Top tips from your health coaches
As you know, making a long term lifestyle change doesn't happen overnight and often comes with many ups and downs.
The key is to persevere and learn from any previous downfalls until your healthier way of life becomes second nature. Working on improving your daily habits is a great way to make an impact in the long term.
You would've read a lot of different advice from these articles and from your health coaches, so to sum up the programme we've asked some of our health coaches to share what their top tips are to sustained healthy lifestyle changes.
Keep active every day with a form of exercise that you enjoy for at least 20-30 minutes. Whether it's a short walk, gardening, yoga, housework or swimming – it all counts! We know this contributes to not only our physical health but also our overall wellbeing too.
If you ever feel overwhelmed about achieving your healthy lifestyle, then take it back to basics. Set yourself three mini goals you would like to achieve over one week to regain control and motivation.
In the same way that you plan to exercise or decide what recipes you’re going to try, schedule in some time for healthy activities that make you feel happy. This could be anything from reading a page-turner before bed, going for a coffee with a friend who makes you laugh or watching your favourite film. Whatever you enjoy, do it often. This time is a crucial opportunity for you to replenish your energy stores so that you can continue toward your long-term goals. It’s part of your health and wellbeing plan and quite frankly, you deserve it!
If you have had a challenging time and find your motivation dwindling to exercise or continue with healthy changes, remind yourself of the reason why you joined Second Nature. Review your three main motivations you wrote down in your handbook or think back to what made you sign up in the first place. This can be a really powerful way of remembering your goals and motivate yourself to get back into the right mindset again. If you're struggling with this then your health coach will be happy to help you.
Try and fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables or salad for lunch and dinner, making sure to get at least two different varieties in there. This'll help you to get in a wide range of nutrients and fibre.
The key is in the preparation. Make sure you have all of the ingredients you need, cook in bulk on the weekend if you have time, buy extra containers to refrigerate and freeze dishes so that there's always something nutritious in the fridge or freezer. If you're going to the gym or swimming, pack your bag the night before or keep a bag in your car with everything you need. If you struggle with time in the morning, prep a healthy breakfast the night before. Lastly, make sure you schedule in some quality 'you' time, to go for a walk, do some stretching or just to read a book.
When things start getting boring with food or physical activity, that's a sign to reach out for support or start mixing things up. Everyone goes through this at some point – health coaches included (at least I do!).
Small changes make a big difference to your lifestyle. You should never feel deprived of your social life or having your favourite meals. It's really important to come up with modifications and healthy substitutes to your favourite meals/recipes. Please get in contact with your health coach as they will be happy to help you make substitutions. Finally, remember to create healthy habits and not restrictions.
If you're having a tough day take the time to reflect on all the positive changes you have made and new habits you have formed no matter how big or how small! This will help to motivate you through those difficult times. Don’t wait until you’ve reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take towards your goal.
Sometimes you'll be fantastic at following your new habits and other times you might find yourself off track. Both of these situations are a very normal and expected part of lifestyle change. You'll probably find that your new lifestyle isn't something you fail at, just something you keep returning to – imperfect consistency and progress, not perfection!