4 Obstacles Standing Between You And A Healthy Lifestyle
You get really motivated to be healthier: You eat fewer calories and more fruits and vegetables, you try to work out more, you buy organic food.
Yet, you continually lose motivation and fall off the wagon.
Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately it is so common, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.
The truth is, it's hard to change habits and live a healthier life.
I experienced a similar pattern. It started early on. I remember being in middle school and wanting to lose weight. I knew vegetables and exercise were healthy.
I cut my calories down to an unsustainable amount, eating mostly veggies, and started to work out harder than I should have.
I basically took the DJ Tanner approach from "Full House." I saw virtually no results and felt awful so it lasted all of a week or two before I gave up and went back to my normal life.
I felt like a failure and decided maybe I wasn't meant to be thin.
I just sort of lived with that through the years after each failed healthy eating attempt. I tried healthy weight loss multiple times with no long term success.
But my final attempt -- final because I've been maintaining it for years -- was different than any of those previous, and I figured out why.
These are the four main obstacles I experienced in my years of trying to get healthy and ways to push through them to achieve success.
1. No Time
Free time is precious and limited.
We're so busy with obligations, work, maintaining a social life and needing time to unwind, it's hard to fit in the task of making your life healthier.
The truth is, though, you have time for what you make a priority.
One reason healthy living isn't so much of a priority is our own negative experiences with it -- either we don't want to eat healthy food, we're scared of failing again or we don't know which advice to follow.
These are all valid reasons not to commit fully. Although healthy habits shouldn't compete with your life, they should blend into it.
You do have to make some time for it, but it doesn't have to be as miserable as it's made out to be to get results.
Start small by adding in or replacing an unhealthy habit with one new healthy habit.
It can be having an extra serving of vegetables a day or swapping your breakfast sandwich for a green smoothie a couple days a week.
Once you find you can stick to a new healthy habit, you'll want to try more.
2. Confusion And Information Overload
There is no arguing with the fact there is an abundance of conflicting health and weight loss advice out there. It can be nearly impossible to know what's right.
I had this thought when I attempted healthy living changes.
I felt like no matter what change I made, it was either wrong or I wasn't doing enough, which led to me getting completely overwhelmed and giving up.
Rather than letting this prevent you from moving forward with making healthy changes, embrace it.
There is so much overlapping information out there about what is generally healthy -- like eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing simple carbs, exercising more and eliminating stress.
These are great places to start.
There are so many varying opinions on the best diet because there isn't one that's perfect for everyone.
Everyone is different, so it's best to find a plan that acknowledges that and can help you find the best approach for you.
3. Feeling Deprived
Many diet programs make healthy living and weight loss dependent on restrictions.
They hinge on eliminating certain foods, drastically cutting calories or making you abstain from indulging until your one weekly cheat day.
It may work, but generally, it's a setup for failure and makes your life revolve around food.
Most of us who want to live healthier lifestyles want to develop a healthier relationship with food.
These diets often do the opposite. If you can't follow the plan, you feel guilt and failure, which are more negative emotions related to eating.
A goal with forming healthier eating habits is to liberate yourself from food obsessions.
Don't be so hard on yourself; you can still eat healthily and allow some guiltless and portioned indulgences.
Be flexible and tweak things as you go to find your own personal balance.
4. Striving For Perfection
It's common to have an all-or-nothing approach with health and weight loss.
When you can't completely stick with a plan or you fall off the wagon for a couple weeks, it's easy to fall back on old habits.
Your mindset is just as important as any healthy changes you make.
Be comfortable with the idea there will be weeks you don't eat perfectly clean, you'll miss some sessions at the gym because you'd rather watch Netflix and that despite this, you'll still feel happier and healthier than before.
Giving yourself brief breaks to recharge will help you get excited and maintain motivation in continuing with your healthy habits.
Give yourself a pat on the back for trying to live a healthier lifestyle, even if you haven't been successful long term.
The first step is believing you can make the changes to live life on your terms and reveal a healthier and happier you.
Check out this guide to learn healthy eating basics and tips to help you stick with it. You're one day closer to living a more fulfilling life as the best version of you.