Lately, everybody seems to be talking about ‘it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle’. Today I want to look at this lifestyle change, why do we need it, what is it exactly and how do we achieve it?
So, a lot of people want to lose weight and get fit. What do we do, we choose a diet, we try to exercise more. We tend to see it as temporary, because we want to look fit for summer or look slim in our wedding dresses. But what we seem to miss, is that if you look at it as a temporary thing, you’ll risk sliding back to your old patterns and gain weight/get unfit again. Most of us seem to get this, so that’s why the ‘it’s a lifestyle’ phrase is becoming very popular. But what is it exactly? Because I see many people starting a diet and exercise routine and call it a lifestyle, but still talk about cheat weeks, planning to lose weight for their holidays (and gain everything back during their holiday), taking their car everywhere, talking about how to beat the scale by drinking only liquids on your weight in day, and watching Netflix all week (nothing against Netflix here… lol).
So what is changing your lifestyle exactly? For me, it starts with 1 thought: I have to control what I eat and exercise regularly for the rest of my life. This thought has led me to where I am today. A second thought also really helped me: life is a continuum of doing healthy and unhealthy things; the balance between them is what I try to reach. There is no ‘cheat day/week’, or this week I’m on holiday so I don’t have to care about my food/exercise. Or even more popular: I already screwed up this week, so I’ll have some more food this week and start again on Monday. We all like to see everything in a timely aspect, but let me tell you, the body doesn’t have a clock or a calendar. Time is handy in our world now, but too much stressed about. I’m going to translate a Dutch poem I once read: Time is invented by man, to count it and watch it go by. Only to not have to think about the fact, that it is us that go by! My message: see everything in a bigger perspective. Dividing your diet (ok, healthy lifestyle) into weeks and days and classify them as healthy or unhealthy is really a waste and unnecessary. Only drinking liquids so you can see a loss on the scale this week really seems silly to me. That’s only fooling yourself! (I’ll talk about that damn scale another time)
So how should we do it? Well, I only know how I do it and it really works for me. I do weigh myself every week and count my foods with the WW app. But, I don’t care what the scale says weekly, the bigger picture is more important. A total weight loss of almost 80lbs is what gets me, feeling so fit and healthy, having a lot of energy, being able to do more, seeing myself getting slimmer, having to buy new clothes because everything is too big, those are the things that matter. When I crave very salty soup on Sunday evening, I’ll still have it, even though I’ll see a massive gain on Monday due to the salt and water retaining. I don’t care, it doesn’t mean I’m less healthy or more fat! It’s the longterm habits and control over what you put in your mouth that determine how your continuum is going to look like.
This part was about the way we think, now let’s talk actions. Because really, achieving and maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle is more about that action! It’s about taking your bike to the gym instead of your car. It’s about helping your neighborhood’s barbeque and making sure there are healthy options to eat. And while you are helping them, you’re also arranging some sportive activities for the children. It’s about enjoying some unhealthy food and not feeling guilty about it or calling it ‘cheating’. It’s taking your kids out to the park or to play sports in the weekend. It’s about thoroughly enjoying your holiday and not gain weight because you found out you that it’s more about being together, seeing a lot of beautiful stuff and enjoying the surroundings. It’s about putting healthy food in your fridge all the time. It’s about educating your family and friends about the way you want to live your life and cut those out that can’t accept that. It’s about planning and prepping for those difficult days. It’s about fighting for what’s right for you, and by doing that, influencing everybody around you!
So how do you create a healthy lifestyle for yourself?