Sometimes, just knowing you should be making healthy choices isn’t enough to keep you on the right track. The solution? Trick yourself into doing it. Here’s how:
1. Keep a piece of fruit on your desk.
Make it an extra-shiny apple, or a particularly perfect banana. Even if you don’t usually crave fruit when you’re hungry, when your stomach starts to grumble, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself reaching for that convenient apple instead of the candy bowl.
2. Squeeze mini workouts into your schedule.
No time to go for a run or hit the gym? No problem. Ten-minute intervals of exercise (walking, yoga, running stairs, etc.) whenever you can fit them in throughout the day will still improve your health. In fact, research has shown that four ten-minute exercise sessions is as good for your heart, blood pressure, and weight control as a similar 40-minute unbroken workout.
3. Cross train for quicker results.
If you have trouble sticking to an exercise routine when you don’t see instantaneous results, try mixing it up. All the cardio in the world won’t necessarily give you toned muscles. Add a few strength-training sessions a week to your workout routine for more inspiring mirror checks.
4. Don’t aim for perfection.
This goes for your fitness routine as well as your diet. If you beat yourself up about missing a workout or eating a few too many fries, there’s a better chance you’ll become discouraged and give up trying completely. Instead, accept the fact that you’re human and you can’t be perfect all the time. Use your setbacks as motivation to stick with your routine the next time.
5. Don’t deprive yourself completely.
Trying to cut down on carbs, but you can’t imagine lunch without a sandwich? Instead of boycotting bread cold turkey, try cutting down for a limited time instead. Have a sandwich two days a week instead of five, and see how you feel after a month. There’s a good chance you’ll stick with your new program for the long haul.
6. Get on the scale regularly.
There’s no arguing that gaining weight back after slimming down is discouraging. The solution? Weigh yourself more often. Researchers at the Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center in Providence, Rhode Island, found that people who weigh themselves daily are more than 80 percent more likely to keep weight off than those who don’t.
Too much stress can sap your energy, which can lead to overeating and skipping workouts. Make it a habit to focus on your breathing throughout the day and you’ll find yourself more relaxed and better able to handle stressful situations. Pause for a few mindful deep breaths every time you hang up the phone, for example, or send an email, or complete a task.