(This picture is totally unrelated, but I thought it was a nice visual:)
As I’ve said many times before: I don’t believe in diets or quick fixes when it comes to accomplishing your health goals. I believe in making healthy changes over time to start living a healthy lifestyle. As I’ve discovered over the last few months, working with my case study participants, these changes are different for everyone, but when you figure out what they are, and if you’re motivated to change you’ll accomplish your goals!
This is a health philosophy I strongly believe in, and I guess the CEO of Weight Watchers, David Kirchhoff feels the same way. I stumbled across an interesting article about him and his health journey in the Globe & Mail a couple months ago, and just thought I would highlight a few things from it that I find really inspiring.
“For Mr. Kirchhoff, the real change took place when he stopped looking at weight loss as a one-time goal and began viewing it as a shift toward a healthier lifestyle.”
Small changes over time
“I think one mistake people make is they try to change every single thing in their life at once and they try to do it very fast and that never works,” he said. The reason why so many people tend to fail when trying to lose weight is they expect a ‘miraculous and massive achievement’ to happen overnight. The truth is, success comes from slogging it out over years, not days or weeks.”
Turn healthy changes into healthy habits
“Eventually, healthy routines become automatic. Mr. Kirchhoff now exercises every day and eats a breakfast of plain oatmeal loaded with fruit every morning. Compare that to a few short years ago, when he rarely hit the gym and would regularly indulge in greasy meal.”
Healthy choices eventually become automatic
“My point is that these things aren’t conscious decisions that I’m making day in and day out,” he said. “They’ve really become sort of automatic. … Really, the only way to permanently deal with a weight issue is not to make it a test of willpower but rather to make it an automatic behaviour.”
Be aware: “old habits die hard”
I don’t have any experience working with real clients yet, but my case studies have been a great introduction, and I’m doing my best to put my health philosophy into practice when advising my participants.
Through that experience I’ve been able to see that small changes over time are easier to stick with rather than to change everything all at once. A word of caution – there’s definitely truth behind the saying “old habits die hard.” Be careful not to slip back into unhealthy habits because they’re easy or comfortable. Keep pushing yourself, and eventually what feels like a change will become an automatic healthy behavior! And eventually all your new healthy behaviors will equal a healthy lifestyle, which can result in: weight loss, healthy skin, hair & nails, healthy digestion, increased energy, preventing premature aging, a positive mood, healthy organs, clean blood, disease prevention, etc.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few healthy changes you can make today to start living a healthy lifestyle:
1. Eat more vegetables. Eat raw chopped vegetables (carrots, snap peas, cucumber, bell peppers) with lunch, and/or fill half your plate with salad or steamed vegetables at lunch & dinner.
2. Switch from white flour to whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, spelt flour or whole wheat pasta).
3. Choose lean protein: chicken, turkey & fish vs. beef, pork & lamb. And don’t be afraid to eat vegetarian a couple times per week! Sub in mushrooms or beans instead of meat in your favorite dish.