Here is the secret….Are you ready? You can’t buy it or borrow it from a friend, you need to face it. Here is what I learned from coaching over 5,000 people about how to make wellness behavior changes. You need to stop thinking it will be easy. If I recall correctly, I heard “that was easier than I thought” four times.
If it was easy, everyone would already be doing it. If it was fun, everyone would already be doing it. If there was one way that made every person change behavior, we would already know what that one thing is. There is no “one thing”. It’s complicated, it changes, and it is different for each person and each situation.
Here are some tips that have been helpful to the people I coached.
YOU CAN FREE YOURSELF FROM CRAVINGS
Sugar and simple, processed carbohydrates make you crave more food. Period. We live in a culture that eats far too many of these foods. The types of food that an “average” person eats in a day are very high in sugar and simple, processed carbohydrates. If you try to stop eating these foods, you will feel withdrawal and it will be uncomfortable. I learned that most people did not realize that this feeling WILL go away if you keep these foods out of your diet. I was shocked that many people thought they would always crave food. The urge will go away and stay away. What is the amount that will keep the cravings away? Like I said before, it it complicated. You will not know until you try and reach that point. It IS possible.
FOOD IS AT THE TOP OF THE WELLNESS HIERARCHY
Every wellness professional that I know will tell you that the food you eat has the biggest effect on the positive physical and emotional changes on your body. Basically, you have heard this before….it is very unlikely that you can out exercise a bad diet. It typically works for very physically active and/or young people. Food matters. Food quality matters. Packaged food matters. ANYTHING that comes in a bag or box is packaged food, no matter how “healthy” it is.
FIND THE MOVEMENT THAT WORKS FOR YOU
There is no perfect exercise. Each person needs to find the type of exercise that he or she likes, or can tolerate, and be consistent. Every body is different, every situation is different. You can make measurable changes to your weight and well being with walking. Usually, you need to make other changes to diet, sleep and/or stress for the “measurable” part to happen.
STRESS AND SLEEP ARE THE HIDDEN GEMS OF WELLNESS SUCCESS
If you are not sleeping enough, and not acknowledging your stress and dealing with it, you will miss out on big benefits. Do you wake up tired and only with an alarm? You need more sleep.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel!!
Most people have success in wellness by making one change at a time, making that behavior consistent, and moving forward after the first change is accepted and feels easy. When you change one behavior, you learn self efficacy. It is a tool that you use every time you make another behavior change. Basically, when you learn to make one change, your brain realizes that you can do it, it works and you have more confidence and ability to make the next change. What does this really mean? It Gets EASIER!