How to maintain a healthy lifestyle

When you make a decision to get fit and healthy, it’s natural to want to go all in. You clean all the junk out of your pantry, drink gallons of water and start working out like crazy. While that might get you quick results, the danger is that it can be hard to maintain so many lifestyle changes at once. If you burn yourself out and lose momentum, before you know it you’ll be back at square one, feeling deflated and eating all the chocolate to make yourself feel better.

Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race and making small changes that you can maintain and build upon might be a better way to get to your goals. If you know you’re an “all or nothing” kind of girl and it feels like you’re forever taking one step forward and two steps back, maybe try these tips for going a little slower and seeing just how much more progress you make.

1. Make healthy swaps

There are loads of small changes you can make to your diet that make a massive difference to your nutrition and calorie intake. For example, vegetable crudités with hummus or salsa can be just as satisfying as chips with creamy dip but so much better for you. Sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lime is a far better option than lemon, lime and bitters. You get the idea. Find a healthy substitute for your regular treats so you never feel like you’re missing out and you start developing new eating habits that last a lifetime.

2. Sit down to eat

We’re all busy bees but if you regularly eat on the run or while you’re doing something else, your brain tends to not register how much you’ve eaten and you miss your body’s signals telling you when you’ve had enough. Resist the urge to multi-task and treat eating as an activity worthy of your full attention. Bonus effect of sitting down is that taking a break will help reduce your stress and we all know that stress is a major culprit when it comes to weight gain.

3. Add more veggies (and eat them first!)

Eating your vegetables first is the wise advice your mum used to give you and it has definitely stood the test of time. These days it’s not so much that you want to get the yucky stuff out of the way first but that when you’re hungry you want to start filling your empty belly with quality, nutrient dense food so you’re less likely to overindulge in unhealthy options. And if you feel like you need to increase portion sizes while you adjust to a healthier diet, add more vegies to fill you up.

4. Cut back on indulgences

If you have a particular vice that you know is your downfall – maybe a large vanilla latté every morning or a couple of glasses of wine at night, try setting limits on those things rather than cutting them out all together. The danger of removing all your favourite things at once is that the feeling of deprivation causes a bounce back effect that makes you go way overboard so you end up worse off than when you started. Setting sensible limits makes it more likely you can sustain your changes over time.

5. Don’t be a hero at the gym

If it’s been a while since you worked out, take it easy when you get started. It’s perfectly fine to work out every other day or three days a week until you start feeling fitter and stronger. When you set big goals like working out every day, you’re more likely to be demotivated if you don’t meet that standard so set the bar a little lower to begin with and then you can celebrate if you end up doing more. Try get outside as much as you can, the fresh air not only will help you physically but mentally too. It might be the last thing you feel like doing but really its probably the first thing you body wants you to do.

6. Be kind yo your self

If you have a glass too many, have a bit more birthday cake than you planned or you couldn't make the gym this week, don't stress. Let your self enjoy those moments and then when the time has passed get back on track with the veggies and exercise. Everything comes in moderation and you wont stick to it if it doesn't. Remeber if someone else is at your goal much faster than you its not that you are doing something wrong, its just you are different people.

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