Health Feature Articles
Making Healthy Habits Last
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
Habits are difficult to change but it can be done!
Try these tips to help you stay on track:
- Set attainable goals and know that it may take a long time to reach them. Losing weight and becoming physically fit can take a long time. Be ready to celebrate small victories. Your goal may be to be able to run one mile but you haven’t even walked one mile. Celebrate when you are able to walk one mile!
- Set goals you are sure you can maintain. Many people lose weight by decreasing calories to a very low level. That may allow for a weight loss but not a loss that is easily maintained. It’s just too hard for most of us to maintain a diet very low in calories for a long time and it’s also not healthy.
- Choose just one healthy habit and work on it until you are sure you have adopted it and then move on to another. If your goal was to eat healthier, your first objective might be to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day. Once that is a daily habit, move to your next objective.
- Find a healthy habit partner. Change is so much easier if you have someone to support you in your efforts. Even easier if that person is also trying to make some changes.
- If weight loss is your goal, plan for a small gradual loss. One-half to one pound of weight loss per week is a healthy, realistic expectation. (Keep in mind that you didn’t gain it five or six pounds at a time.)
- If you get off track don’t give up! We all get off track of many things in the course of a year. Acknowledge that you got off track and get right back on. It’s just a matter of telling yourself that you can do it and you will feel better for it.
Healthy habits are easier to maintain if you have a goal in mind. It may be that you want to wear the outfit you wore on your honeymoon or you want to be healthy enough to travel when you retire. Just know that you will feel better and have more energy within weeks. That should help you stay on track!
Last Updated 05/05/2009