Adopt a Lifestyle Change

A lifestyle change is more than just a diet or an exercise plan, it’s a commitment to moving more and eating less. It means that you’ll actually look for ways to increase your activity in your daily routine. These changes can include: taking the stairs instead of the elevator; parking a little further away from the office; walking at lunch; taking an evening stroll with family and friends; and making time for cardiovascular exercise.

Lifestyle change also requires us to take an honest look at our eating habits. When and how much do we eat? Do you know how many calories you need a day to maintain your weight (BMR)? Once you gain a better understanding of what you eat versus what you need, you can gradually change your eating habits to increase the good foods and reduce the bad ones. These changes will have a very positive cumulative effect as months and years go by. For example, if you cut back on doughnuts from 5 per week to 1 per week…you could lose over 30 pounds in a year!! Lifestyle changes are those that we adopt for the long-haul…not just a diet or fad…but a permanent and positive change.

So what do we need to do to succeed in adopting these lifestyle changes? We need to start a fitness plan! You can find all of the free tools that you need to draft and refine a personalized fitness plan on the fitness resources and fitness plan pages. If you take the time and effort to go through this process, you’ll have taken a huge step to getting to where you want to be. Here’s a synopsis of the things that you’ll do:

  1. Conduct an honest assessment of where you are
    By looking up your BMI and calculating your body fat percentage, you’ll be able to see where you are and where you’d like to be. When you start a food log and compare that to your metabolic rate, you’ll gain a better understanding for how much food you should be eating each day and what foods are better than others. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with facing reality. Too often, people wait until a doctor’s visit or some other health event that forces them into a lifestyle change. Don’t wait. Take a look in the mirror and make a commitment to yourself. You’re worth it.
  2. The path to where you want to be
    Now that you’ve taken the painstaking time to figure out where you are and where you want to be, it’s time to plot the path from point A to B. This is where many people get discouraged and lose hope. There aren’t many short-cuts and perfectly executed plans, so we need to adopt a realistic plan: one that allows for picnics, barbeques, and birthday parties; one that allows us to forgive ourselves when we take a week off from working out. We’re not striving for perfection…we’re striving for a permanent lifestyle change that will improve the quality and quantity of our life. The key to success will be gradual and small steps over time…not giant leaps.
  3. Maintaining Motivation
    Another pitfall for most of us is maintaining motivation and willpower to stay on the path to improvement. A goal that’s many weeks or months away can be difficult to stay focused on. One way to keep up our motivation level is to adopt milestones and interim goals. For example, losing 30 pounds may take many months…reward yourself when you lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and so on. Another strategy that works for me is to sign up for running races. The date on the calendar gives me a goal to strive for and a reason to keep running on those days when my motivation is dwindling.

Adopting a lifestyle change is not as difficult as you think. The hardest part is convincing yourself that you are worth the commitment and hard work. Pretty soon the gradual changes that you make will seem commonplace as they become part of your daily routine. Remember the tale of the tortoise and the hare? The winner got to the finish line through slow and steady progress…not blazing speed. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to the cause!

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