The secret to life long health
As a Nutritionist barely a day goes by without someone asking your opinion on the latest health craze. Hopeful eyes stare into mine as they wonder if this is “the answer” that will have them looking and feeling younger, healthier and happier.
Many of us are passionate about our desire for better health and happiness and truly mean to do our best each day to achieve it.
For most however, our conviction is fleeting. Each day presents a new challenge to your resolve. Many nights are spent thinking “I’ll do better tomorrow” - planning the morning run to burn off the evening indulgence.
Where do we go wrong?
Why do we give in to temptation so frequently? Why do we struggle to maintain our journey to better health without deviation?
The answer is often simply that we’ve set unachievable goals. We follow dietary and lifestyle plans that are unsustainable in the long term or which don’t allow for the challenges of our daily lives.
We are stuck in an on again off again relationship with our bad habits and we just can’t seem to break up for good.
For example, you may plan to wake up early and begin the day with a run. Maybe you wake up exhausted and starving and feel you can't face it - this could be because you skipped dinner in favour of chips, chocolate and a glass of wine.
Maybe you made it to the gym but you left there running late for work, starving and stressed - now you grab a coffee and banana bread. "It's ok, I exercised" you tell yourself. But the lack of appropriate fuel post-exercise is going to mean your blood sugar (and therefore hunger, energy, focus and mood) will be imbalanced for hours to come. Your lunch will likely be a disaster as your body begs you to consume quick fuel like sugars, salts and starchy carbs.
Maybe you had a great breakfast but skipped lunch so that you could power through - now you're starving, tired, stressed, you've had too many coffees. Dinner will likely be a large serving of comfort food plus a glass of vino.
So what's the secret?
The secret to lifelong health can be very simple. Set small achievable goals which include practical guidelines that account for the challenges of your daily life.
Allow yourself treats, have a plan for what happens when you work late/sleep in/take lunch at your desk. Plan for stressful days, plan for nights out, plan for breakfast meetings, plan for the nights your kids keep you up all night and plan for celebrations.
If you want to make it to the gym in the morning, have a healthy dinner then go and pack your gym bag, get your work clothes ready, make your healthy breakfast (or plan exactly where to get it from and what you're going to have) - don't leave any of this until the next morning. If you wake up and all you have to do is slide into your gym gear, grab your breakfast out of the fridge and take off, you're much more likely to make it. If you have to do any of this in the morning whilst tired, you're likely to find a reason that it's too hard.
In my book "Pure Health & Happiness" I address this by giving small, manageable, achievable goals to achieve each week. I provide advice for how to prioritise, how to maintain health through the busy and stressful times and how to sleep better and feel better with simple, small changes each week.
A 15 minute exercise session is better than no exercise. Eating frozen veggies is better than no veggies. A takeaway salad or stirfry is better than a mercy-dash to McDonalds when you're about to slip into a hypoglycaemic coma! Be realistic with your goals and you're likely to achieve them.
Remember, no matter how disorganised your life may feel right now, there are changes that could be made to support better health and happiness. These changes can help to support you through the tough times, can help you sleep better, feel better, wake up with more energy and help stress to feel less stressful.
Simple changes which allow for the stresses and challenges of your current lifestyle are the secret to achieving and maintaining your health in the long term - no matter what life throws at you.
It's time to stop thinking of your healthy lifestyle as something you’ll follow when the time is right and recognise that the time is now!
At Sydney City Nutritionist we always plan your program to suit your unique needs. This means working with you, not on you. This means we plan for the tough times, not only the good. More importantly, we plan with you, allowing for treats, cheats and quick fixes, so you’ll never feel it’s unachievable.
Whatever your goals, we'd like to help you achieve them. Whatever your challenges, we'd like to help you with a diet and lifestyle plan that supports you through them.
If you would like to feel like a healthier, happier version of yourself, despite your life challenges, get in touch. We’d love to help.
Until then, stay deliciously healthy.