Change to find sustainable healthy habits

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When it comes to eating well and being active, we can sometimes get caught up in the things we think should be doing, in the way we think should be doing them; follow what others are doing instead of doing what is best for us. However, when it comes to establishing behaviors and habits like healthy eating and physical activity, there is no rule book for what we should do. should be doing to start or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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There are some guidelines we can follow, but ultimately it comes down to what is right for our body, our lifestyle, and our schedule.

The spoiler: we won’t know what’s best for us until we try it.

Living a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and physical activity is an integrated ‘big picture’ approach; And it involves many factors. When we start, it is important that we learn the ability to change. Change our efforts toward one small healthy thing, perhaps moving more by taking a walk at lunch or eating better by sneaking more vegetables into our day.

By changing our behaviors, rather than drastically altering them, it creates a natural path to success and allows us to further turn the dial from an unhealthy lifestyle, toward lifelong healthy, sustainable habits. Once we have had some success in Changing our behaviors, then we can begin to incorporate some variety, risk, and experimentation.

Adding variety and experimentation to what we eat and how we move will keep things fresh and allow us to learn and discover foods we may never have tried before and ways to move we always thought we might enjoy. By trying different ways to move and different foods to eat, we learn what we like and don’t like; we discover our preferences, our strengths and our weaknesses. All of this is valuable information to help us find our own path to sustainable healthy habits.

Taking risks with what we eat or the way we move can be any way we choose to define it. This might mean trying an activity we’ve always been afraid to try, like swimming. Or cooking a meal that has always intimidated us because of the ingredients or the recipe, like moussaka. It could also mean doing something we never thought possible.

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No matter how big or small the risk may seem, taking risks allows us to believe in ourselves, build confidence and know that we are stronger than we think when it comes to changing our behaviors to maintain a healthy and sustainable lifestyle; and sustainability is how we will discover what is right for us.

Our challenge this week is to let go of our ‘should’ thoughts and feelings around eating and activity behaviors, and instead focus on those that are the Correct some; the right ones for us. There are no rules about how to be active and eat right, just different paths we can choose to take and explore. Paths that intertwine with each other, so if we don’t like the path we’re on, we can just walk out and switch to another.

Never forget, it all comes down to joy. If we don’t enjoy what we do or what we eat, we won’t be able to sustain it. Life is amazing and it’s too short not to enjoy it. Let’s find out what we like to eat and how we love to move and build on it.

This column was written and provided by Jennifer Wilson, Strathcona County Recreation, Culture and Parks Representative.

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