How many times have you made an excuse about your health? "I had a rough day, so I deserve this cookie." "It's just too cold to go to the gym, so I will just stay home." "I ate good all day, so I can splurge at dinner." "I am just too old to lose weight." I am sure you can think of a thousand more excuses you have used or overheard. One of the things I often tell my clients is that, "It doesn't matter why you didn't do it, but that it simply didn't happen." There is always going to be a reason (barrier) why something didn't happen and an excuse that follows. Why you didn't eat more vegetables, why you ate the extra piece of cake, why you didn't exercise, etc. The ultimate key to YOUR success is finding out what your barriers are and how you can overcome them.
So how exactly do you overcome your barriers? First thing is to figure out WHY it happened. Let's say you didn't eat any vegetables today. Why is that? Do you need to plan more? Do you need to actually buy them? Do you need a new recipe so they are more enticing? Do you need to put them at eye level in the fridge so you remember them? What about if you tend to be a stress or emotional eater? Stress and emotions are something that are always going to be apart of your life, so figuring out how to handle them is key. Can you try writing in a journal instead of eating? Can you go for a walk to decrease stress? Can you call a friend to work through your issues? If time is a barrier (often the biggest one), I challenge you to think of how you can make time for yourself and your health. Can you get up earlier to eat breakfast? Can you cut some TV time to meal prep? Making the time now to support your health will decrease your chances of having to make that time later when it is even harder to change. By making time later, I mean for doctor's appointments, medication pick-up, tests, blood-work, etc.
To be honest, there is nothing wrong with a small reward when you have accomplished your goals. What you don't want is for that reward to be is food (constantly). I am not against a sweet treat here or there; however, daily or weekly is hardly a "treat" and more of a habit. If you still want to have some sort of "reward" try to brainstorm things that don't involve food like buying a new book or having a spa day.
One final comment I have about breaking through your barriers is to not stand in your own way by making excuses and comparing yourself to everyone else. "I will never look as good as (insert name here), so why even try." Comparison just puts more pressure on yourself and gives a sense of complacency. Changing your unhealthy habits is definitely hard; however, when you are faced with decisions about your health, ask yourself, "Will I do something about it to help support my goals or will I do nothing at all?" YOU can choose to change your health. YOU can choose to do what is hard. YOU can choose to live healthier.
How have you decided to break through your barriers to living a healthy lifestyle? What will you start doing today that will support your long-term goals? Leave a comment and let me know!