How to Successfully Adopt a Lifestyle Change

Not a diet. Diet implies temporary, and what we need to do is form a set of new, sustainable habits for the rest of our life.

A lot of you probably have a daydream of taking a black, billowy trash bag and planning a SWAT-style assault on your fridge and cupboards and then setting fire to the dumpster you hurl it into. Naturally, you’ll dash over to the grocery store and purchase a ton of strange-looking foods you don’t regularly eat, or never eat! Then you’ll slap on a pair of shiny new shoes and go run a 5K. This works for–some people. Honestly, few people.

The reality for many people; however, is they get off their foray after a few weeks. Why is that?

Think about it. How long did it take you to really get into the groove of your current habits? Months? Years? If you’re trying to simultaneously kiss soda and chip’s ass good-bye, change every bite of food you eat, and start a fitness routine. Guess what? Stress, stress, stress! Your stomach was used to those portion sizes (whether too large or too small) and some of your favorite snacks, your brain is literally addicted to it. A lot of people will reach nuclear meltdown levels trying to transition to a healthy lifestyle this way.

Just like it took you time to form your current habits, it’s going to take some time to form your new habits. I truly do empathize with the feelings of wanting everything to be different right now, but realistically we can only handle a certain amount of stressors and change at one time.

Start With Nutrition Habits: While I really would recommend finding a few cheeky ways to get more active, you’ve probably heard some variant of “can’t outrun your fork,” or “it’s 80% nutrition.” Well, it really is true. Being more active is absolutely crucial to improving overall health in the “endgame,”  but we’re still playing the “tutorial” and the dietary aspects of our lifestyle change are the bulk of the impact. It goes beyond that, though. I’ve written more about it here, but being a beginner can be genuinely hard at times!  It takes a lot of time and effort to get oneself to a point where they can physically and mentally handle what entails “regular, moderate exercise.” One part of making that transition easier will be better nutrition and hydration.

Start With an Easy Target: I always tell people if they drink a lot of soda, juice, or sweetened tea/coffee to start here. Sugar provides us pretty much no nutrition and removing the pulp from fruit makes juice not that great for us, either. Drinking more water is not negotiable and replacing these beverages with water will do a surprising amount of good for how you feel–all by itself. I recognize how hard this one can be to kick, but sweetened beverages really do load many people’s lifestyles with a lot of bad juju.

If you don’t have a beverage problem, maybe you do have a condiment/dressing problem and can reduce the quantities and find alternatives. Maybe you party-hardy a little too much and need to cut down on alcohol. While I said “easy target,” no one said it would be that easy, but you probably have an idea where most of these so called “empty” nutrients are coming from.

Transition Bad Habits a Few at a Time: The opening of this probably already made it clear, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. You probably have an idea of what some of your most problematic habits are, so choose one; maybe two, and see how you adjust over a week or two before considering the next step.

Small Swaps: Start switching out various items in your pantries, fridges, and lunchboxes with simple alternatives. Change white breads, rices, and pastas to brown. Take the bag of chips from your lunch and turn it into a few servings of seasonal fruit and vegetables. Pick out a leaner cut of meat and use a little less dairy, if you eat them. Little changes can have massive results.

Learn Moderation: Remember that whole sustainable part at the very beginning? Our lifestyles do need to reflect our real lives. Well, my real life has a love of chocolates, pastries, and candies. So, it’s not realistic for me to say “no chocolate, pastries, or candies.” Food molarity can be a pretty toxic outlook on eating and life in general. Instead of labeling foods as “bad,” just learn and respect the limits. There are times where you have to say, “enough, is enough,” but living in a constant state of “no” is not realistic or mentally healthy for most people. It’s OK to love indulgent food. Think about how long your life is going to be. So, now think about how dinky an occasional treat will be in retrospect.

Depending on Your Struggles, Consider Therapy: As we know, many aspects of unhealthy eating habits are actually unhealthy mental habits. Depending on the severity and exact nature of those problems, never be embarrassed to seek professional help. I struggled with stress eating and even binge eating for most of my adolescence, and finally getting help for my anxiety disorder played a pretty crucial role in improving both my physical and mental health. If it’s not a possibility at this time, consider journaling.

Walk Before Your Run: Literally and figuratively. I’m going to recommend this previous post I recently wrote again, but when you’ve gotten a few habits cracked and feel like you’re ready to start amping up your activity, start with low impact and low equipment exercises. If it has been years, or if you’ve never exercised, it takes some easing into it. I recommend walking to all beginners because we already know how to do it, have what we need to do it, and probably won’t hurt ourselves.

So, there you have it. Tackle small challenges and get your body acclimated to them before you consider some of the overarching and holistic goals you have for your lifestyle. That said, we’re all different. If you still want to try and do that 180-flip, I can’t stop you and some people are successful that way. No two people or personality types have the exact same problems or strategy for overcoming them. However, if you’ve gotten frustrated and thrown in the towel a time or two, consider the scope of change and how to realistically implement it over a period of time.  We didn’t form our old habits overnight.

I sort of had a super amazing day!  Even though I already got my butt on the move today, it was so nice and sunny outside that I just had to walk through Metro Park. Very spring-like today, though a little windy. Such is life in Michigan. I think I used my legs enough today, so I’ll probably move cardio to Thursday and do my ab workout tomorrow to give them a break. I feel so on top of things this week.


These two pictures were taken just a little over a year apart. After looking at these you might think that a change like that would have made me super happy and satisfied with myself. But the night I took the second picture, I was not very happy at all. See, for that year my only goal was to loose the weight for other people. I never focused on what I wanted. I focused on how certain people would feel about me. Therefore the year was a complete rollercoaster. Back and forth, and that picture was taken at my lowest point weight wise, and self esteem wise. I was not accepting myself for the right reasons. I was looking at myself as only this lump thinking people actually cared about that.

Even though I had lost the weight I wanted, I was not satisfied with myself because I was always my biggest critic. I always wanted to be more fit. Until I realized that no one but me really cared that much about the way I looked. I started looking past my body and past my self esteem issues and started looking deeper.

The second picture is still me today. I am working now to maintain a good weight. But doing it the healthy way. I find my worth not in my outer appearance, But in ways I can be an encouragement to others, or some sort of motivation. Not a weight loss motivator. But a motivator to become the best person you can be in every way.

Workout Log 3-24-17

So, I worked out at home this morning. I woke up in the middle of the night and don’t remember much aside from having migraine pain and scrambling for anti-nausea. Then, I sort of just passed back out and woke up pretty OK-ish. OK. We can come back from this. 

Naturally, I’m a little run down, but I saved abs for today which luckily is pretty easy for me to do at home and not a huge production like an upper body or leg workout. 

Running in place and jump roping (warm up)
Core Stabilizers w/ dumbbell: 15 lbs 3 x 12
Standing Side Bend w/ dumbbells: 15 lbs 3 x 12
Plank: 60s x 2
Side Plank: 30s each side x 2
Russian Twist w/ 5 lb medicine ball: 45 s x 3
Leg Lifts: 3 x 12
Heel Touches: 60s x 3
Bicycle Kicks: 45s x 3
Knee Tuck Crunches: 45 s x 3  

I just let whatever play on my Google music, so my picks aren’t the most work-out-y of workout music, but hey, maybe I should share some of my favorite ballads anyway!?

Playlist Picks: Guns N’ Roses “Patience, and fun fact; I can whistle! Also, Within Temptation’s acoustic version of “Ice Queen.I am so obsessed with her vocal range. It is mind boggling. Here’s a live version of the original arrangement. She’s amazing. Like, I can’t even.

You seriously need to hear both versions of that Within Temptation song for the full effect.

Just a little, gentle reminder that the Internet; including Tumblr, is completely chock full of misleading, incredibly wrong, and even dangerous “information” about health and fitness. If it sounds completely alarmist or too good to be true, at the very least you should become skeptical. I’d really hate to hear about anyone beginning to struggle with their progress or even developing dangerous habits due to some of these silly infographics and materials out there. OK. Off my soapbox again!

Happy Monday!

March 27th, 2017

This time, I probably will be pretty in-and-out. I still have a migraine from yesterday morning, and it was worse throughout the night and pretty intense this morning. It’s seemed to back off with food and medicine for the time being. Sometimes, I do just get like this. I’ll have months where they’re not very intrusive, and then months where they seem to dominate my life.


Gym: Name of the game this week is probably just going to be getting up. We usually go T, W, Th. So, at least today was a planned rest day. The intensity of workouts obviously depends on how fatigued I am later on this week. I think the weather is supposed to get better, so perhaps I will as well. The air pressure is already starting to go back up so that’s a good sign.

Finish Push Up Challenge: Guys. We’re there. Just a few more days! My headaches have been clearing up in the evening, so as long as that’s the case again today I’ll be able to do mine today and finish the challenge.

Bits and Bobs

Well, I usually write a lot here, but I really am just minced meat. Soon as I hit “post” on this I’m going to go dump myself in the shower. 

I guess this could be interesting. My migraine journal entry?

Things That Make Me Smile

So, I renamed “100 push ups” to 100 because after this month I want to see how long I can do a streak of doing 100 of whatever I feel like. 😆

Well, I know that was a bit low energy but I really wanted to just do something today, lol.