Tips for Maintaining a Healthful Lifestyle
Perhaps you’re starting to consider making some changes to help you live a healthier life but you’re not really sure where or how to begin. Or you may have already reached your weight or fitness goal and you want to make sure you maintain the results that you worked so hard to achieve…
Motivation will come and go but if you want to achieve and maintain any goal in life you need consistency. You may have heard the phrase “consistency is key” but what does it look like, is it realistic and if so, how do we achieve it?
Here I will share with you some tips that my clients have found helpful in their journeys to better health.
Set both short- and long-term goals
Whatever your ultimate goal is, while it is important to keep it in sight, you will find it more approachable if you set yourself smaller targets along the way. By focusing on weekly achievements you don’t have to be daunted by the final goal and will be able to celebrate each success as part of the process, making it a much more rewarding experience.
If you have a ‘slip up’ don’t wait until later to get back on track
So you had more cake than you should have done… or that glass of wine turned into half a bottle… or you decided to have a sleep in instead of doing your planned training session. Never mind! That doesn’t mean all of your previous efforts have gone to waste or that the rest of the day, week or month is a write off. Appreciate the treat for what it was and then go back to your nutrition plan and/or exercise routine straight away.
Don’t allow guilt to take hold
If you have an unplanned indulgence you’re not weak or a failure or any other harsh word you choose to use to describe yourself. Don’t punish yourself by not nourishing your body with the best food or by doing an unhelpful amount of exercise (too much or too little). Show yourself some love by taking some time out to look at why the indulgence happened – were you upset? bored? tired? – and take the time to address the cause if necessary rather than criticizing yourself. Have a conversation with someone, set some rest and recovery time aside for yourself, refocus and then off you go…
A song my Gran used to sing to me and my sister went like this: “pick yourself up, brush yourself down and start all over again”.
Have an accountability buddy
Find somebody (or a group of people) who genuinely want to support you as you work towards achieving or maintaining your goals. We have a Facebook group for just that if you would like to join our community of women uplifting women and sharing helpful tips and ideas. Having somebody celebrate your success with you is a great way to encourage you to remain consistent in your pursuit of wellness. Even better, find somebody to join you as you start a nutrition plan or new exercise regime.
Don’t let naysayers bring you down
Many people are faced with negativity, doubt and criticism from friends and family when they are trying to make changes to improve their health and wellbeing. I’m not going to use this space to explore why that may be but I am going to encourage you that you don’t have to justify your healthy lifestyle changes to anybody. Be aware of who you choose to surround yourself with. Negativity breeds negativity, positivity breeds positivity.
Tips for eating well
There is no way around this one. If you want to consistently eat well you need to plan your meals and snacks. You might find it helpful to prepare your lunch and snacks the night before so there is less for you to do during the morning rush. Set some time aside each week to plan your meals and snacks for the coming week and write a shopping list. As well as making it easier to eat nutritious food you will also find this habit will save you a lot of money!
Snacks are just as important as main meals
Snacks are vital for fueling your body, reducing cravings and keeping hunger at bay. You will find lots of nutritious snack ideas here.
Allow yourself to have treats
You are more likely to overindulge if you forbid yourself from eating specific food groups. If you absolutely love eating something that is super naughty, either find a slightly healthier version or just eat it – but not too much and not too often. Set yourself a realistic target and move the goal posts after a few weeks if necessary.
Cook extra portions
Whenever I cook I usually make at least twice as much as what we will eat for that meal and freeze the left overs in appropriate portion sizes for those evenings where I’m either busy or just low in energy or finances. I have a menu on my freezer with a list of all of the pre-cooked meals so I don’t forget what is in there!
If you’re going to a social event, eat a healthy meal or snack before you go
You will be less likely to over-indulge on the party food if you’ve had something decent to eat before you get there. Don’t arrive hungry!
Tips for maintaining regular exercise
Don’t make it a chore – find something you enjoy
I know everybody is different but for me the thought of exercise used to fill me with dread! Going for a run – no thanks! Swimming – not again! Gym – nope! There are so many forms of exercise out there that you are sure to find something you enjoy if you use your imagination. I walk 20-40 minutes a day through the local park to and from work each day and I have just started learning areal acrobatics!!
Make it part of your daily routine
You’ll find it much easier to exercise consistently if it becomes as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth or having a shower. Explore ways that you might fit some exercise in around your daily activities.
Advice for busy mamas
I am acutely aware of how hectic life can sometimes be for mamas but, for so many, maintaining their fitness is still a high priority because they know it results in them having more energy for their children. I asked my mum friends how they managed to make time to exercise and this is what they shared…