I often hear clients say things like “Ugh, I feel like I need a detox after that vacation. We ate so much food. I think I gained 5 pounds!”
Many of us can relate to this feeling of guilt and remorse. When we travel we are usually eating out frequently and many times allow ourselves to overindulge in foods we don’t normally eat when cooking at home – who actually fries their own french fries?
Because we don’t do this very often, we go “hog wild” and allow ourselves every indulgent food we can get our hands on, thinking “I’ll just go on a diet when I get home.”
I know the worst part about going on vacation for me is the dread of having to go back to getting up at 4:30am and remembering the 1,234 things I have to do in a day.
So why would I also want to add “lose the 5 pounds I gained on my trip” to my long to-do list?
Do you know what? I DON’T! And neither do you! YOU DON’T HAVE TO lose gained weight again, if you put some strong, doable, and consistent healthy habits in place in your life.
Here are some habits I’ve added to my life over the years:
- making sure there are fruits and/or vegetables in every meal
- drinking a glass of water upon rising
- oatmeal or a smoothie every morning shortly after I wake up (I make packets of oatmeal to take for travel)
- eating whenever I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. (If you have trouble recognizing when you’re full, make sure you start every meal with healthy portions and don’t go for seconds no matter what.)
- asking for my toast dry
- subbing avocado for cheese or mayo on my eggs and in my sandwiches
- never buying anything with trans-fat in it
- staying away from preservatives
- grilled chicken/fish instead of fried
- a salad or extra veggies instead of mashed potatoes or french fries
- dressings and rich sauces on the side
Believe it or not, these are things that I don’t even really think about any more. It’s second nature because they are things I’ve done over and over for years so they’ve now become habits.
That is not to say I don’t ever eat french fries or something with preservatives in it, but those are things I have to think about and I do consciously. For many of us it’s the opposite – we blindly eat rich and delicious foods until we are stuffed silly and have to think about eating healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were the other way around?
In truth, eating healthy isn’t the basis to being healthy; being healthy is about having healthy habits. When you have healthy habits in place, you can rely on them when you are in any situation and often without even thinking about them.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of a habit is “acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” Brushing your teeth, looking both ways before crossing the street and making coffee in the morning are all examples of habits you might already have.
Experts say it takes 21 days to create a habit – and that’s the bare minimum – so pick small, attainable things to start with.
Start with one new habit a week.
Here are some ideas: eat 2 more servings of vegetables a day, stop buying anything containing trans fat, drink 64 ounces of water daily, replace your fast-food breakfast sandwich with ellie b’s oatmeal, walk 10,000 steps a day, take the stairs instead of the elevator…I’m sure you can think of many more.
All of these things lead to being healthier without a tremendous amount of effort. With tools like fitbits, VivoFits, sport watches, and other activity trackers, it’s easier than ever to be aware of our habits and work towards making better ones.
I encourage you to take a look at your current habits TODAY and how they are effecting your quality of life.
Do you drink soda all day long and can’t sleep at night? Swap out your soda for something caffeine free.
Suffer from frequent headaches? Make habit of staying hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you.
Don’t eat in the first half of your day and then find yourself famished and over-eating in the evening? Start packing your lunch and have breakfast ready to grab and go in the morning.
Subconsciously I think we are all aware of our bad habits, and how they keep us from looking and feeling the way we want. It’s easy to say “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight, I eat healthy!” when in the back of your mind you know it’s the empty calories in the adult beverages you consume every week, or the highly processed foods you turn to when you are tired instead of creating a meal with fresh, real food.
Be brave! Own up to your bad habits and start making small changes to create new, healthier ones. Keep in mind that creating new habits doesn’t happen over night. – if it did, it wouldn’t qualify as a habit!
Remember, all growth comes from discomfort. Stick with it, knowing you WON’T ENJOY IT at first. But, THE PAYOFF IS WORTH IT.
Keep visualizing your goals, keep a journal or a calendar to record your progress, and soon you won’t even remember that at one time you had to think about ordering your dressing on the side or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Now, it’s part of who you are.
You will look better, and more importantly, feel better for it!
If you need help creating healthy habits, I’m here to help.
Ellen Breeding (aka ellie b fit)