We all want good things, and we want them NOW. It’s human nature. But unfortunately, when it comes to our health, true healing doesn’t happen overnight. It takes patience, determination and consistency.
Consistency is not the same as motivation. We all lose motivation at some point. We need to get ourselves in a routine of practicing healthy habits so that when that motivation does dwindle, we are able to stay on our path to healthy living.
I find that so many of us are so caught up in the “All Or Nothing” mentality that we wind up doing nothing. We need to find that gray area and recognize that every single thing you do, big or small, makes an impact on your overall health.
Here are 5 things you can do consistently, at whatever level you can fit in, for obtainable and sustainable (‘cause if you can’t stick with it, it ain’t doing you much good in the long run) health.
MOVE YOUR BODY DAILY
It may seem hard to believe in this modern life of commuting, desk jobs and Netflix binging but this body of yours was made to move! Your daily movement can be modified based on how much time you have, what location you are in, and how you feel that day. It can be something intense like CrossFit, Krav-Maga (my new obsession), running or lower impact like yoga or walking. Think you don’t have time to move your body? Try:
Taking three 10-minute walks throughout the day.
Getting up 30-minutes earlier to get in a quick jog/walk
Doing a yoga video in your living room
Signing up for a fun group class and scheduling it a few weeks out so that you have it on your calendar
Doing a 10-min HITT exercise. Tabata’s kick your butt in 10-minutes flat.
If you want to feel good, control your appetite, and have a body that functions, you have to drink your water (ideally half your body weight in ounces of water). If you struggle with getting in your daily allowance of water — start small.
Add in one extra cup every few days.
Buy a water bottle that you love (glass or metal) and get in the habit of carrying it with you.
If you find yourself forgetting to take your water bottle with you, get a few — one for home, one for the car, one for work.
Keep track of how much you are drinking during the day in a journal or even on post-its.
MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
You can eat all the right foods but if you aren’t practicing self-care you will never feel as good as you can. Simple things like taking breaks throughout the day for a few deep breaths, lighting a candle and enjoying a cup of herbal tea, or shutting the door of your bedroom and having a few minutes of quiet time— these all count.
RETURN TO THE FOODS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL BEST PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY
This is super important coming off of the holidays where many of us indulged in things that may have been out of the norm. For most people the occasional indulgence is a healthy thing! We all need some wiggle room. It’s OK to enjoy those special foods (in reasonable amounts) we encounter during holidays, or vacations, or at special nights out (it’s OK to skip them too), but we need to return to the way of eating that actually serves us.
If you feel hopeless and lost regarding knowing which way of eating makes you feel good, my advice is to just eat real food. Start by adding in a couple of handfuls of veggies a day. Play around with adding in healthy fats and proteins. Try taking out gluten and dairy and paying attention to how you feel. You do not need to do a complete overhaul to experience positive change. If you need help getting back to your baseline RESTART is a great start.
CHOOSE THINGS YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY
When it comes to food and exercise, choose things you like. So if you hate jogging- don’t do it. Try yoga, weight-lifting, biking, swimming, martial arts…there are so many options. If you enjoy what you do you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Same goes for food. If you hate Brussels sprouts, skip them and eat the veggies you do enjoy. There are so many to choose from. Now if you hate every vegetable out there there’s another issue going on, like a sugar-saturated palette, or zinc deficiency, so that will need to be addressed. Make food prep fun too. Try group swaps, listen to music or a podcast, or experiment with different recipes.
Closing thoughts. The key word is “consistent” not “perfect”. If you get off track remember that every moment is the perfect moment to start again. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the journey ahead…take it one day, one meal, one choice at a time.