Want to shed away those extra kilos? Planning to start dieting and workout? There are thousands of people around you who think on similar lines and are unable to keep up their goals or plans. This article is exclusively for those people who seem to be lost in search of their health goals.
We don’t forget to bathe, eat, go to school/office or sleep as these activities are long-established routines that have been injected into our minds since childhood. But physical activity or healthier meals are never included in our to-do list of daily activities. Old habits die hard. When you set your mind on exercise and healthy foods just like your brushing/bathing activity, things become simpler. But the process of change involves several stages and you may face manifold hurdles before you accomplish this change.
The Different Stages of Change
Initially, you might not even think of a change in your lifestyle or habit (precontemplation). Secondly, you might reach a stage in which you think about some change (contemplation). At this juncture, you start planning for all activities that help you achieve this change (preparation) and then start executing these changes one by one (action). Finally, you do what it takes to stick to the change (maintenance).
We are human beings and our memory and motivation might fail sometimes. Instead of just telling yourself that you need to follow (contemplation), it is better if you set a smart reminder (preparation stage) and link the new habit with an age-old habit. Just as brushing is a reminder to floss your teeth, you can plan your physical activity just after your morning cup of steaming hot coffee and make your meal healthier by eating a small bowl of colorful veggies during your lunch (action). This way you don’t need any more reminders to follow the recently added habit.
Once you start practicing your newly formed habit, you are sure to face numerous impediments along the way. These are testing times and you need to stay strong. When you feel demotivated or stressed out, think of the rewards:
These reminders are more than sufficient to bring you back on track. Practice rewarding yourself for your efforts after reaching a milestone. Choose nonfood rewards such as a new pair of sneakers, a workout device or a new dress to celebrate your lost weight. You can also choose to update your achievements in social media sites and this can motivate you further when people acknowledge your achievements. Never try to indulge in high-calorie foods or skip workout sessions as part of your reward system.
Make it a Lifetime Activity
Once you feel that you have become habituated to these healthy habits, try adding variety to them. You can opt for group workouts, attend healthy recipe classes or try new physical activities (maintenance). Never forget to check your weight at least once a week. The lost weight can also be a motivation for you to work out more and eat healthier food.
Setbacks are sure to occur during your change process. You may be travelling or dining out with your friends. In such cases, you can pack a small meal for yourself or choose between healthy food options available and stick to smaller portions.
Physical exercise and healthier foods are a lifelong activity and not a target to be achieved. It is essential that you follow the ‘maintenance’ stage throughout your lifespan.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.