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The Secret to Healthier Living

By Barb Brathwaite, RN MSN CS

Trying to stay on track after losing weight can be a stressful ordeal, a kind of balancing act with many moving parts—diet, exercise, motivation, education etc.—that often don’t seem to line up right. But what if you could smooth out the ups and downs you encounter in life? That’s exactly what making a plan can do for you.

You see, there is a secret to healthier living. It’s called planning ahead. Lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight. Remember, staying on the right path is like following a recipe and planning is the main ingredient. Planning ahead can increase your confidence as well as prove to be very motivating and energizing.

Make self-compassion a part of your overall plan. Accepting your faults may be the first step to better health because it can give you the motivation to change what you don’t like. Plan to start your day, every day, by looking at your face in the mirror and patting yourself on the back for a job well done or tell yourself how happy you are with something you accomplished. If you look hard enough, you can find positive things even in the most challenging situations. Eliminating your negative thoughts will cause you to look on the positive side of things.

Make small, achievable steps towards your goals. This will increase the likelihood that you will succeed. You can apply this strategy to many parts of your life, including your fitness routine and diet. For instance, you can begin a fitness routine that starts off easy, like walking to your mailbox every day for the first week.  Then increase this to halfway down the block each day.  Then walk to the end of the block and back on the following week.  Once you have this down, you can set up a new goal to walk further and faster. Reaching those small milestones will help you feel empowered which will encourage you to continue.

Plan for successful eating. Write out your meal plan with snacks for three days at a time. Make meals that are quick and simple to ensure success. Write a shopping list from the meal plan. This will help provide weapons against temptations.

If there’s one thing you’ll discover on your weight loss journey, it’s that determination and self-discipline alone may not get you to the finish line. The difference between success and failure is solid planning.