Changing habits or making lifestyle changes can be a very overwhelming thing to try and do. Of course, we know we’re doing it for the right reasons. We definitely want the positive change that comes from it, but doing it can be pretty scary and intimidating. And that’s okay! Because quite frankly, it is a big task, taking something so inherent in your daily behaviour and making a conscientious effort to change it. It takes a lot of work, and with that, it can be quite a scary thing to embark on, but just because it’s scary doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
I’ve been on quite a long journey when it comes to lifestyle changes, and my biggest one was all about food and weight. When I was a teenager, I tried so many diets to try and lose weight. None of them really worked because the diet would either not work for me or leave me feeling miserable. As I got into my last year or so of high school, I embarked on more of a lifestyle change than a diet, and that’s when I started calorie counting. Calorie counting worked so much better for me because instead of being on a restrictive diet, I could eat what I wanted so long as it fits within my calorie count of the day. Learning more in-depth about all the foods I was eating really made me rethink my approach to food and having a healthy lifestyle.
After I finished grade 12 though, and went on my gap year, my weight loss journey went backwards because I was living in dorm rooms. I didn’t have as much control over what I was eating, but I was also incredibly stressed. I know that sounds a bit weird being more stressed outside of school than when I was writing exams, but being on a gap year and not knowing 100% what my plan was was a whole lot more stressful than high school. So, I ended up gaining weight again, sadly. Over lockdown though, I realised I was unhappy with my body. My lifestyle habits had slipped back into more unhealthy ones, so I used the opportunity to rethink my weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes, and I started again. It’s been a year now since I started this journey 2.0, and I’ve lost almost 20kg. I’ve still got some more that I want to lose, but through all of these health changes, I have finally gotten a much healthier relationship with food itself where I don’t feel guilty about eating sweet things or having unhealthy days because I know the rest of my lifestyle is healthy enough and I’m happy.
So, lifestyle changes are certainly not easy, and I applaud everyone who chooses to embark on them. It may sound like they are insurmountable sometimes, but with a few tips, they can become a lot easier.
Create small milestones and goals
I don’t know how people can make such massive changes or aspire for big goals without breaking them down into mini-milestones or smaller goals. When making a lifestyle change, decide what your end goal is, and then figure out where all the logical little breaks or milestones in the process are. For instance, if you want to lose 10kg, every 2.5kg could be a milestone. Or, for me, I wanted to increase my exercise, so I did a 21-day running challenge. On the last day, I would buy myself a pizza and Cadbury raisin tumbles. Having these milestones and goals makes it easier to achieve your lifestyle change because it helps keep you on track, makes it easier to handle and achieve, and makes you feel like you are accomplishing things even when you haven’t hit your main goal.
Have reminders of why you’re doing this
Sometimes when the going gets tough, it’s hard to remember why you decided to make these changes in the first place. Especially if temptation keeps getting put in your way when you’re already on a challenging journey. For instance, weight loss is hard, and it takes a lot of dedicated work to keep at it and get where you want, but sometimes if you see or smell something delicious, you may be tempted to cave and believe me, I know how hard it can be to resist those. So, always have a way to remember why you’re doing this. For me, I write little notes on my mirror, I have a book with motivational quotes, and I gave my boyfriend a little card to show me if I ever feel like I can’t do it when I’m with him. That way, even when it’s tempting to give up, you remember why you wanted to start this journey in the first place and having those reminders can help you feel strong enough not to give in and keep going.
Gather and inform your support group
As with most significant things, it’s always a lot harder to do them or do them well when you’re doing it by yourself. Of course, only you can make those changes, and only you can implement them, but having a support group to help you along the way is always helpful. Be sure to have a support network in place and tell them what you’re going to be doing so they can be aware of it. For instance, when I told my dad, we made a plan to change up our dinners to make it easier for me to calorie count. Letting the people who would support you know that you’re going to be making this big change and what they can do to help you will make your journey so much easier. Not only will you have people to help you through it and celebrate the achievements with, but you’ll also have people there who can make things easier for you when it’s tough or help get you through it when you are losing motivation.
Any type of lifestyle change is significant, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a scary, unapproachable thing, so long as you come at it with the right attitude and with some support in place. I am much happier now than I was three years ago because my lifestyle changes have made me feel healthier and happier and because of how much love and support I got from my friends, family and boyfriend. For anyone out there that is starting a lifestyle change or is going through one – don’t give up!! You can do this and no matter how hard it gets, just remember that there is always someone to help you and never forget why you started in the first place!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx