Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle tends to be easier said than done — all too often, there feels like there are just too many roadblocks standing in the way. Exercise, for example, is often viewed as a chore that requires long hours at the gym to gain any results.
Those who seek to avoid the gym and still lose weight often try some new diet fad, only to find out that it is a scam. Knowing these blockades exist cause a lot of people to bypass the act of even trying. After all, sitting on the couch is more comfortable than sitting in a squat.
People are creatures of habit, good or bad.
The present routine you have grown accustomed to took a while to develop, and altering it will take time and effort. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline the process and make new healthy habits last.
A great starting point is to focus on your present mindset. Really think about how you view fitness and lifestyle change.
Do you have a scarcity or abundance mindset?
For example, do you see incorporating a healthy lifestyle to be something you don't think you have enough time or energy for (scarcity)? Or something that will give you more productive energy and time in your day (abundance)?
Once you start progressing toward your new healthy life, you may find going all in on day one to be difficult. This is normal. To avoid the shock of such a sudden shift, try to introduce small changes periodically.
By going at a slower pace, progress will be steady and lasting. Work with yourself to find a habit you are comfortable keeping. Each small change you make to your daily routine will add up in the long run.
Finding an exercise that works
A healthy lifestyle includes some form of exercise, be it walking or push-ups. If you despise going to the gym, try going walking in your neighborhood, setting up a workout space in your own home, or bring some fun tools like resistance bands to a local park. You can find numerous free workouts under "Training" to help meet your needs!
Depending on your budget, your home gym can have equipment as simple as balance balls, free weights and resistance bands or as complex as a treadmill or elliptical machine.
The important elements that make exercising worthwhile lie in the actual act of physical movement. This does not mean that you have to be drenched in sweat to make progress.
When exercising, the goal is to be active enough to get your heart rate up. The amazing benefits of elevating your heart rate at least thirty minutes a day may be felt instantly, and can become very habit-forming.
Walking is a great habit to include in your new healthy lifestyle, but in general terms of "calories in, calories out", it is vitally important to remember exercise that doesn’t elevate your heart rate will make progress sluggish, as calorie burn overtime is far lower than that at an elevated heart rate.
If you are going to go this route, remember that it will take almost as long to shed those excess pounds as it did to put them on. Regardless, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised to find improvement in the way you feel and how soundly you begin to sleep at night.
Be Patient with yourself
Keeping a healthy lifestyle is not something you can simply do overnight. It takes practice, repetition and patience. Keep in mind, without consistency there cannot be long-lasting change.
One day, those seemingly-small alterations will transform into the long-term lifestyle change. Imagine it like a few drops of water filling a bucket overtime. If you don't put the work in, there will be very little water, and that water may even evaporate. But, consistently add to the bucket and before you know it, it's full.
There will be bumps in the road that knock things off course-- vacations, illness, holidays, etc. It may be quite tempting to dive into binging on holiday treats or sharing a cigarette with a loved one.
Yet, when faced with such adversity, focus on the progress you have made and shift focus to your goals. View the temptation as something that stalls your progress or pollutes your lake!
The perception of a bad habit preventing you from doing what you want, rather than something you cannot have, will help you desire it less. Repeatedly saying no to the temptation will improve your ability to resist it in the future.
As your mental fortitude grows stronger, the healthier, more confident version of yourself will start to emerge.
Before you know it, all of the roadblocks will be more like speed-bumps or roundabouts, still cropping up now and again, but completely navigable.