If you’ve attempted a time or two (maybe even ten) to eat healthier, exercise more, take better care of yourself mentally and emotionally, but have not been able to stick with it, you are not alone.
Many Americans struggling to lead a healthier lifestyle are constantly met with adversities and obstacles that make it difficult to achieve our health goals. We are inundated with making the “easy” choice when it comes to our food, which unfortunately is almost always not the healthy choice. We see it in our grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, magazines, newspapers, TV ads, schools, waiting rooms, hospital cafeterias, malls, everywhere. No wonder we have such a hard time making change!
How in the world are we supposed to make healthier choices when the communities we live in seem to constantly reinforce that it’s unnatural and not socially acceptable?
I won’t lie. It takes a lot of effort, consideration, planning, and preparation on our part to fight what society has made the norm. It’s certainly not an overnight occurrence. It’s a process, and we will likely fail occasionally, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep going and better ourselves in the process.
The first thing to do is to “find your why.” Why do you want to live a healthier lifestyle? Although answers like “because I want to lose weight” are perfectly acceptable, think of a why that goes beyond the surface. Something that is at the root of your soul. Maybe you want to live a life with less or no pain. Be a better mother/father to your children. Live a longer, happier life. Or maybe you want to thrive in life instead of just surviving.
Whatever your “why” is, find it and keep it in the forefront of your mind. Find a picture that represents your “why” or simply write it down and keep it some place where you will always see it. Your “why” may change down the road, and that is okay. Life is fluid and constantly changing, so the goals we set don’t have to be set in stone.
Once you’ve found your “why” the next thing to do is make the “easy” choice the healthy choice. That means having an arsenal of tips and tricks to keep you on track. Menu planning; learning how to grocery shop the healthy way (i.e. shopping the perimeter of the store); food prep once or twice a week to ensure healthy foods are an easy meal or a quick grab-and-go snack; and being prepared when it comes to going out, navigating holidays and parties.
These aren’t fail-proof methods of succeeding. It all really lies within you—are you doing your best and making an effort despite the adversities we face? Nothing is 100% and we all stumble on our journey, but the important thing is to learn from those and keep going.
I always tell myself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment.” When I do tell myself that, I stop and think, “Am I really doing the best I can?”
This journey to living a healthier lifestyle involves a lot of introspection and personal growth, but it’s an integral part of the process. And you will reap the benefits down the road!