Every day, more and more Americans are finding that it’s more important than ever to change up their diet and exercise routine. With an increasing number of people being diagnosed with prediabetes due to their weight and diet choices, there’s no time like the present to change things for the better. If you’ve been thinking about making a positive change in your lifestyle, but are afraid you won’t be able to maintain it, keep in mind that there are some easy ways you can stay motivated; it just takes a bit of planning and a few tricks to keep yourself on the right track.
The first tip to follow is keep it simple. Overthinking things and putting pressure on yourself will likely only lead to failure or burnout, so take it easy and think about a plan of action before you make any decisions. That way, you’ll be prepared for any contingency.
Here are some of the best tips for creating a new exercise and diet routine and maintaining it.
Think about your goals
What are some of the most important things you want to achieve? Weight loss? Are you mostly interested in gaining strength or endurance, or do you want to make some positive changes in your health? Whatever your goals are, take some time to go over them and make an action plan that includes ways to achieve what you’re looking for. If you have a pre-existing health condition, you’ll need to talk to your doctor about the best ways to go about a change.
Get some help
No one wants to go through a major lifestyle change alone, so ask your friends and family for some help. It could be with encouragement, support, or you might ask them to join you in those changes. This is an especially good idea for family members who live with you, as you’ll be able to get them on the same page when it comes to eating healthier. Changing your diet is never easy, and it’s even harder when you have temptations in the pantry because your family isn’t following the same regimen.
Real change sometimes requires the need to get creative, so think about the easiest ways to make alterations to your diet and exercise routine that will allow you to stay on track. For instance, if you love pasta and bread and are afraid of backsliding, try whole wheat versions of your favorite things. They’re no more expensive than the kind that have refined sugars, and they’re a whole lot healthier.
Aside from looking at the labels when you shop, you can also change the way you cook. Using olive oil instead of vegetable, or baking chicken rather than frying it are two quick examples of small changes that can make a big difference.
Make real lifestyle changes
Part of staying on track with diet and exercise is incorporating them into your lifestyle so you begin to make healthier choices everyday without even thinking about them. According to Lorna Jane Clarkson, founder of activewear line Lorna Jane, it’s all about the way you think.
“It’s a whole mindset; your mind is so powerful. It’s not about calories and putting on weight; it’s about giving your body the energy it needs to do amazing things every single day,” Lorna says.
Create healthy habits
It’s important to create healthy habits in your everyday routine–such as drinking plenty of water or prepping meals ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to hit the drive-thru when life gets busy–that will be easy to stick to once they’re ingrained. Carry around a large, reusable plastic water bottle during the day so you can easily track how much you’re drinking and pre-make several lunches or meals on Sunday night for the week.
Surround yourself with happy
For most of us, the majority of our time is split between work and home. While your work environment may be harder to change, modifications to your home environment are much more feasible, and don’t need to cost a lot. By taking simple steps like: reducing clutter, increasing natural light by opening shades, using an oil diffuser and investing in houseplants, you’re well on your way to optimizing your home environment for healthier living.
Making healthier choices can be difficult to get used to at first, but once you get on the right path, you’ll likely find it’s easy to maintain. You just have to want a better, healthier life for yourself.