Sustainable Habits

The key to weight maintenance and loss is to develop habits that are sustainable over an extended period of time. We may have to make adjustments to our habits as we age, or as our life circumstances change. But, in general, the health habits we adopt today should be sustainable over a long period of time.

If we keep this in mind, some diet and exercise strategies are immediately ruled out. Any diet that requires you to restrict whole food groups permanently probably isn’t sustainable, unless you’re allergic to those foods. Any exercise plan that requires you to do activities you hate for hours at a time is also probably unsustainable.

18_01_12It can be okay to engage in unsustainable activities if you have a specific goal in mind, and you know that you will not be continuing these practices beyond a period of time. For example, if you plan to enter a bodybuilding contest or run a marathon, you may have to intensify your diet and exercise practices leading up to the competition. However, if your goal is overall health and fitness, you need to do exercises and eat foods that you can live with over time. You need to get uncomfortable in order to make lasting change. But the discomfort eases over time as you get used to your new, healthy habits.

The video above talks about intermittent fasting, which I have practiced successfully. It is a great way to lose or maintain weight and does not require one to abstain from any particular food group. It is compatible with a normal social and work life as well. The most sustainable version of intermittent fasting is 16:8, in my opinion, in which you fast for 16 hours every day and eat during an 8-hour window. A common practice is to eat between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and fast the rest of the day and night. I’m a morning person, so I usually start eating around 8 a.m. and finish around 4 p.m. On the weekends, I switch my eating window to 12-8 p.m., so I can go out on dinner dates.

If you need help coming up with a sustainable plan, please contact me for more information about online coaching.

Peace and blessings,

Raven