turkey makes you feel so awful that you cannot function in the real world, start small by making sure the products you buy contain only small amounts. As you become accustomed to fewer and fewer grams of sugar throughout your day, you eventually will be able to omit it completely without the negative side effects of withdrawal. Once you have rid your diet of addictive sugar, use the same method to limit other food vices and replace them with healthier energy sources. Over time, you will have rid your daily diet of toxic ingredients and be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Order Your Groceries Online
Writing out your grocery list before your shopping trip is a great step for healthy meal planning, but only if you can avoid all the impulse purchases that the store has so conveniently placed and labeled for you. Especially in the early stages of your lifestyle change, consider avoiding those impulses altogether by ordering your groceries online and either picking them up via curbside service or having them delivered to your door. Eventually, you will overcome cravings and be able to browse the aisles without feeling tempted to grab your favorite candy bar.
Mind Your Posture
You might attribute those morning aches, pains and occasional headaches to aging or weight gain, but they instead could be a side effect of poor posture. Try to actively address your body position throughout the day. Are you slouching, leaning or favoring any part of your body? If you sit at a desk all day, then consider investing in an ergonomic office chair. If you have a standing desk, make sure you have a comfortable floor mat and well-fitting shoes. Maintaining good posture will remove the pressure from the muscles that are overcompensating and reactivate the core muscles that should be keeping you upright. This small change can relieve you of some of the pain that keeps you from being as active as you want to be.
The key to achieving a long-term healthy lifestyle is taking it slow. Sure, it will take longer to see results than a cold-turkey approach, but the results will be more sustainable over your lifetime, and you will be less likely to revert to bad habits.