One of my core beliefs is that lasting health changes are made with lifestyle modifications, not diets, detoxes, or plans. Diets are often extreme, restrictive, and unrealistic long term. Statistics suggest that 95% of all diets fail, with studies showing popular diets can be effective in the beginning, but results don’t typically last more than a year.
So what does work? Lifestyle changes. Below are 5 tips I suggest to get started.
Be realistic about habits you can sustain and avoid biting off more than you can chew. You can’t run an Ironman if you’ve never run a 5k. Instead, start with small increments. Let’s say your goal is to eat healthier. You can commit to consuming 1 serving of vegetables every day for 2 weeks. After that time has passed, increase the frequency to twice daily for another 2 weeks. And so forth. Soon enough, you’ll be eating veggies at every meal with ease. Seemingly small daily steps add to sustainable, life-changing habits when they compound.
Write out a specific plan
“For the next week, I will partake in [EXERCISE] on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].” Studies show that people who practice filling out that sentence are 2-3x more likely to stick with their desired habit in the long run. It’s a tactic known as implementation intentions from James Clear.
Habits first, then results
Focus on habits first, then results. Replace statements like “I want to lose 15 pounds in the next three months” with “I will meal prep a healthy lunch three times a week for the next three months.” Another tool, known as habit stacking, is to follow up a healthy habit with another habit you’re used to performing. For example, going on a 30-minute walk after dinner (healthy habit) while calling a loved one to tell them about your day (regular habit).
Surround yourself with things that encourage the behaviors you want. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Write out your goals in a place you see frequently. Put a book you’ve wanted to read where the television remote typically lives. We are a direct product of our environment.
Shift your perspective
Create a routine that makes you excited to wake up and invest in your health. Instead of seeing these new healthy behaviors as things you “have” to do, see them as things you “get” to do. Radical change starts in our minds. Repeatedly tell yourself affirmations along the lines of “I can do it. I deserve this. I am ready to be my best self.” I know, I know. It sounds cheesy. But once you begin to master your mindset, I promise you will watch your whole life evolve for the better.
Try your best
That’s the only thing that’s ever mattered <3