It’s hard to beat the allure of the quick fix- until you encounter the same problem again, and again. Most diets begin with restriction, which leads to feelings of deprivation, which lead to overeating, and ultimately feelings of shame and failure.
Healthy habits begin with adding positive behaviors, which lead to small changes, which lead to feelings of satisfaction, and ultimately feelings of success.
THI Council Member, Mark Faries advises that behavioral changes are achieved by changing behaviors. Chicken meet egg? Not necessarily; Dr. Faries talks about the practice of changing behavior- and warns against perfection being the enemy of good.
Better yet, if changing your diet feels impossible, you can practice habits such as flexible limits and positive reframing in other areas of your life.
Flexible limits refer to the parameters we set for ourselves, noting the importance of a pre-decided degree of elasticity. Positive reframing is that silver lining that our brains can use to make difficult situations or perceived failures more palatable.
These same habits can be applied to our relationships with people, work, food, exercise, and sleep.
To begin, you might pick an area of your life that feels less intimidating than adjusting your diet. This could be a flexible limit as small as making your bed 5 days out of the week.
There are lots of opportunities to practice positive reframing. Dr. Faries uses traffic as an example. Traffic-jams that make you late for work can be stressful, but they can also be an opportunity to listen to an educational podcast, or simply have some alone time, rocking out to your favorite music.
The more you practice these behavior habits, the more readily you can apply them to various areas of your life. Make a flexible limit to eat 2 servings of vegetables per day, and then 3 and then 4 or 5. Find the positive lining to challenging work of family relations.
A healthy lifestyle is more than just diet and exercise. Learning to adapt healthy habits to various aspects and situations will help you successfully create a lifestyle and life that is consistently healthier, happier, and more resilient.