A few months ago, after watching a series of documentaries and doing a lot of reading about health and wellness, I made some pretty big lifestyle changes. I swapped out my normal diet for a high concentration of fresh vegetables and fruits; I got off my butt and started moving more and noticed some huge differences in my energy levels, appearance and even attitude. Things were looking up.
I still make a huge effort to live a healthy lifestyle, and perhaps even a healthier lifestyle than most people. I’ve always been a vegetarian but I now eat a more balanced vegetarian diet. My intake of greens has increased by at least 300% and my body is responding to the positive changes.
It’s not always easy, though, to maintain the lifestyle that I’ve built. I’ve noticed a few common denominators when I slip up.
Stress Causes Unhealthy Choices
It’s funny because while we are often told that stress is unhealthy in and of itself, I never realized just how much of an impact stress can have on the choices I make.
Even if I am not seeing other indications of stressors in my body (ie tense shoulders, emotional), if there is something big going on that can be thought of as a stressor, I start to crave unhealthy food and want to stay on the couch and “relax” instead of getting up and working out or going for a walk.
Just knowing that stress can cause these cravings is quite helpful. Instead of giving in, I’ll remind myself that I am stressed and push myself to do something that will relieve the stress other than binging on comfort food, such as going for a walk, or having a relaxing bath.
Don’t Tempt Yourself
My mom was over last weekend and made a cheesecake for my brother’s birthday. Most of it ended up in my fridge after she left, and I of course ate it all over the span of about a week. That’s 4 pounds of dairy that I just didn’t need.
Just because I’ve made some huge changes doesn’t mean that I don’t still get cravings or enjoy unhealthy foods. Who doesn’t love cheesecake or some french fries every once in awhile?
When the food is out of sight, it’s out of mind. I don’t generally ice cream like a mad woman unless I know it’s in my freezer. Why tempt yourself like that?
My fiancé is not as committed to healthy living as I am, and while he has increased his fruit, vegetable, and nut intake, he still buys potato chips and junk food. I have to ask him to make sure I don’t know about their existence in the house.
Try New Things
Boredom is the biggest enemy of healthy living. Doing the same things over and over again will make them a lot less enticing. Mix it up to keep yourself interested in being healthy!
Don’t eat the same things all the time. Diversity in your diet will protect you from relapsing back into unhealthy ways. Don’t do the same activities all the time either. If you run every day before work, try hiking one day after. Diversifying your workouts keeps you engaged and challenged, and also uses different muscle groups, creating a stronger foundation.
Open your mind to new things before you slip back into old habits. Healthy living shouldn’t be a phase.
It’s not realistic to think that you will only ever make healthy choices from this point forward. It’s just not the case. Everybody slips up, everybody enjoys something decadent every once in awhile. These things have helped safeguard me against falling off the wagon completely, though.
How do you ensure that you stay on track with your health goals?