How to improve your health: the secret to lasting change.

Why you decide to make changes to improve your health is a completely personal decision.

Often we are influenced by very different motivations.

For some people, it may be that they choose to move regularly so that they can keep up with their children. For others, they consciously choose to eat a mainly plant-based diet because it makes them feel good. For others still, it’s about being good.

While all of these factors will lead to some degree of change, more often than not I find when people make decisions based solely on doing what they think they should be, the long-term motivation isn’t there.

So how do you make long-term changes to improve your health?

When making any change to improve your health, it is important you commit to resolving any emotional disempowering habits or language that you may use. Far too often I hear people say, “Oh I’ve been really bad lately, but when such and such happens I’ll be good.” Or, “starting from tomorrow I’m going to be really good with xyz.” I know before I’ve really begun to delve further that this sort of language indicates an emotional relationship with food or movement. I also know it’s very likely that, when this person looks at himself or herself in the mirror, they view themselves with a critical eye.

Start by considering your inner-voice.

As a culture, we have become quite obsessed with perfection. Having the perfect shape, perfect features or being a perfect weight before we can feel “good” and happy with ourselves. The way we speak to ourselves has to change. Your value doesn’t depreciate based on the number that appears on the scales. Nor will everything in your life fall into place if you could magically fit into an outfit you wore ten years ago. Sustainable and long-term change needs to come from a desire to be and feel healthier – not just look the part. It has to come from wanting to take care of yourself because you value yourself.

Work towards self-acceptance. 

People who accept who they are and feel good about their physical wellbeing, often emit a sense of calm and content. When we make changes from a foundation of self-acceptance, our changes are likely to be empowering and long-lasting. Trying to be “good” is not motivating in the long term. A decision to no longer have coffee and cake every day, or to eat more vegetables and move regularly, must also be with an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for who you are now.

Switch your focus.

In order to create a kind relationship with your body where taking care of yourself with consistent (not perfect) nourishing food choices and regular movement are effortless, often there are two areas that need to be addressed – food and emotions. When you live from a place of deeply appreciating life and the amazing person you are, your focus becomes taking care of your body rather than depriving yourself to become a certain weight. While it may seem converse, when you focus on your health, most people find their weight falls into place. As cheesy as it might sound, the key to any lasting change you make to improve your health is to live knowing that life is precious, that you are precious and to treat yourself accordingly.