One Trick to Live a Healthier Lifestyle
The health and fitness world is full of rules. From things you should “never” eat, to exercises you “must” do everyday. Because of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and fall into an all-or-nothing cycle: eating clean and nailing every workout, then mindlessly snacking on junk and giving 50% at the gym. It’s hard to find the right balance but it’s possible, and it starts with your frame of mind.
When we put our eating and exercise choices on a pedestal of rules, we end up creating ideals to fall from.
We engrain in our kids that rules are hard and fast, and breaking them is a no-no. In reality, a healthy and balanced lifestyle is just the opposite. You’ll have days where you cook all your meals and get in an extra 10 minutes of circuits, because you are on fire!
Then you’ll have a day where your breakfast is coffee, and the thought of stepping foot on a treadmill is exhausting.
They key is having the same attitude about yourself and your abilities to lead a healthful life no matter what kind of day you’re experiencing.
Why rules work against your healthy habits
Lets say you have a rule of not eating french fries. But, you give in to temptation while out with friends and have one from a shared basket. Despite that you’ve eaten smart all week and ordered healthfully that night; you broke a rule!
Your head tells you you’ve done something wrong. So, you feel bad about yourself. You doubt your ability to make good choices, so you say, “F it!” and stuff down more fries without enjoying them, because you’re already doing something you shouldn’t.
Another scenario: You have a rule to workout at least one weekend day, but two weekends in a row your toddler’s schedule has been out of whack and it never happened. You’ve gotten 45 minutes of exercise in the last 5 weekends in a row, but you broke your golden rule and feel like you failed. You skip the gym Monday because you already broke your rule, what’s another day?
Read This: How to Create an Effective Workout Plan
This is why I don’t like rules! They make you feel trapped, like a failure, and put you in an all-or-nothing mentality. I understand why people make these rules to follow, we need guidance, especially when creating new habits and breaking old ones. But, why not create a more welcoming head space to do so?
Set your goals and CRUSH them!
How to adopt guidelines instead of rules
Instead of listing rules, come up with guidelines. Write out the qualities you strive for in your idea of a healthy lifestyle; energetic, active, relaxed, and balanced eater are a few examples. Now, instead of creating rules to get there, draft guidelines that put you in action. Some of mine? I like to exercise 5 days a week, prefer no alcohol on weeknights, and I avoid ordering fries.
By viewing these actions as guidelines, you allow yourself the occasional divergence without feeling you’ve jumped off a cliff. Maybe you typically don’t order a burger when eating out. But, this particular restaurant is famous for their burger, and you’ve craved one all week. This isn’t usually what you do. It’s not under your guidelines. But, you eat one for dinner and, go back to your healthy habits at your next meal. No harm no foul. You didn’t break a rule and don’t need to punish yourself.
Read This: How to Stop Junk Food Cravings for Good!
Seeing your healthy habits as a lifestyle, and not a set of rules, accounts for the ebb and flow of life. One of my favorite quotes is, “one workout won’t make you fit and one burger won’t make you fat.” It’s small, everyday choices that make the biggest impact.
If you would like accountability in creating and sticking to a plan to get you to your goals, I would love to work with you! Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org today for a FREE 20 minute Discovery Call and see if health coaching is right for you.