Are You Ready to Make a Healthy Lifestyle Change?

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When it comes to weight loss, the usual buzzwords you might hear often include the words 'lifestyle' and 'change' in, you need to make one to be successful at losing weight. It may seem like losing weight is a simple goal—do some exercise, go on a diet, and voila! But, if it were that simple, I'd be out of a job and you'd be too busy working out to read this.

While magazines and infomercials make it seem effortless, losing weight takes hard work and that often means changing different aspects of your life like, how you spend your time, how you schedule your day, and how/what you eat. If the way you live doesn't allow for these changes, how far will you get?

What's Your Lifestyle Like?

The reason lifestyle is so important is because how you live determines your choices and these choices decide how healthy you are and whether you're on the road to weight loss.

Where do you fall on the healthy lifestyle continuum?

The typical components of a healthy lifestyle include not smoking, eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping the body at a healthy weight.

How Much Time Do You Spend...

  • Sitting at a desk?
  • Sitting in a car?
  • Sitting in front of a TV?
  • Sitting in front of a computer?
  • Eating out at restaurants?
  • Drinking alcohol?
  • Eating fast food or junk foods?
  • Staying up late/not getting enough sleep?

How Much Time Do You Spend...

If you spend more time doing the things in the first list than the second, it's time to reevaluate your priorities and decide what you really want for yourself. Living healthy means spending time and energy on your body—moving it around and paying attention to what you put into it. Staying in an unhealthy lifestyle means you can avoid expending energy, time and effort...but at what cost?

Choosing Health

As humans, we like habits and routines, so much that we often keep doing the same things even when we know they aren't good for us.

Changing bad habits takes time and effort, but it can be worth it. Practicing healthy habits can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, live a more satisfying and active life, and reduce your risk for disease.

What You May Need to Change for a Healthy Lifestyle

  • What time you get up each morning
  • What time you go to bed each night
  • How you spend your free time
  • How you spend your money
  • How you shop, cook and eat
  • How much TV you watch
  • What you do with your family and friends

The rewards for making these changes are endless, but it's beginning that's so difficult. 

Where Do You Start?

Try keeping an activity journal and jot down how much time you spend sitting as opposed to moving around. Then see if you can reduce that number—take more walks, stand up and stretch, just move around more.

Next, take a look at your diet and just pick one thing you could do better. Maybe you could eat more fruits and vegetables, or maybe you eat out a little too often. Work on that one thing until you've made progress and then you can pick another thing.

Working on one change at a time is slow, yes, but when you change too much at once, you're much more likely to go back to old behaviors. Taking your time leads to lasting changes and, in the end, a healthier lifestyle.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."