Originally written for the Dominon Post published 29 December 2015 and www.stuff.co.nz published 8 January 2016
There’s so much we’re supposed to do to be ‘healthy’. Sometimes it can be confusing and giving up just seems to be the easiest option. From paleo through to vegan and intermittent fasting, high intensity interval training through to lengthy endurance sessions and everything in between, our choice when it comes to health is pretty much limitless.
Everyone has an idea about what’s ‘good for you’ and how to get fit, tone up and shed unwanted weight. If you’re not careful, you will be overwhelmed by conflicting information. In these times of social media no one is afraid to share their opinion and success stories. The pressure to do all the ‘right’ things can leave you exhausted and suffering from healthy living burnout.
So when it comes to navigating the health minefield, how do we decide if we should be liver detoxing or gulping down bulletproof coffee, crossfitting or pole dancing our way to good health?
The answer is, as any good answer always is, ‘it depends’. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve, your motivations, lifestyle and capabilities, and your constraints – financial, time, location, family – whatever they may be.
Here’s some considerations when you’re looking to improve your heath and you’re bewildered by the choices in front of you:
- What’s your goal, what’s your motivation?
Your goal and motivation must matter to you if you’re wanting to succeed. It’s great if you want to lose weight because you’re going to that wedding, but as a health coach I know says, no one ever got thrown out of a wedding for being too fat, so what’s the real goal and what’s the real reason?
If your motivation doesn’t resonate with you, sticking to your plan will be much harder, and losing your way will be much easier. Spend the time to articulate what it is you actually want and why you want it.
- Is the plan sustainable for your lifestyle?
Your plan should involve activities that you enjoy but they also need to slot easily into your day and week. If the fitness choice, eating plan or lifestyle change doesn’t allow for your job, family and other commitments, it’s not going to be a sustainable plan.
- What are your challenges?
It’s never smooth sailing, you’ll always hit roadblocks on the way, so anticipating them and having strategies to address them will keep you on track. Consider what has stopped you reaching your goals previously and how it can be different this time. What you can do to overcome your roadblocks in the future?
- Have fun
If you’ve chosen a form of fitness or lifestyle change that you simply don’t like it’s just a matter of time before you slip back into old habits. Avoid this by choosing activities to get to your goal that you also enjoy.
Making sustainable lifestyle changes over time to improve health will get you further than complete sudden overhauls and save you from healthy living fatigue.