I’m not in the business of making rules. I often find them far too restrictive for any real or lasting success, but when it comes to changing or creating habits, guidelines are absolutely necessary. Think about it: as a mom of two young children, I am constantly reminding my little ones to brush their teeth, put on shoes, flush and wash, and so on. I build guidelines and reinforce those guidelines until one day, those habits will be formed, and, without a second thought, will be executed. The guidelines and constant reminders will fall away, and they won’t feel as though brushing their teeth is an annoying rule enforced by a nagging mother. Reaching for intuitive health as an adult is the same way. Before it becomes part of your routine, part of your foundation, the new or improved life skills will require guidelines. Here are my top 6, must-do guidelines for changing your habits and creating a healthier lifestyle.
1. Eat every 3-4 hours! Your body functions best when it gets a steady and timely energy supply. No need to store excess fat if your body is “confident” that it won’t be starved into needing a back-up.2. Manage portions. Your stomach can only process around 800 calories at a time, so anything over that is immediately going to storage. Not to mention it stretches the stomach, spikes blood sugar (and therefore insulin response), and overall makes you lethargic. Keep each meal and snack within a safer zone of 300-500 cal and your body will be cruisin’ through the day at top metabolic speed.3. Plan ahead. Consider first that success and change occur only through discipline, then consider that the definition of discipline is “delayed gratification through training and modified behavior.” How can you delay gratification? By making a decision ahead of time, and then waiting for the result. When you make decisions ahead of time, you don’t leave the outcome to chance (or mood). It allows you to have more control and a more predictable outcome.4. Stay active. Formal exercise isn’t always an option, but calories in vs. calories out will always be the ultimate overseeing rule of weight loss/health. Your body uses a lot just to exist, and your daily activity requires a lot of output as well. Add to that a few intentional times that push your body to be better and stronger, and you’ll find yourself feeling unstoppable.5. Drink water. You can eat the healthiest food in the world, but it will never reach your cells without water. You can exercise to your heart’s content, but you’ll never sweat without water. You can have the most efficient and perfectly designed organs, but they’ll never filter a thing without water. It’s the transportation system for all that goes on within you. Don’t miss out by skipping (or skimping on) this crucial component.6. HAVE FUN!!! Remember, if your goal is to lose weight (or gain weight, or manage a condition, or improve in your sport…) to be happier, then being miserable while you’re trying to reach your goal is defeating the purpose entirely. So enjoy your life, enjoy this journey, and make wise choices that allow you to continue playing the game for as long as possible.
I also like to remind people who are struggling to sift through the plethora of information that’s thrown at them daily to seek guidance from someone they trust. It can be very hard to see the forest for the trees when we are taking on the world, so hire someone whose job it is to help you slow down, focus on one step at a time, and create personal guidelines that encourage positive, intuitive, and long-lasting change. You don’t have to do this alone.
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