I’m currently in the process of completing an eating plan for a couple of clients. As I was sitting down to work on this I started thinking… Sure it’s easy for me to say “stick to this plan and you will lose weight/feel less bloated/ have more energy! ” But how can i go about actually helping people to stick to it? And more than that- how can I show people that this is a change of lifestyle, not just something to stick to for twelve weeks and then go back to old habits again?
It can be a pretty vicious cycle that i have experienced first hand. And the old “I’ll start again on Monday” excuse has entered my vocabulary many times, as I’m sure it has entered yours. The key to eating healthy is to find a way that works for you, but also find a way to realise the core habits you exhibit that are affecting your health and find a way to change them. For good!
Here are my 10 tips to Help Keep Your Wellness Goals on Track:
1. If you stuff up, it’s okay.
This is the golden rule I think. If you have a slip up don’t start immediately beating yourself up about it. Instead think about why it happened and learn from it. Was it boredom? Were you upset about something? If so identify why you were feeling that way and plan a different way to deal with the emotion in the future. If you’re bored go for a walk or a jog around your neighborhood and get the added benefit of some exercise. If you’re upset pick up the phone and talk to a friend instead of going to the fridge.
2. Remove all rubbish from your home.
I don’t mean dirty rubbish, although if that’s lying around your house get rid of that too! I mean food rubbish, junk food. If it’s not there it can’t tempt you. If the people you live with insist on having treats in the cupboard, ask them to either hide them or lock them in a tin or something that you don’t have the key to. Then if you really want it, you’ll have to walk to the milk bar or get in your car to drive to woolies to get it. Hopefully that gives yourself enough time to realise that you don’t need it. Which leads me to my next point..
3. If you really want it, have it.
But don’t just have it as soon as the craving strikes. Think about why you want that piece of cake. Is it because of the emotion you’re currently feeling? (Go back to step 1.) Is it because you’re actually hungry or thirsty? Once you have determined that you just simply want it, wait 10 minutes. The craving could pass, if not have a small portion. Enjoy it and move on.
4. Drink herbal tea to alleviate cravings.
If you are simply just having a craving for something sweet, try drinking some herbal tea instead of heading to the chocolate secret hiding spot. I like to drink Licorice and Cinnamon tea for this purpose. Licorice is known to alleviate sugar cravings because of its sweetness, the same goes for cinnamon. Any kind of tea will help you with cravings though, because just preparing the cup itself will distract you from wanting that chocolate, and by the time you have finished the cup you will feel relaxed and ready to move on with your day.
5. Start the day the right way.
If you start the day with a sugary breakfast, or no breakfast at all, you’re more than likely going to continue the habit throughout the day. The spike in sugar levels then the low will leave you craving all day. No breakfast means you could make hasty decisions later in the morning with your snack choices. If you’re into intermittent fasting or simply aren’t hungry before you go to work, make sure you pack a nutritious breakfast to take with you so it’s right there when you’re ready to eat.
Exercise obviously has many benefits for the mind and body, but one particular benefit I find is that if i’m in a good exercise routine, the flow on effect is that I get into a good eating routine. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to ruin the run I just went on with eating shallow calories, because then what was the point of the run?
7. Get into a routine.
There’s heaps of studies out there that show humans work best and are happiest when they perform routines. Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day, performing tasks on the same day in the same way just to name a few. Getting into a routine is going to help you stick to your healthy eating and lifestyle goals. Do the food shopping once a week and pre-plan your meals so that nothing can stop you from eating correctly all week. You don’t have to think about it. Exercise in the mornings before you start your day or plan to take your gym gear to work on set days to head straight there afterwards. Each routine you get yourself into and practice is going to help you. Soon good habits will form.
8. Be realistic with your goals.
The chances are, you’re not going to lose 20 kilos in 5 weeks. You’re not going to be able to run a marathon with only 4 weeks of training. These days it’s all about instant results; instant food, instant service. We want more for less. But this just cannot be the case when it comes to health and wellness goals, namely weightloss. These things take time, patience and above all CONSISTENCY. Don’t throw in the towel on your new lifestyle after three weeks because you havent seen a shift on the scales. Stick with it and allow your body to catch on. Set realistic goals that are specific and achievable. (Google SMART goals.) Track and celebrate the small successes along the way. This will encourage you to keep going.
9. If you stuff up, don’t write off the rest of the day, or the rest of the week
I am so guilty of doing this. One little slip up and I think “oh well, f**k it” and so i continue down the slippery slope for the rest of the day. Don’t do this! It only makes getting back on track later so much harder and un-ravells all the good routines you’ve created. It’s a long climb back up to where you were. One little slip does not mean you have ruined your entire day/ week. It means you’re human. Go back over step one and then move on. Go back to your plans to eat well and take care of yourself.
10. Get a buddy
This might not work for everyone, but having a friend/ partner/ family member that’s working towards their own health and wellness goals can be really helpful. Having a support network around you keeps you motivated and accountable. Especially when it comes exercise. Having someone to show up for on that morning run means if you back out, you’re letting the other person down. So chances are even if you’re feeling unmovitated to get going, you will anyway.