Too often we are told to go to extremes when it comes to our health. Give up this, don’t each too much of that, only one tablespoon of this, and that’s too much sugar. Have you ever looked up the definition of what livable and doable is? Livable is an adjective defined as worth living, enjoyable. Doable is also an adjective defined as within one’s powers; feasible. That to me is the crux of a healthier lifestyle and relationship with food. It must be enjoyable and it must be feasible.
Whenever you’ve wanted to make a change, whether that’s lose weight, eat better, workout more, or meditate…do you ever stop to ask yourself, “how will this be enjoyable and feasible?” More importantly, how will I make this last? Making changes is no joke. You know that already and I don’t need to reiterate it over and over. If you want to read more on that thought, head here to my post about why we don’t have to break our habits.
I’ve thought a lot about the concept of habits, behavior change, and weight which is at the core of why many people (NOT all) want to change. I decided that this platform needs to break down the myths about changing habits. I want to provide actual evidenced based guides to changing your life without the sole focus being weight change. When we shift the focus away from weight, we open up a world of doors to healthy living we’ve never been through before, door one is livable and door two, doable. So how can we jump into this concept? What can we do to get started?
Turns out, I’ve got five ways to get those doors open and help you enter a new way of living a healthier life!
The human body is 60-70% water – we absorb water the best. Water plays vital roles in digestion, processing and moving nutrients, lubricating joints and more. Without enough hydration, we are susceptible to dehydration. Dehydration can affect our ability to move/workout efficiently and it can increase feelings of fatigue. How much water are you drinking? It is recommended to get eight, 8-oz glasses of water a day. Where do you stack up to that? If you’re not there yet, that’s okay! Grab a glass to have with your next meal or snack.
Sleep, no matter how many times people tell you to get enough of it, can still a struggle. In order to get restful sleep, try creating a bedtime routine that helps your mind wind down. Most phones nowadays will help you create a routine by reminding when to start relaxing and when to head to bed. There are also apps like Calm and Headspace that can help you relax from head to toe and quiet your inner voice that spins your wheels at night. Other things that can help are putting your phone away and picking up a book or a journal to write about your daily reflections.
Organize don’t agonize over your kitchen. If you stand in your kitchen or in front of a cupboard or fridge, do you feel you’re in a healthy environment? Or does it make you feel unsettled and disorganized? I find it extremely helpful to set up my home environment for my own/my family’s success. For me, that means when I open the fridge I see my pre-cut fruits and veggies first, I see I have other healthy choices (i.e cheese sticks, left overs, energy bites, hard boiled eggs, etc.) and it’s organized in a way that helps me make fast decisions if needed. My cupboards…they need some work! But I’m blaming that on time and we only moved in three months ago…ok, time to get the cupboards organized.
Movement is a gift. Or do you see it as a chore? At work, I work with an awesome exercise physiologist who incorporated this into a lesson regarding movement. If you want livable and doable movement/activity/exercise in your life, it’s important to first identify what you believe exercise IS. Is it only exercise if you sweat? Is it only going to benefit you if you’re losing weight? Discovering TONS of other reasons to move your body AND identifying ways to move it in a way that fits into your life is so important. There is no “rule” about what exercise IS. Exercise is defined as activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. What way can you start moving today? Five minute walks? Ten minute videos? ANY movement is MOVEMENT.
It cannot be understated how much of a role our thoughts and feelings play in our effort toward a healthy life. I am a firm believer that the critic within us all is our number one reason we do not take care of ourselves. We tell ourselves we’re not worth it, we compare ourselves to an unrealistic goal or chart standard (I’m looking at you ridiculous ideal body weight charts), and we punish ourselves when we think we’re not working hard enough. These mental punishments can be combatted by increasing our positive responses and self-talk. If you’re not in touch with the inner critic, which will likely always be around, start talking back to them. Listen to what that critic says and fight back. As one of my favorite movie personalities says, “fighters, fight.” That is from Rocky in case you didn’t know 😛
Within each of these five ideas, try to form one small step to move yourself forward. Whether that’s positive pep-talks each morning, a sticky note to remind you to move more at work, rearranging and organizing one cupboard or simply grabbing one extra cup of water. Find a way to integrate them into your life, don’t hate on yourself when you’re struggling, and reach out for support and ideas when you need them. We all want immediate gratification and for our newly formed behaviors to be habits yesterday. Remember that you have time and each day you can work towards the life you want, one step at a time.
What do you want to do to make nutrition more livable and doable? Which of the above suggestions resonated with you the most? Share below or show me over on Instagram and tag me @the_beer_dietitian!