Getting Started with Healthy Lifestyle Change: Practical Tips for Mindful Behavior Change
Feeling motivated to become a healthier version of yourself can be the best feeling in the world! If that's you right now, you should definitely leverage that positive energy and use it strategically.
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What NOT to do:
- start restricting your calories or macros drastically
- start tracking every bit of food that you put in your mouth.
- start running or doing some other intense form of exercise every single day.
- drastically change your way of eating overnight.
What TO do:
- reflect on your reasons for wanting to make a change.
- ask yourself some important questions about your goals moving forward.
- start to become more mindful about your food and movement.
- potentially do some research on food or exercise, or on people who are more informed than you, whose information is valid and evidence-based.
Questions to Consider Before Starting a New Fitness Routine or Way of Eating
It's important to not just jump into the newest workout or diet trend, particularly if you're starting from zero or starting to get more active or thoughtful about your way of eating after a longer break. You are an individual with a specific health history, past injuries, varied interests and needs. Additionally, you may have limited equipment available to use in your workouts, or your goals may differ from the next person. Your way of eating is likely specific to you, whether for philosophical or health reasons or just due to individual preference. Finally, your mindset matters a lot, perhaps even more than whatever regimen you choose to adopt.
All of these topics are important when it comes to changing your lifestyle! So, you should take some structured time to reflect on them, and any fitness or nutrition "expert" you choose to listen to should also be asking you questions about these issues, and encouraging you to reflect on your own, personal goals and how you think they can best support you to achieve them.
Here is an example of an at-home workout intake questionnaire that you can take a look at to see what this might look like. If you aren't being asked these questions or similar ones, you may want to pause and wonder why. And remember, you don't need an expert to do this for you. You can do this for yourself!
If you want more of a nudge, feel free to check out this simple video on getting started with practical healthy lifestyle change.
It specifically addresses how to become more mindful surrounding your food intake (whatever way of eating you prefer is fine, and there's no need to overhaul everything all at once) as well as incorporating more mindful movement throughout your day:
The first step to anything new is always the hardest. So, make it as simple as possible so that success is inevitable! For example this week you could:
- commit to putting on your tennis shoes and getting out the door once a day.
- commit to taking pictures of your meals before you eat.
- set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to drink more water midday.
- share your thoughts about starting to become more mindful of your health with a trusted friend or family member.
- watch a couple of videos on youtube about the mindset of healthy eating or fitness.
As long as you define your goal for the first week in a very small and specific way, you get the gratification of meeting that goal even if it's super simple. Of course, long-term you'll likely be able to start building motivation and behavior change will follow.
If you get your shoes on and get out the door, walking around the block will seem like a good next step.
If you start taking pictures of your food, you may notice your portion sizes.
When your water alarm goes off, you'll be reminded to hydrate and maybe also realize you've been sitting for a few hours. Which could lead to deciding to put on your shoes and get out the door...
See where this is going?
Sharing your thoughts and feelings with trusted loved ones can build accountability. And educating yourself is always a great way to feel more confident in your next steps!
Whatever you choose to do regarding making changes in your food or fitness, do it thoughtfully. Do it with intention. Always know why you are doing what you are doing. 💗
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