As someone who has made some huge strides in my health this past year (lost 50lbs, came off my blood pressure medication) I feel as though I’m in a place to share some of what I’ve learned. While my success has come in 2017 and I see my ‘start date’ as a New Year’s resolution come to fruition, the real truth is that it has been a long, long process. One that hasn’t been without stumbles and setbacks. Here are my tips in a nutshell.
- Health goals are just like any other goal so treat it as such. Write it down. Make sure it is achievable. Set a deadline. Make an action plan towards achieving the goal. Stick to it!
- Start small. Look at your big goal (mine was coming off my medication) and pick one small thing to change that will get you closer. 5 years ago I stopped drinking pop and started drinking more water.
- When you have the first step down pat, add another step. I started putting an effort towards sleeping better. No coffee after 2pm. After I was sleeping better I started eliminating processed (hello salty) foods. When I got better at snacks, I tackled meal planning so we ate out less. And on and on and on. Making too many changes at once is a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed. Pick one, small thing, and start there.
- Be prepared for failure. I had a year where I gained back a lot of the weight I’d lost. I felt horrible. I fell back into old habits. It was really disheartening and I nearly resigned myself to that just being how I would live out the rest of my days. The problem was, I was sure my remaining days would be shortened and I couldn’t live with that.
- Keep going! The biggest and hardest part of getting healthier is to just pick yourself up after you fall and start again. Sure, you went on holidays and ate everything in sight but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back on schedule when you get home. See it as a challenge. Problems and setbacks will come up. Address them. Think of solutions. Keep going. You can do it!
5 years ago I stopped drinking pop. Yes. I was consuming so so so much and I couldn’t just cut back. It was a full blown addiction that added a lot of calories to my day. Now, 5 years later, I find I can have one (a sugar free version) if we’re out for a special meal at a restaurant. It’s a treat and when it’s done, it’s done. Being flexible can sometimes help us to feel less like we’re being punished for past actions and more like we’re actively making a choice towards our future. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The most important thing is to make a good, mindful effort everyday.
I have achieved my big goal, but I’m far from done. New goals are in sight and I’m still working every day towards them. This week, I’m picking up some hand weights. Wish me luck!