Tips to main­tain­ing health changes

Lesotho Times - - Health -

ANY­ONE who has taken it upon them­selves to tran­si­tion to a health­ier life­style has likely en­coun­tered some form of iso­la­tion. Whether it is be­ing un­able to en­joy meals out with friends like you used to, mak­ing time sac­ri­fices to hit the gym or hav­ing to undo hard­wired eat­ing habits from grow­ing up — and con­se­quently get guilt-tripped about it — it can be tough when you lack the right sup­port. Next thing you know, you’re go­ing down a spi­ral of wrong de­ci­sions tak­ing you back to where you started.

How do you find the right bal­ance? Sarah Jenks, a holis­tic nu­tri­tion coach and founder of Live More Weigh Less, shared tips on keep­ing up your new healthy habits and avoid­ing com­mon traps.

Un­der­stand why you want to change Be­fore you make any life­style switch, Jenks says it is cru­cial to un­der­stand the root causes of it. “I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to un­der­stand why you’re do­ing some­thing but more im­por­tantly, why you’ve been do­ing it dif­fer­ently your whole life,” she says. “I work with peo­ple to fig­ure out why they’re eat­ing a cer­tain way in the first place. Are you bored out of your mind? Are you su­per stressed out? I think it’s im­por­tant to do emo­tional de­tec­tive work.”

Stop be­ing de­fen­sive If you find your­self con­stantly try­ing to ex­plain your new life­style to oth­ers, take a step back and un­der­stand where the other half is com­ing from.

“See­ing some­one else change trig­gers our own in­se­cu­ri­ties,” notes Jenks. “Here’s some­one tak­ing charge of her life and it makes us un­com­fort­able so we want them to stay the same as us so we don’t feel un­com­fort­able any­more.” In­stead of go­ing on a sh­piel about why you are chang­ing the way you eat, Jenks sug­gests you sim­ply fall back on re­sponses such as, “I’m just not in the mood for [dessert, or what­ever food] right now,” ”I’m ac­tu­ally feel­ing re­ally full but don’t hold back be­cause of me,” or “I re­al­ize I feel so much bet­ter when I don’t eat X.” “I think it’s im­por­tant to stay up­beat, open and put the per­son with you at ease,” she ex­plains.

It can be tempt­ing to want com­pany as you try out a new diet, but re­frain from try­ing to con­vert all your friends. “I think try­ing to change every­body else is re­ally de­struc­tive be­cause there’s not one right way of eat­ing,” says Jenks. Let ev­ery­one else do what is right for them.

Plan ahead and com­mu­ni­cate You don’t want to be the friend at the restau­rant who snacks on a Zi­ploc bag of car­rot sticks be­cause you can’t eat any­thing on the menu. “It’s im­por­tant to rec­og­nize that you might be mak­ing other peo­ple un­com­fort­able,” says Jenks. “It changes the dy­namic of the evening.” Be the one who chooses the food venue so you know you will have op­tions. If you’re vis­it­ing some­one’s home, ask them in ad­vance what they’re serv­ing just in case, so you can also con­trib­ute a dish if need be.

Be aware of your mood No mat­ter what rou­tine or diet you’re tak­ing up, it’s more im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion to your men­tal well­be­ing over the scale num­ber or waist inches. “I see peo­ple get re­ally uptight. Some­one is in this phase of re­stric­tion to lose weight — which I don’t be­lieve in — she be­comes un-fun and now your com­pany wants to shake you a bit,” says Jenks. “Be re­ally con­scious.” The more aware you are of how your life­style af­fects your men­tal health, the more you can tell if it is right for you or not. “If you re­ally love cook­ies and a life­time with­out them is the worst thing in the world, why put your body through that stress? Stress is ac­tu­ally worse than hav­ing a cookie once a week.”

Fol­low the 80:20 rule “What I be­lieve in is eat­ing healthy food 80 per­cent of the time and 20 per­cent of the time I eat food that might not be so healthy for me,” ad­mits Jenks. It takes the pres­sure of per­fec­tion off your shoul­ders. What tends to hap­pen when you’re fol­low­ing a new reg­i­men is if you break it, you tell your­self you’ve messed up and start bing­ing on what you tried to give up. “I re­ally be­lieve there can be some give and take and you don’t need to be 100 per­cent all the time,” she adds. An­other tip is if you choose to in­dulge for that 20 per­cent, go for higher qual­ity. Jenks ex­plains she’d pass on Oreos, but would rather walk to the near­est lo­cal bak­ery for a freshly made choco­late chip cookie.

Find like­minded peo­ple Whether it is Face­book, fo­rums, meet ups, a spir­i­tual group or a pro­gram like Jenks’ Live More Weigh Less, a sup­port­ive group will help keep you on track and take the re­spon­si­bil­ity off your com­mu­ni­ties.

“I find that it’s much eas­ier to be with friends I’ve al­ways had when I have a com­mu­nity who gets where I am at right now,” says Jenks. “Our friends can’t al­ways catch up and grow at the same rate as us — and they don’t have to.”

— Stylebistro.

No mat­ter what rou­tine or diet you’re tak­ing up, it’s more im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion to your men­tal well­be­ing over the scale num­ber or waist inches.

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