Top Five Tips to Get Healthy and Stay There

You’re ready to get healthy. Congratulations! If you’re like most people who’ve just made a fresh resolution to get fit, you’ve probably signed up for a gym membership, promised yourself that you’ll start powerlifting or pilates, and bought a juicer for that cleanse everyone’s talking about.

Well, I have bad news. With all of those radical changes, you are setting yourself up for failure.

When you impose a sudden set of strict rules on yourself, your brain automatically rebels. You’ll feel deprived, depressed, and you’ll crave those foods you “can’t eat.” When your brain chemistry is strongly telling you to “EAT PIZZA NOW!” very few of us can refuse. The secret to real success in your health goals is to take it slow.

More than 90 percent of dieters regain weight soon after they reach their goals, because while they were able to diet successfully, they didn’t commit to changing their lifestyles. Life changes take time. Changing your habits takes time.

Instead of charging into health head-on, start by making small changes to your habits. Commit to going for a 30-minute walk every day. Substitute a glass of sparkling lime water for soda. Your goal shouldn’t be “restriction” but “replacement.” Here are my Top Five Tips to Get Healthy and Stay There – the slow and steady way.

1. Don’t Restrict - Replace

This is as true for dieting as it is for breaking any bad habit. If your impulse is to eat a brownie sundae after dinner every night, ask yourself why you’re doing it. What are you getting out of it? Could you replace it with baked apple slices with cinnamon and a scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream?

2. See Yourself Healthy

Visualization is a powerful tool for making positive life changes, but you can’t just paste your face onto a swimsuit model’s body and tape it on your refrigerator. Great visualization relies on you envisioning how you’ll feel when you’re healthy. Connect with that, especially when you have cravings, and you’ll stand a good chance of success.

3. Talk Yourself Up

We all fail sometimes. Things come up, and maybe you can’t make your 30 minute walk, or perhaps a stressful life event has you calling Dominos Pizza (hey, it’s an emergency right?). When you slip, don’t give in to negative self-talk when you step on the scale the next morning. Instead, connect with God’s plan for you and say something positive about yourself. You have the power to speak the life you want into existence because you were made in God’s image.

4. Find Yourself In Good Company

Whether it’s joining a Church group or creating a community on MyFitnessPal, you’ll have a better shot at achieving a healthy lifestyle if you have the support of other people. Pair up with a friend and pursue your goals together. And if you reach for that cupcake when you feel stressed or sad, try picking up the phone and talking to your friend for a few minutes instead.

5. Get Healthy For a Purpose

Getting healthy, ultimately, is about helping others and having a purpose in your life. Time and time again I’ve seen  some succeed, and others fail, at their health goals and what the success stories have in common is that their reason for getting healthy was to serve someone else – their kids, their spouse, their community, and most importantly, to serve God. You may want to look great in a bikini, but that is not enough to motivate you to reach the finish line. Connect with your purpose and you will make it.