5 ways to ditch the diet and start a healthy lifestyle

How healthy is your lifestyle? Here are my top 5 tips for ditching the diet and being healthy for LIFE.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.
First things first, stop thinking of this as a short term goal. There is no deadline. By setting an “end date” your mind begins to believe that this is all temporary. Sure, it may encourage you to ramp up your efforts in order to reach your goal by the set date; however, what happens when that date has passed? Naturally, you’ll go back to your old ways and find yourself in the same position you were in at the most recent start of your journey.

Gradual changes
Don’t make any sudden decisions. When you wake up after a night of binge eating or when you’re on the floor lying frustrated on a pile of clothes that no longer fit you feels like the right time to give things up, but trust me, it’s not. Linking your motivation to your frustration makes it again, temporary. Instead, use these moments and feelings of frustration to realign yourself to a long term goal.

Be SMART with your goals
This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Include all five of these elements when setting goals for yourself. Be specific as to what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and where you’ll do it. How often will you do it? Make sure your goal is something you feel you can achieve and is relevant to your personal life. Lastly, set a time frame for accomplishing your goal. This will help you assess your progress and make changes as needed. An example of a SMART goal is swapping out your afternoon Dr. Pepper for a water with lemon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for the next three weeks.

Surround yourself with positivity and encouraging ideas
We all struggle with self-defeating thoughts and compare ourselves to others. Work on being kind and telling your mind you are stronger than your negative self. Whenever I see phrases or quotes that make me happy and nice to myself, I like to put it all up in my face! I make it my background on my phone, I tape it to my mirror, I keep it written down on a piece of paper in my purse, in my wallet, in my closet, everywhere! Keeping constant reminders to encourage and love myself literally changes my thought process, directly translating into my actions and goals.

Take the guilt out of your life
This is a lifestyle change. Slip ups and cheat days are diet terminology. You’re laying down the ground work for a healthy, life-long foundation. Pick workouts that you enjoy doing, not ones you think you should be doing. I used to run every Sunday morning until I recently decided I don’t enjoy it anymore. I started to dread Sundays and would even procrastinate my run for so long that I ended up not working out at all. I decided to find an activity that makes me happy and ditch the word “should”. By doing so, I am MORE active in my new workouts because I found something I enjoy. Set SMART goals, make gradual changes, and you’ll be more likely to bounce back to your healthy lifestyle when you do eat foods that are not necessarily in line with your goals. The most important thing is that you accept your actions, not to beat yourself up, and make sure you get back in the saddle. When you’re on a road trip and you run out of gas, what do you do? You go to the gas station, fill up your tank, get back in the car and keep on driving until you reach your goal. How ridiculous would it be to have to start your trip over again every time you stop to get gas? You’d never make it to your goal.

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