When you have to choose between staying at home to use your Xbox and heading out for a gym workout, we know how hard it is for gadget heads like you to unplug. Let us read full story
Life is all about choices. You have the free will to choose when to sleep, exercise, and eat. You are responsible for making lifestyle choices that enhance rather than harm your health. So why is it so hard to make the right choices sometimes? Research has found that a few environmental, psychological, and physical factors can actually sway your free will.
Here are 5 tips to help you make the right choices:
1) Remember why you want to make healthy choices.
Here at DailyBurn, we work in an office building that includes a shared space with other companies. Sadly, not everyone is as health conscious as we are (although we’re working on that). The image above is from our office snack area. Every day, I eat a snack of almonds in the afternoon to prevent 3pm hunger pangs. As I step up to the snack dispensers, I know that I can choose Chex mix, almonds, or Lucky Charms. Let me tell you, I was the kid who only ate the marshmallows and the sugary cereal milk at the bottom of the bowl of Lucky Charms back in the day. But each day I have to make the better choice. No one is there to stop me.
Here’s what helps me: I never lose sight of my goal. If I eat the Lucky Charms, I’ll be psyched for about 5 minutes, but my blood sugar will drop an hour later and I’ll be cranky the rest of the day. My goal is to get stronger and feel great with sustainable energy all day, and almonds help me do that. Lucky Charms don’t.
2) Pay attention to marketing placements in restaurants.
Ever wonder why Starbucks has you stand in front of the brightly lit pastry case while you wait to place your order? It’s not an accident. They want you to stare at them while your brain starts to process hunger cues. Even menu layout and design is carefully orchestrated to get you to order the foods with the highest margins. For example, foods that are described on menus as “crispy” are always fried, and vegetable side dishes are often placed at the very bottom right of the menu.
3) Banish excuses.
If you find yourself making excuses or putting off changing your lifestyle, write down all of the reasons why you cannot change. Maybe you are too busy, you are a primary caretaker, or you don’t know how to easily implement the lifestyle changes. Once you make the list, try to find a solution to every excuse. For example, if you don’t want to workout after word because you are exhausted by 5pm, try finding a way to workout at lunchtime when you have more energy. for every excuse, there is a solution. By writing them down, you’ll realize how ridiculous most excuses are.
4) Revamp your reward factor.
Many people reward themselves after a workout with a high carb, high calorie meal, an extra snack, or a few drinks because they “deserve it”. Using these food and drink as a reward reinforces the pleasure principle associated with these foods. When you think of these foods in the future, you will get excited and start craving them because you have trained your brain to associate these foods with good feelings.
Revamp your reward factor by rewarding yourself with healthy treats, like sleeping in for an extra hour the day after a hard workout, or making yourself a new healthy meal with a recipe that you found online.
5) Surround yourself with people who have similar goals.
Drinking buddies are fun, but the people who hang out with you in the bar on Friday night won’t be the same people who will get up with you for bootcamp on Saturday morning. If you surround yourself with people who make healthy living a priority, you will be more likely to make the right choices.
If you make a bad choice, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just make sure to set yourself up for success next time with these 5 tips.
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