There are a number of factors why good intentions to eating more healthily or exercising more never make it to fruition. Maybe you try something once and then give up and go back to what you did before, or you talk yourself out of even starting. And so nothing changes for the long term. This can be disheartening and frustrating.
If this sounds familiar, don't worry. You are not alone. Eat, Move, Be Happy can help you change this story.
Read on to discover Eat, Move, Be Happy’s 5 top tips for starting and continuing your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Our philosophy is to:
We believe that we can all achieve fantastic things if we have the confidence to try stuff – and we have some awesome success stories to share. Eat, Move, Be Happy offers a different way of thinking about eating and exercise starting with the question:
Most of us know what we should be doing to have a healthy lifestyle - eat better and exercise more – and yet we don’t do it. Why?
Starting here we help you unravel your current habits around health and wellbeing, including eating and exercise. If you know more about why you do what you do, and how you can practically shift habits to healthier choices, this helps build momentum and confidence to ultimately Eat Better, Move Better and Be Happy(er)!
Habits are the psychological shortcuts that help us get through the day. We form habits when we do the same things regularly. This means we don't have to spend as much time thinking about what we do and how we do it - we just do it, saving energy and time.
So, accepting that our habits are ingrained (for a reason) and it takes more than pixie dust to shift them to new ones, how do you start?
Barriers to changing
To understand a little more about habits, the reasons they are important and why they can be hard to shift check our articles on Why considering a wellness plan is a great plan!, Turn Your Plan into Action and Changing behaviours and developing habits.
There are some common barriers to changing our habits - we have talked about these in relation to eating habits before in Eat Better. It actually doesn't matter what the habit is, the psychological hard-wiring of our behaviour means changing habits is tough.
The first thing to remember is the hardest step is the first step! And you are not alone in this - you are just human.
Some of the common barriers to taking that first step are:
- Lack of self-motivation or support – “It seems like so much work, I can’t do this alone…”
- Busy schedule, lack of time or not convenient – “I can’t change how I eat right now. The exercise class I want to do doesn't fit with my schedule. I travel a lot, am rushed off my feet and it’s just not convenient at the moment”
- Difficult emotions/mental health – “I’m going through a difficult time in my life right now, I enjoy comfort food and I can’t deal with even more by going on a diet. I cannot face exercise on my own/ with others, I am too self-conscious, they will be better than me, I am not good enough...”
- Fear of getting it wrong or looking silly - "I can't do exercise, I'm not coordinated, balanced, young enough. I will look like a fool! I won't be as good as other people."
- Inertia – “I’ve always been like this, I’m not going to change now…”
- Not wanting to give up current life – “I like socialising with my friends too much!, I have family commitments and they come first”
- Lack of knowledge/skills – “I hear so much contradictory advice, I don’t know where to even start!, I cannot commit to 5 hours of exercise a week so what is the point in starting? I am rubbish at sport/ can't do the technique”
- Home environment/family/friends – “I’m surrounded by food, treats and people who are not interested in changing how they eat or exercise”
- Too much temptation – “I can hear the chocolates/ TV calling to me!”
- Food tastes – “I don’t like the taste of ‘healthy’ food”
- Exercise preferences - "I prefer team sports and there aren't any local teams. I don't like gyms."
- Putting it off/lazy – “It sounds like hard work, I will start tomorrow. I will start when I can really give it my attention and commit...”
- Environmental barriers – “There is nowhere to get healthy food/ do the exercise I enjoy where I live/work”
- It’s not high enough on my to-do list – “I already eat and exercise well. I’m not unhealthy. I’m happy as I am.”
- Making excuses – Any or all of the above plus countless more…
Understanding which ones relate to you is a start. When you know what you are really dealing with you can better prepare to overcome the barrier. And it is far better to tackle them in smaller chunks rather than try and deal with everything all at once.
We know this can feel daunting. This is where Eat, Move, Be Happy can help you.
Eat, Move, Be Happy Approach
We at Eat, Move, Be Happy know people are better at overcoming their barriers when they have support. Everything is better when you have the support of others! Apart from anything else it is fun to share - your attempts, your successes and also the things that didn't go according to plan. The encouragement from others is huge in helping keep momentum and in you holding yourself to account for the choices you make.
So out first Top Tip is:
Don't go it alone!!!
Our online wellbeing community means you can connect with other people, ask for and offer support, ideas and encouragement and grow together. Plus we are on hand to add our pennyworth from time to time and point you in the direction of resources on the website.
Our second Top Tip is:
Get your head in the game.
Only you can make the changes you want to make. You have to want to do this - with your heart and your head. They are linked and your head has a strong influence. The Eat, Move, Be Happy Mental Health series helps you raise awareness of your psychological wellbeing. With practical tips you can use every day to help you refocus on the things you want to try and the choices you want to make.
Support is on hand, but no one else can do it for you. Being really clear about why making the changes matters is an important step - and working through that with the help of our Eat Better podcast series and Learn & Explore resource will provide a step by step guide to making the change.
Our third Top Tip:
Doing something is better than doing nothing.
No matter how long you exercise for and how frequently. Obviously we would encourage you to build up your exercise routine and challenge yourself. We know you will feel so much better physically and mentally when you do.
We believe the key to exercising more is our fourth Top Tip:
It might sound obvious, but you are much more likely to exercise if you enjoy it. Nobody wants to send time doing something they don't enjoy. And it doesn't matter what it is, as long as you are active, moving more, getting a bit out of breath on occasion and having fun.
We can help you with structure and a plan for your exercise routine. You can build your own workout from our Workout With Us online video library and plan hassle free training with our written Weekly Workout Plans. And we can help you develop your knowledge and technique with our exercise demos and tutorials. All you have to do is give it a go and try.
And our fifth Top Tip:
The second time is always better !
So we encourage you to try things more than once before you decide something is not worth the effort. Whatever it is.
When we first try something new we are not likely to be great at it - which can feel a bit frustrating. Stick with it, the second time we are more aware of what to expect, always more relaxed and a bit more confident. We know this!
Getting this far is a good way to you making your first step. And remember, the first step is the hardest!
Help keep yourself moving forwards by:
- Review the common barriers above and write down the ones that apply to you most frequently. You will then be clearer about what you are dealing with.
- Review our Top Tips for overcoming barriers and write down how you will put these into action.
- Test Eat, Move, Be Happy to start on the road to your new habits and enjoy a five day free trial. There are lots more ideas and resources to help you start and continue and we think you’ll like what you find, love the results you get and want to stay.
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