While the holiday season gives us many reasons to celebrate with family and friends it can also bring its own challenges to our goals for physical and emotional health. We reached out to Brandon Calloway of Profile by Sanford to give us his insight on how to promote sustainable health and fitness choices now and into the future.
My first tip for people just starting out is to ask themselves "why do I want to do this" and "what will happen if I don't succeed". People often start diets and exercise routines just to do it, without any real intrinsic motivation that we have recognized. The first step must be taking the time to make it personal and truly figure out our "why". Then comes the first steps in the mechanical work of not drinking your calories and starting to track your food, which are very important first steps.
Becoming motivated goes back to asking those questions of "why do I want to do this" and "what will happen if I don't succeed". Staying motivated can be tricky because a lot of people are motivated by success and we often see weight loss as the only measure of success. That is helpful in the beginning sometimes when we are seeing weight coming off, but when we see a week or two where weight loss slows down or doesn't happen at all, that can be the beginning of the end. However, if we are also looking at changes in behavior as a measure of success then we are more likely to stay motivated by our positive behavior, even in the moments that we do not get the results we expect. At Profile, we celebrate behavior change as much as weight loss because we believe it is key to sustainability. Other ways to stay motivated are to look at changes in inches or improvement in physical performance.
One of the biggest misconceptions is the idea that we have to be perfect all the time. At Profile we prioritize helping members to create healthy lifestyle habits in all areas of challenge including social events and holidays. By focusing on behavior and habit change in these situations our members ditch the diet and restriction mentality and put to practice their new behaviors in real life situations. It is common for people to take the all or nothing approach and then become completely derailed when we eat something that is outside of our guidelines. That type of pressure of perfection is unrealistic and is an unfair burden to place on our self. That doesn't mean that always stepping outside of our nutritional plan is OK or justified, but if it happens it's important to roll with it and continue to make healthy choices for the rest of the day instead of letting it snowball into a full day or week of being outside of our guidelines.
Preparation is key and that means something different to each individual. That is why we work with Profile members to help them define what preparation needs to look like for them. Today’s busy world requires convenience and simplicity and for most, that means on-the-go eating. It is important to keep things realistic, if simplicity and convenience are mandatory then adjustments should give respect to that. We work on dining out skills and we keep it simple and effective in the first phases of one’s journey, giving respect to the unchangeable societal demands and respect to the fact that gradual lifestyle changes lead to sustainability. Preparation helps to reduce impulsive decision making when it comes to choices that impact our health.
It's OK to not have all the answers at the beginning of the process, to feel like we don't know what we're doing, and to fail from time to time. Doubt is normal, but whatever you are doing, trust the process, be patient, and stick with it. Remember that the goal is to learn from the process and to integrate new principles into our daily life so that you reach your goal, but more importantly maintain it as well. Blindly following a meal plan or exercise routine to perfection can work for some people, but if we are not putting in the effort to learn from what we are doing then we run the risk of having to start the process over.
It is also important to do what works for you. If you want to focus on exercise first then build in healthy eating, that's fine. If you want to focus on healthy eating first then build in exercise, that's fine. If you want to do them both together that's fine, too.
Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help. Whether you ask for help from KOMA, Profile, or another source, finding a certified professional to give you proper guidance is key. Profile was developed by physicians and researchers to take the guesswork out of healthy lifestyle changes which is why our coaches provide nutrition, activity AND lifestyle coaching throughout a person’s journey to get healthy.
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