20 Ways to Change Your Environment to Help Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
(in no particular order..)
- Set limits on screen time. For example, turn phone/TV off after 8pm or during mealtimes.
- Prepare your gym bag ahead of time.
- Prepare food ahead of time.
- Keep fruits and veggies chopped and ready to cook/eat
- Keep a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter or table.
- Replace hyper-palatable foods with similar, just as delicious,healthier options (i.e. real ice cream –> FroYo)
- Surround yourself with people who have similar goals/values.
- Hire a coach or mentor
- Pack your lunch the night before
- Set a reminder to begin a bedtime routine
- Adopt a dog or volunteer to be a dog walker
- Eat your meals free from distractions
- Use smaller bowls/plates
- Sign up for your favorite gym class, race, competition
- Set a reminder to stand up and go for walks every 15 minutes
- Park your car further away
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- sign up for a healthy food delivery system
- Have your favorite exercise equipment/program available in your home
- Utilize blackout blinds in your bedroom
and sooooooo many more!!
I’ve had my fair share of extreme diets, body transformations and exercise routines. You know, the yo-yo bandwagon, you name it, I’ve probably tried it, only to end up back to square one, or even worse. The supplements, the shakes, the detoxes, terrible bodybuilding prep/recovery etc. I could go on. I couldn’t adhere to anything I tried for more than a few months if that. I was having a hard time finding an enjoyable and sustainable approach that was right for me. One problem was that 80% of the time I only cared about what I looked like on the outside (body fat, scale weight) and didn’t pay much attention to my inner verbal behavior, signals, and thoughts. I remember that every time I failed at a diet, or took 1 step forward then 2 steps back, I punished myself with either another new diet, more exercise, negative self-talk, body shame, binge episodes, or all 5. This ultimately led to a negative pattern of behaviors over the course of several years.
It was almost as if I couldn’t trust myself to do what I already knew would be a step in the right direction. As in “step” I mean making healthier choices most of the time, moving more- even if it’s walking, and just getting better each day and being kinder to myself. Eating well and exercising to be strong, capable, and my best self. Trusting and being aware of my hunger signals and cravings. It wasn’t until I started grad school that I became passionate and intrigued by human behavior (specifically eating/exercise behaviors, obesity, eating disorders, and public health), why we do the things we do, and why it can be difficult to change and/ or sustain health behaviors and outcomes. It’s so overwhelming to think about, really. There are so many important variables that come into play that can affect our behaviors and our lifestyle. Our history with food and exercise, our genetics, our values, our limitations, our environments, our communities, our social environments, our support system, and our society and culture. You can see how all of these variables come into play at some point, and influence our daily behaviors and decisions. Health has so many layers, it’s not just weight, how much we lift, or how our ass and abs look. Health encompasses so much more than that, such as family, work, hobbies, social life etc. If you’re not feeling well (mentally, physically, emotionally), most likely it will effect other areas of life.
The past 2.5 years I decided to break out of the old patterns of behavior I was engaging in and experiment with a “get better each day” approach. An approach that encompasses who I am and what is important to me. An approach that took a lot of “self love” at every stage, compassion, & letting go, meaningful value-based decisions, committed actions and goals, moderation, self-experimentation, & a huge “thought” and environmental shift. For me, health weaves in all aspects of my life. The last 2.5 years helped me understand that anything that has meaning, and is important, takes time, and has its challenges. The biggest change for me is the person that I’ve become. Knowing that I’m constantly evolving and learning from the past and present, is what helps me become resilient and strong from the inside out, and helps me be a better person to myself and others. I no longer support our society’s approach towards losing weight and “getting healthy”. At a 95% failure rate, there needs to be a shift away from all these diets, “quick fixes”, extremes, and body shaming. #selfreflectionsaturday #breakoutbehaviorcoaching #bethechange #coach #behaviorchange #bettereachday #haes #bodypositive #moderation #mindful #healthjourney #beyou
Breakout Behavior Coaching Topic of the day…
What happens when someone has almost reached a fat loss goal and is finding it very challenging to lose a final 5-10 pounds?
You’re getting very close to your fat loss goal. You believe that you could lose another 5 to 10 pounds of fat, however, right now, you feel pretty good about yourself -mentally and physically. You’ve been following your workout routine/behavior consistently. You’ve been maintaining a healthy and sustainable caloric intake (according to your individual goal). You’re free of pain/injuries. Your sleep and stress patterns are in check. You’re enjoying your social life and activities that make you feel good. You have energy throughout the day. You’re able to to eat and exercise without feeling guilt and shame. Your Dr. Reports your tests came back normal and you’re in good health.
Back to those last 5-10 pounds. Losing more fat would require more adjustments- more changes in behavior- maybe it’s caloric adjustments or increased physical activity overtime. Maybe it’s eating out 2x/month vs. 5x/month. Maybe it’s decreasing alcohol consumption over time. Whatever the change is- let it maximize our lives. It’s very different when someone is an athlete competing in a unique sport, but the majority of us aren’t. If the behavior change begins to drive us insane, make us obsess/think negatively, or impede on our quality of life- socially and emotionally, maybe it would be a good time to reevaluate goals and values.
Having a fat loss goal is awesome and totally cool when intentions are good. Keep in mind that in order to maintain and sustain the last 5-10 pound fat loss, you will need to maintain the behaviors that got you there. The same goes for any amount of weight/fat loss.