Whether you’re thinking ahead to your next New Year’s resolution or simply interested in living your best life, it’s always a good time to establish a wellness plan. We know that diets aren’t always healthy, and focusing on weight loss can actually be detrimental to your goals. So maybe what you want is to establish is a healthier lifestyle that works for you!
These expert tips will help you make and stick to a plan that fits into your lifestyle and preferences, and you won’t have to sacrifice delicious foods.
Tip #1: Ditch the Diet
Diets are part of an old wellness paradigm, and they don’t serve the current savvy health-conscious person. There are numerous reasons for this, and they range from physiological to psychological.
If you give yourself permission to ditch the diet mindset, you’ll free yourself from the idea that wellness is a chore. For most of us, diets are synonymous with cutting calories and going hungry.
A major reason diets simply don’t work is that they focus heavily on calorie restriction and weight loss instead of a balanced, active lifestyle. Many calorie guidelines are far too low, and that’s not healthy. Furthermore, restricting calories and obsessing about what you eat isn’t mentally healthy either.
Your wellness is about more, not less. Don’t think about eating fewer calories, less sugar, less fat, and so on. Instead, think about working more activity into your day. Consider fun ways you can exercise while enjoying yourself. Choose more green vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This is an abundant mindset that positively frames your health choices.
Additionally, toss out the idea of willpower. This is a concept that some experts describe as a fallacy. It’s a psychological construct that’s more likely to keep you trapped in a guilt cycle than empower you. Believers of willpower even describe it as a limited resource that will only be depleted. Suddenly, you’re stressed and upset and make a “bad” choice that isn’t in line with where you want to be.
Even if you did manage to stay positive about your diet and exercise willpower, running a constant caloric deficit could work against you in the long run. Restricting calories can send your brain and body into “starvation mode,” which triggers a lower metabolism. This happens because your body wants to preserve as many resources as possible.
Forget losing weight altogether and focus on balance. This simple change reframes your entire approach.
Tip #2: Break Your Fast
You’ve heard experts say never skip breakfast when you’re on a wellness journey, and that’s a point worth mentioning again. Herbalife Nutrition’s Healthy Breakfast Survey results indicate that people still need to hear it. The survey covered people in the US, China, and Asia Pacific, and the results are revealing.
Of the 8,600 respondents to the survey, 55% of Americans eat breakfast every day. The numbers are a bit better in the other countries surveyed; 63% of APAC residents and 81% of Chinese people eat breakfast seven days a week. According to their responses, 95% of those polled knew that breakfast was the cornerstone of a healthy wellness plan.
Why do so many skip breakfast anyway? Maybe you’ll relate to some of their reasons and ultimately overcome the urge.
Most people simply couldn’t be bothered to sort out a healthy meal first thing in the morning. They also don’t think they have time to make breakfast, aren’t hungry early in the day, and don’t want to go through the trouble. Some people reported that they believe skipping breakfast will help them lose weight.
Even though we tossed out the diet mindset already, let’s debunk this idea anyway: Eating breakfast doesn’t make you gain weight. Consuming a nutrient-rich meal in the morning fires up your metabolism and wakes up your body. Breakfast actually fuels your natural weight management!
You can reduce or nearly eliminate the obstacles between you and breakfast by choosing whole foods like nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Prepare “grab-and-go” meals a couple of times a week and take these healthy foods with you on your commute.
Although Americans don’t eat hard-boiled eggs for breakfast as much as people in some other countries, they’re an excellent option. They partner well with other on-the-go foods, like bananas, grapes, oranges, or balanced meal replacement shakes.
Tip 3: Make A Grocery Store Plan
To make the best choices during every mean, including breakfast, you need a well-stocked fridge and pantry. That requires a little planning. The good news is that once you establish a healthy shopping routine, you’ll find it easier and faster than ever to get your shopping out of the way.
Some tips to help you accomplish this include choosing whole food options that require less preparation. You’ll save time before meals as well with this tip. Foods like potatoes, broccoli, edamame, and carrots are all delicious lightly roasted or steamed. Enjoy them in a large salad or a “mixed oven box” and save leftovers for lunch. All you need to add is a lean protein, and it’s a balanced meal.
These choices are healthier than processed grains like bread and pasta, although you can absolutely have some of those in your healthy meal plan as well. If you’re looking for even more direction, download this easy Smart Grocery Shopping List.
Another tool for your grocery store planning is to read nutrition labels. Not only will this help you make good choices, but it will teach you about the food you’re eating. We can easily become disconnected from our food in today’s modern society. The more you research and repeat, the more your food knowledge will increase. Soon, it will be second nature for you.
As you learn about foods, you may find that some staples in your eating regime aren’t as healthy as you thought. This can help you break food ruts we all get stuck in. Why not try a new fruit or veggie every week?
Suddenly, food is exciting again, and you are discovering how to eat healthy food abundantly and with minimal processing.
You should also make sure to always have some backup items on hand to stave off cravings and poor choices. All the items we talked about for breakfast make great snacks, including those meal replacement shakes.
Tip #4: Gamify Activity
The concept of “gamification” means making a game out of a task. You can do this with activity during the day. In fact, you may already be doing this in some ways.
If you have a step counter app on your phone and set a daily goal, you’re familiar with gamification. What if you took that to the next level and held a friendly competition with your family members? Whoever gets the most steps every day or every week wins a prize or gets to skip out on a chore. It’s fun to monitor your own progress and even more fun to try to come out on top.
Another way to gamify your activity is to play “find the furthest parking spot” with yourself. Resist the urge to park closer and find the farthest spot from your destination! Getting into this habit will naturally increase your steps.
In addition to increasing your everyday activity, you’ll want to add some deliberate exercise into your routine. There are so many adult sporting leagues to join, from dodgeball to softball and more. Even something like a Pound class can gamify your exercise because you’re with others, and the calorie burn is focused on fun.
You already know that drinking more water is part of a healthier lifestyle, and you can gamify that too. Many health apps include an area to track your water consumption. If you don’t use any of those apps, you can keep a simple tally on your smartphone or in a journal.
If none of this appeals to you or isn’t available in your area, you can set goals for yourself at the gym and track it in a fitness app or a digital chart on your computer. This way, you’re playing the game with yourself but the motivation to keep striving will distract you from any exercise ruts.
These gamification tips will not only help you reach your goals, but they’ll also help build healthier habits through deliberate repetition.
Tip #5: Try the Buddy System
Having a friend along on your journey really helps with motivation. When you’re feeling down or want to give up, your buddy can be just the pickup you need. You can also share tips and tricks with each other. Having a friend with similar interests creates a culture around your shared pursuit, and this further reinforces your goals.
You can find likeminded people at your local gym, on hiking trails, or at centers like Herbalife Nutrition Clubs that can be found around the world. These places are teeming with active people committed to taking control of their lives to increase their longevity and vigor. That’s a great mindset!
It’s easy to find people on social media that share your interests as well. Consider following a unique hashtag on Twitter or Instagram for a little long-distance support. Just make sure these resources are focused on wellness and not dieting or losing weight. You’re pursuing balance, not a number on a scale.
Tip #6: Develop Mindfulness Practices
Meditation and everyday mindfulness are incredible tools for habit-forming, goal setting, and brain training. They are positive ways to improve your mood, sharpen your focus, and create a calm and loving inner space.
It’s easier to incorporate mindfulness into your life than you think.
Try meditating for fifteen minutes every day, but don’t worry if you can’t clear your mind completely. The key is to let your thoughts and emotions come and go freely while you’re in your calm state. These things are happening around you, but do not define you.
You can add a mantra to your meditation if you want to reinforce something for yourself or have trouble resisting attachment to your thoughts. Something simple like, “I embrace my natural life energy and do things to increase it at every opportunity” works just fine! You can also be more specific and repeat things like, “I will drink at least eight glasses of water today because it’s great for the body that I love.”
If you’re still stuck on picking a mantra, play the “more of game” with yourself while you’re sitting peacefully. What do you want more of in your life? Start generally and get more and more specific as you let these thoughts flow. Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle because it makes you feel good? Will eating more live foods help you live healthier? Keep expanding your thoughts about your beneficial desires until you feel energized and ready to take the day by storm!
You can also extend mindfulness into your daily activities. If you feel a craving for something you don’t want to give into (giving in sometimes is healthy and okay, just in moderation), take a moment to step outside yourself and be a witness. As you see yourself and your choices, let go of any attachment to the outcome. Remember who you are and ask yourself which choice brings you closer to your authentic self. This type of exercise can make hard choices easier.
Tip #7: Set an Unusual Goal
Typical wellness goals include things like weight loss (we recommend avoiding that), getting more sleep, drinking more water, etc. However, you may want to set an unusual goal for yourself instead.
Maybe you want to amaze your doctor at your next checkup. Perhaps they’ve been tracking your cholesterol or some other marker, and you want to improve the next reading. That’s a great goal to have that’s a bit outside the box.
Maybe you live somewhere that you could take the stairs regularly. Consider trying to beat your personal best time. Even setting a goal to feel less winded after walking up them works. You can try to walk even further as time goes on and see if your body feels better.
These small things help keep you on track because they make you feel good.
Tip #8: Take Up a Winter Sport
It’s easier to stay active when the weather is nice, but taking up a winter sport can keep your momentum strong even in the offseason. There are more to choose from than you think.
Both downhill and cross country skiing are great options. Snowshoeing is a challenge many people also enjoy, and it pairs well with photography. Ice skating is another fun winter pursuit, but even sledding with your family is a wonderful exercise opportunity.
In fact, involving your children in winter fun can be a huge source of motivation. Children worry less about bad weather, getting cold, and the overwhelming desire to stay snuggled in comfy clothes on the couch. Use their youthful spirit to energize you and get moving together.
If you invest in some high-quality cold-weather gear, you’ll feel cozy even when outdoors. This removes one of the major obstacles to winter activities.
Your Goal Is the Lifestyle
We often talk about health like it’s a commodity. The truth is that a healthier lifestyle is its own reward. As you embark on a path of eating healthier, moving more, and changing negative habits, you’ll feel so good you won’t look back.
If you have a moment where you struggle, reach out for help from a friend or read an online resource like the I Am Herbalife Nutrition site. Everyone has ups and downs in their life, but we keep going. That’s the biggest advice we have to give—see your wellness goals as a natural part of your life, and you won’t give up. If you view them as part of a diet with a target end date, you’ll miss out on the lasting benefits.
Up Next on The Daily Haze: