Eight Tips for Making a Healthy Lifestyle Change
If you have struggled with making a healthy lifestyle change, this post is for you. I am sharing my personal experience and eight tips for moving toward healthy living.
Before I share this post, I want to preface it that I am not a medical or health professional. I am sharing my own experience. You should always consult your doctor before beginning any program.
On December 7, 2020, I decided to change my life. After almost a year of Covid, I was at my highest weight and feeling very frustrated with myself. My joints hurt and I lacked energy and motivation. I went to the doctor about my joint pain and found that I had a significant amount of inflammation. I needed a change.
I am being very vulnerable by sharing this picture.
I wanted to feel better and was ready to make a healthy lifestyle change. I immediately made some significant changes and joined Noom. With my husband and the help of Noom, I lost more than 50 pounds over 9 months. I felt AMAZING! All of my aches and pains had cleared up and my bloodwork was perfect.
Over the last year, I have “fallen off the wagon” and 20 pounds have crept back on. I miss how good I felt and am determined to get back to where I was. I know that I am capable of making the necessary changes and to move back toward healthy living.
I reflected on what I had done and am sharing these eight tips with you. I am hoping that sharing will keep me accountable and also inspire you to join me in making a healthy lifestyle change too!
Eight Tips for Making a Healthy Lifestyle Change
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
Start off by setting small, realistic goals that are achievable. Then, as you reach your first goal, reward yourself and set the next goal. By making small goals that are achievable, you will be able to build on your success and stay motivated.
As you track your progress, celebrate your successes with non-food rewards. Maybe get a manicure, buy yourself a magazine, or a new pair of earrings.
Track Your Eating
I use the Noom app. Along with a daily lesson, Noom helps me track my meals, my weight, water intake, and exercise. Noom categorizes foods into three categories…green, yellow, and orange. These categories are based on the foods’ caloric density. When I track my eating and eat intentionally, I notice a significant difference in the food choices I make. Meal tracking provides structure that helps me to be successful.
By tracking what I was eating, I was also able to identify times of the day when I was mindlessly eating and not really enjoying my food.
You don’t necessarily need to use Noom or an app. Just writing down what you eat helps you to become aware of what you are actually eating.
Be Mindful of Your Portions
Do you find it difficult to gauge what a serving size is? It is can be challenging. What helps me is using measuring cups to actually measure out my servings. Putting my food on a smaller plate, so it still looks full, is also helpful.
I do have a few foods that I still want to enjoy, so I purchase them in prepackaged 100 calorie packs. This way I don’t feel deprived and the portion size is controlled.
Plan Meals Ahead
I like to feel planned and organized. Over the weekend, I try to plan out meals for the week and then shop to be sure I have all of the ingredients. I try to be mindful of our schedules and keep it realistic by planning simple meals.
It’s also important for me to keep healthy go-to options in the house as well. We’ve all had those days that we get home from work and just don’t want to cook. Having quick, easy, and healthy options helps me to resist the urge to order take out.
When you are shopping, stop buying junk. Instead, stock up on unprocessed/less processed foods. I like to have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. I try to wash and prepare them when I get home from the grocery store so they are easily accessible. Then, I will be more likely to reach for a healthy snack versus chips or crackers.
I didn’t realize how little water I was drinking when I began my health journey. Increasing my water intake has helped me to have more energy, feel fuller, and reduce my hunger.
I sometimes add lemon, lime, or an orange slice to my water to add a little more taste to it.
Whether it is just going for a walk or doing an exercise program, it is just important to move more. Try new things and find what you enjoy. Then add that movement to your existing daily routine, so it becomes part of it. Just remember to start slow and take your time. You want this to be a lifestyle change that you can sustain over time.
Connect with Others
Having a support system makes all of the difference for me. My husband and children are a huge support for me. I also am blessed with wonderful friends who are a source of support and encouragement.
Have an accountability partner…someone to check in with that will encourage you to continue on your healthy journey.
On the Noom app, there is a community of support and you can participate in it as much or as little as you would like. I don’t post often there, but I do read the conversations to get tips and offer encouragement.
Give Yourself Grace When Making a Healthy Lifestyle Change
Remember this a lifestyle change and it is going to take time. There is no rush. It will take time to develop new habits.
You don’t need to be perfect. It is ok to have a cheat meal and remember it is all about balance and moderation. As I am moving toward a healthier lifestyle, I am taking it day by day. And remember, if you “fall off the wagon”, you have the ability to get back on.
I hope you find this helpful and will join me in making a healthy lifestyle change too! At the end of the day, it’s all about decisions…decisions that are a lot easier said than done. It’s the decision to plan ahead. It’s the decision to have the banana instead of the donut. It’s the decision to get up early to get a workout in before work. But WE CAN DO IT!
Thanks for this, Lynne! We ALL fall off the wagon and grace is needed – with others and with ourselves! I too lost a large amount of weight over the last couple of years and found these same things to be critical for success…food tracking, intentional eating, portion control (I weighed everything on a kitchen scale and logged it in an app) and moving more – I walked at least a couple miles every single day. And then I reached my goal and beyond and started to let my guard down and life got busy and my weight is gradually creeping up and I noticed some of my ‘skinny’ clothes don’t fit and I don’t feel as good…more joint pain, less energy…so I am back at it in fits and starts. This is such a good reminder about what works and why it is important, so thank you!! And best wishes in your journey back too!
Thank you so much for your kind comment, Janet! I appreciate you sharing your journey with me. Congratulations on your weight loss and on reaching your goal. I completely agree that grace is needed and it is all about moving toward better health. Best wishes to you on your continued healthy journey. I am cheering you on!! xo
I absolutely LOVED this post and your honesty…I have been on my own journey toward a healthier life for the last 9 months and I have lost 45 pounds…I hope to lose 15 more pounds by June 1st which will be a year since I started…I do my own thing because the healthy food, like veggies and fruit, cause my IBS to kick in so I do calorie counting and Intermittant Fasting where I fast for 16 hours a day. I also started walking which I thought I would never do again because I had knee replacement surgery which prior to that, I was bone on bone and could not walk any distance whatsoever for almost 7 years…I feel so much better, have less chronic back pain and feel younger than I have in years even though I just turned 65 years old!! Love the tips you posted here as they are all good ones!! I wish you continued success on your Journey…And yes, we can do this!!!
Thank you so much for your kind comment and for sharing your health journey with me, Deb. Congratulations on your weight loss and improved health. Your story is so inspiring! You must feel so proud of yourself and so energized. Best wishes to you! Yes, we can do this! xo