How to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes That Stick – Part 1

A couple of days ago I read a good article on life detox that started me thinking about the best ways to make healthy lifestyle changes, based on my own experiences.

Most of us know from experience that making lifestyle changes can be devilishly difficult. Sometimes years go by and we just don’t seem to be able to make the changes we desperately want like quit smoking, lose weight and get back in shape.

Still, despite challenges, we do occasionally succeed in making lifestyle changes. I started thinking about the most successful changes I have made during my life and what it was that made the change possible.

I decided to write a series on my tips. 🙂

My Top Tips on How to Change a Lifestyle for the Better

Tip #1: Ditch all or nothing thinking

Many lifestyle changes come to an end before they have really started because everything doesn’t go according to some rigid, preconceived plan. You decide to follow some diet or exercise regime and it’s going fine until one day you eat that pepperoni pizza with extra cheese!

I think the problem is not that you ate that pizza but rather your own thinking. If you got over the fact that you had that pizza and carried on like nothing happened, the pizza incident would have been just a small blip on your radar.

I learned this first hand when I lost 26 pounds following Weight Watchers program seven years ago (I must have unlearned that on some point, though!). After 2 weeks of following the program I caved in and indulged in some sweets. If I had, at that moment, decided I had failed in my diet I certainly wouldn’t have eventually lost those 26 pounds. Instead I somehow managed to shrug off that incident and go on as if nothing had happened (I didn’t punish myself for eating that candy either).

I actually got into a habit of eating sweets once a week. The only consequence that weekly habit of mine was that I may have not lost weight as fast as possible.

So what?

(It’s another issue altogether that most diets are so restrictive that they practically set you up for a failure. It’s not merely a question of lack of self-discipline; you have probably just made a bad diet choice.)

Life is messy. You might not achieve your goals in exactly the way or in the exact timeframe you originally planned, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals.

Do you have similar experiences? Leave your comments below, please.

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Comments

  1. I agree with ditching the all or nothing mentality. It will ruin you. I see it happen all the time and it’s a vicious cycle.

  2. 26 pounds is a great weight loss, so you definitely did learn some rules that helped you. Each person has to implement the rules that personally work.

    Right now, I am going the opposite route of not eating any cookies, cakes, crackers, white bread etc…because I am a binge-er and have never stopped at a reasonable amount. Not eating this stuff got rid of all my cravings. It’s so nice to walk by a cookie and not have it speak to me. I still eat some good food I like, just not those things that cause me big problems (i.e. little cookies that look like they have little calories). 🙂
    Marion

  3. Satu says:

    I have to admit I’m also of the type that can’t end at a reasonable amount, but I deal with that by not storing unwanted “items” at home.

    But it’s probably not possible for you if your family doesn’t want to give up cakes and talking cookies. 🙂

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