Back in February I posted a blog about the most important things you could do for your health right now. However, some of those listed are easier said then done. Most of us know that we should sleep more and eat more vegetables, but why don’t we do it? Our mindset around exercise and food impacts our actions greatly. If our mind is not in the right place, then no amount of health advice will help us actually put these tips into action. Read on for 4 mindset shifts that will hopefully help you with healthy behavior change.
1 . Stop complicating everything.
I love exercise physiology, biochemistry and nutrition science. And yes, those topics can be complicated and I went to school to study all these topics but healthy living is really not that complicated. It is not necessarily easy but it should not be that complicated. Can we stop counting macros, minutes of exercise in various zones, how many intervals we did and just move a lot and eat mostly healthy food, most of the time? Do not get me wrong, I love training programs and planning workouts as that is my job, but I work with so many people who are just overwhelmed with information overload. They are confused what to eat, when, how much to exercise, how intense to exercise, how many rest days they should take and so on. Yes, there is a science to training, certain things do work better than others and your program should not necessarily be totally random but our society is not suffering from overtraining. We are suffering from lack of movement and are overfed but undernourished.
Move as much as possible throughout the day, eat as many vegetables as you want, eat good quality protein, eat moderate amounts of fruit, whole grains, healthy fats and dairy. Drink a lot of water. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep a night. If you can even just pick one of these tips to focus on for a short while, you should see improvements in your health.
2. Get rid of the all or nothing mindset.
Many clients I work with are either totally focused, working out consistently, watching what they eat, working on other health habits or are not working out at all besides maybe once with me, not paying attention to what they eat, not focusing on sleep or other self-care practices.
Our society has a hard time living in the middle. We do not like moderation. We tend to be all in or all out when it comes to our health. Hence, the popularity of New Year’s Resolutions. After 6 weeks of over indulging, we switch to 6 weeks of restriction and hard core exercise and dieting. Living in the middle with consistently good choices is much more sustainable in the long run then trying to be perfect for 5 days a week to throw everything out the window come Friday night. Or training really hard for 3 months followed by 3 months of inactivity. Consistency beats perfection; EVERY. TIME.
Workout often, enjoy some treats once in awhile, take some rest days but not too many. Don’t eat everything you want all the time but also don’t restrict too much or too often.
3. Do the best you can with what you have available.
You do not need any fancy equipment, clothes, shoes or space to get in a good workout. If you are in the habit of exercising at a gym or going to certain classes and are unable to go for some reason, then many of us choose not to do anything. Or when traveling, if we do not have a well equipped gym, then we decide to just not exercise at all. Or if we do not have our normal food available to us then we decide to screw it and just order whatever want vs. the best option available.
Do the best you can in those specific situations. No gym? Walk, walk, walk and throw in some body weight exercises. All movement counts. Only fast food options available? Hit up a grocery store or gas station and grab some fruit, vegetables and cheese and if those are not available, grab some jerky and nuts.
It doesn’t have to be ideal or perfect all the time. Work with what you got.
4. You can make healthy choices at any time.
I have worked with a lot of clients who always seem to be waiting for something. “I will start healthy eating on Monday.” “I will start going to the gym regularly when work isn’t as busy.” “Once my kids are back in school, I will eat better and more regularly.” You do not have to wait until any special day, time or period in your life to make a healthy choice. If you had a doughnut for breakfast, you do not have to wait until tomorrow or Monday to make a better choice the next time you eat. You can start with the next meal. If your schedule is a bit off one week and you miss your regular exercise routine, you do not have to wait until your schedule returns to normal to exercise again. You can incorporate some other type of exercise or movement later that day or the next day.
Don’t wait for any special circumstance, day or time to make healthy choices. You can start at anytime.
Getting your head in the right space is crucial for behavior change. Changing your thoughts around exercise and food can help you stay motivated and hopefully help you take action and help you live your best healthy life.