If you missed Kate and I chatting all things healthy habits on Instagram this week (be sure to tune in if you have time), today’s blog will be a good reminder of those tips we discussed, considering how to make your health goals sustainable alongside approaching them with a sense of compassion during such a difficult time.
Some useful tips to consider:
- Focus on what you can add in, not on what you need to remove
Rather than setting up or re-establishing healthy habits which are focused around restriction – think about and celebrate what you can include! When we restrict certain foods or food groups from our diet, we are also restricting their benefits – like the energy from carbohydrates for example. We need to consider the implications of our choices, opting for health over aesthetics.
Alongside this, if we decide to remove a certain food, maybe one which is categorised as ‘bad’, or less nutritious, once we give in to the (completely natural) cravings of this particular food, will we be satisfied by just one, or want to eat the whole family sized bag because we haven’t allowed ourselves this food for so long, and don’t know when we will allow ourselves to have it again?
Rather than going down the route of seeing foods as good or bad, work to welcome all foods as part of a healthy balanced diet. Direct your attention toward focusing on what you can add to your plate to make it more nutritious, or toward an action you can add into your lifestyle to nourish your body and mind. Keep asking yourself, what can I add in?!
- Get organised
It’s easier said than done, but trying to plan and prepare for the week ahead can make these desired healthy habits much more likely to stick.
In terms of food organisation, something I find really helpful is making a bit of a meal plan, or bank of meal ideas for the week. That way I can go to the supermarket and get everything I need – a huge head start!
If and when possible, batch cooking and freezing food can be a really helpful way to ensure you have some healthy go to meals during a busy week when you don’t have a lot of time. If that’s not do able, thinking of quick and convenient things you can do to give you a head start can be just as good e.g. shopping for those quick and easy cupboard essentials such as tins of beans / legumes or frozen fruit / veg; long lasting and a quick and easy addition to many meals.
- Be realistic
Consider your lifestyle and everything that comes with it – especially at the moment. If you have a busy family life, you’re home schooling and you work full time, setting yourself a health goal like going for a run at 7am every morning may not be manageable. Think; how can this habit / goal be easily incorporated into your daily life? It may be starting with one or two runs per week, or opting for a different, more suitable time of day. Start there and then build on it.
- Set up a supportive environment
If you have healthy food in the fridge, or your yoga mat rolled out at the ready, you’re more likely to engage.
Design an environment which is supportive of your wellness goals.
For example, if you’re trying to get out of the habit of snacking on certain foods throughout the day – make healthy snacks and store them in eye line in the fridge.
Or, if you want to get into yoga, roll out your mat the night before so that it’s the first thing you stumble over when you come down the stairs.
Consider a few back up ideas for when things don’t go to plan e.g a saved home workout as a replacement for a run on a rainy day.
Remember, the more complex the habit, the harder it will be to make it stick. Try to keep it simple.
- Enjoy it!
Choose your new intentions based on the things that bring you joy. If you can’t stand high intensity training, but you love walking – opt for the daily walk as your exercise goal. If you decide to take on a restrictive diet which results in you not enjoying your meals – chances are this won't be sustainable. It sounds obvious, but work to create new habits which make you happy. The more you enjoy something, the more you engage, the more likely it will be to stick.
- Self compassion is key!
Remember, our current situation isn’t normal, so chances are our usual January sense of motivation may not be normal either. It’s okay if you’re lacking the energy and drive toward healthy choices at the moment; we’re all doing what we can to get though.
If you’re juggling work, home schooling and other daily to do’s, it’s important to remember that sometimes having a rest day from exercise or grabbing something more convenient for dinner rather than putting pressure on yourself to do it all, can be the healthiest overall choice.
Be gentle with yourself, the time and headspace for healthy choices will return when you are ready for them. Do what you can, when you feel like you can, at a pace which suits you and with a sense of self compassion.
As a society, were often looking for a quick fix; a way to reach our goals as fast as we possibly can. Trying to see your desired healthy habits as a lifestyle rather than a finish line will mean less pressure, less disappointment and more room to enjoy the journey!
I hope some of these tips have been beneficial - look out for another Instagram Live chat with myself and Kate very soon, and be sure to let us know if there are any topics you would like us to cover.
Holistic Health Coach - Anna Whyte
The ‘Wellness with Anna’ philosophy focuses on taking a more balanced and holistic approach to health. Often, the tools needed to make a lasting change are already in your toolbox. I offer client led guidance in order to support the progress of an individual working to meet their personal wellness goals. I will not diagnose, treat or take responsibility for bringing about wellness change, but direct, listen and support development.
We work together on a journey to make health a main priority, both physically and mentally.