The first step to making a change in your health is to decide to do it. Positive and committed thoughts are truly empowering. Negative thoughts can interfere with weight loss efforts and lead to behaviors that are self-defeating, such as skipping meals, eating the wrong foods or not exercising.
According to research conducted at California Institute of Technology, just thinking about healthiness encouraged study participants to choose healthy foods over unhealthy foods, no matter whether they thought they were tasty or not. In fact, those that were thinking healthy thoughts were more likely to eat healthy not-so-tasty food over tasty unhealthy food.
When study participants were asked to think about healthiness they were inclined to say no to unhealthy food choices compared to when they were asked to make choices without thinking about health. This study confirms that mind power is very strong and that we should always be thinking about health in order to make the best food choices.
Going Cold Turkey
While some people have great success with quitting all of their bad habits overnight and waking up to a whole new lifestyle, this kind of plan can, and often does, backfire. How many times has your New Year’s resolution actually turned into your 101 New Year’s resolutions?
If you were to stop and think right now, you may find many ways that you can improve your health, and feel overwhelmed to take care of them all at once. Stop eating this, start eating this, stop doing that and start doing this. With so many stops, starts and turns, you are sure to get dizzy before you begin.
Here are a few reasons why the one-shot approach to getting healthy may not be the best choice:
- You may get frustrated easily with so much to do and set yourself up for failure.
- You may feel deprived and become angry.
- You may be inclined to deprive yourself of calories needed for energy.
- You may beat yourself up if you fail at one thing.
- You may experience withdrawal symptoms.
- You may set unrealistic goals.
- You may experience a physical injury if you try to exercise too much too soon.
- You may give up because it is all too hard.
About Baby Steps
Just as a baby crawls before it walks and walks slowly before it really takes off, it is important to understand the benefit to taking your health one step at a time. Baby steps with health are still steps forward, and every step you make should be with health in mind. There are many benefits to taking small steps towards a healthier lifestyle:
- Slow and gradual changes allow time for good habits to settle in.
- You can measure and celebrate your success along the way – this keeps you motivated.
- You give your body time to respond; you will see what a difference making a few small changes can make in how you look and feel.
- It gives you time to learn about why certain changes are necessary and how they will impact your health – you can make time to acquire knowledge.
- Gives the body time to self heal and readjust.
- Gradual weight loss is healthier than rapid weight loss.
When it comes to slow and steady versus cold turkey, we definitely support slow and steady approach. Maybe you have been eyeballing that little red dress in the shop down the road and feel motivated to drop a few dress sizes this month for your old college reunion. Don’t let your hastiness to undo what has taken years to do get in the way of what is best for your long term weight management and overall health. If you stay focused and committed, you will get there, one step at a time.
-The Alternative Daily