The 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Healthy Lifestyle Change

It’s the first day of spring (down under). Many of us are coming out of our winter shells and thinking about making a healthy lifestyle change.

I’ve got some advice for you baby! Stop THINKING about it and start MAKING that healthy change for the better.

Here are some golden rules for every healthy lifestyle change.

1. DO change what you eat!

When it comes to making a healthy lifestyle change you have to accept that, from now on, your diet will change. If you are not happy with how you look or feel currently then you cannot expect to change without changing your diet – can you?

You need to change some simple things and make these part of your everyday routine. Then, every now and again, you can treat yourself and not worry too much about the negative consequences for your new healthy life. Is this a deal?

2. DON’T have the ‘diet’ starts on Monday rule!

I bet that’s what you were thinking! “What a good idea – I’ll start on Monday!”

This kind of attitude leads to you never starting – putting off getting healthy day after day and week after week. Why shouldn’t we just start now? You don’t have to do anything dramatic – just start making healthy food choices and getting out for some exercise. Go – on, get on with it!

3. DO get yourself an accountability buddy

A transformation journey is always easier if you have accountability buddies.

What’s an accountability buddy? Someone who shares your progress, your fears, your tears and your successes. Someone you love and trust.

Please ask a friend or partner to support you. I know some use Facebook to share their journey and this helps keep them accountable. If this is not for you, find someone you can chat to privately.

4. DON’T weigh yourself every day

Weight is NOT the only measure we are looking to change when we start to ‘get healthy’. We are looking to feel energetic, think clearly, sleep better, exercise more, live longer and, lastly – drop some kilos. Obsessing about the scales is unhealthy and can actually lead to us to stop us from realising all the benefits. Even if weight-loss is one of our major goals then a daily habit of jumping on the scales is not productive. Weight varies hourly according to factors like how much water we have drunk and when we last went to the toilet. If you must weight yourself pick the same day and the same time each week at the most.

5. DO exercise every day

Although food is the MAIN driver for your healthy lifestyle change, exercise is also massively important. Exercise builds muscles which in turn become your own fat burning engine to maintain all the changes you are about to make. As we get older we need to challenge our muscles and bones to make them stronger and last longer.

But most importantly, we need to preserve our mental health. For this reason I am a massive fan of exercising OUTSIDE in the great outdoors where it’s free. No one cares what you look like and you get the mental benefits of fresh air and sunshine.  Besides, my views on personal trainers (not all of them) are fairly well known.

6. DON’T skip breakfast

You know how your Mum told me breakfast was the most important meal of the day? Well, she was right. Your body is a very productive machine and wants to start building new cells from the moment it wakes up.

If we miss breakfast then we are not providing good quality building blocks for the building process. The body just goes around and steals what it needs from other places. The end result is that we start the day feeling shit inside and we compromise our future health by building rubbish body parts today.

AND we have to ensure that our breakfast consists of protein and not just toast and cereal. Try eggs or smoked salmon. Look at my article about breakfast to get more ideas. Protein is the KEY building block required – give the body what it needs to make you feel great! The added bonus is that your cravings will reduce because your tummy is full with satiety inducing proteins.

7. DO eat smaller meals and do eat more frequently throughout the day

Our bodies were actually designed to eat smaller amounts of food relatively frequently throughout the day. The cavemen did not sit down to 3 large meals per day – instead they ate as they hunted, on berries or plants. Every now and again they may have feasted on their kill but this was a rarity not the normal.

In the western world we habitually skip breakfast, eat an imbalanced lunch and have a massive dinner too close to sleep time. We have already mentioned the importance of breakfast. Now try to balance your lunch across all the major food groups and making your dinner smaller and earlier.

You can incorporate snacks into your day as long as they are small, consist of mainly proteins and avoid carbohydrates, particularly processed ones. I suggest a boiled egg mid-morning with turmeric sprinkled on it and some tuna mid-afternoon missed with chopped almonds. My article on snacking gives you more ideas.

8. DON’T drink fizzy drinks, coca cola or juices

You need water NOT these high sugar, calorie catastrophe, disease creating beverages. The damage a cola can do to your body is endless so don’t get me started here. Juices deliver some of the fab vitamins we need daily so people think they are OK. BUT, without the filling effect of fibre from the whole fruit, we drink the sugar bomb of 10 oranges at one time per juice.

9. DO still have some fun

Making a healthy lifestyle change is not all bad news and restriction. Restriction is why many diets fail. Dieters cannot maintain their early quick results because their bodies actually have simply become depleted. We need to include treats but learn to make better choices at the same time.

I hear so many people say – “I can’t change because I just love chocolate so much”, or “I just can’t give up red wine”. Bet those people are the ones filling our hospitals or pushing our future medical insurance up!!!
I’ve already mentioned that a treat day is OK once a week (see point 1). And I am not going to ban you from red wine! We all must know by now that we should reduce alcohol in our daily diets due to calories, cost and its brain numbing effects. Try reducing the evenings you allow yourself a drink – possibly just Friday and Saturday to celebrate the weekend.

I am a self-confessed chocolate fan and it would be hard to envisage a life without chocolate. Three years ago I loved milk chocolate, despised dark chocolate and thought all things chocolate were wonderful.

I then adopted a lower sugar approach to everything, reducing the quantities in recipes and removing it entirely where I could. I forced myself to eat 2 squares of dark chocolate instead of milk on most occasions. To summarise a long story, I now am happy to limit myself to two squares of dark as a treat. (We all know that dark is better for us don’t we?). I find milk chocolate very sweet and prefer to buy plain. There are now several chocolate items I no longer need to touch (like chocolate brownies which I find far too strong). So you can train your taste buds – it just takes time and perseverance to change your health.

10. Don’t expect miracles over night

imagesChanging your health using the levers of food and exercise is slow. It is not a quick fix like a prescription or a new ‘do’ at the hairdresser. Body measurements can help you measure physical progress over time but we are also looking for changes that are hard to track. How can we measure the depth and quality of sleep, the amount of energy we have or the improved longevity of life? We can’t exactly – but we know how we FEEL so let this be your guide.

And don’t be impatient. If you are now 40 (for example) and do not like the way you look and feel remember it took 40 years of eating poorly to get like this. You cannot expect to change all this in 4 weeks!

You are making a healthy change for your future and that of your family. You are keeping the medical bills of the country down because you will not be dependent upon medicine for quality of life. You are making change for GOOD. Well done and stick to it.

What Next?

Does all this sound overwhelming? Do you still want to make a positive change in your life?

Contact Liz at Fit and Fabulous at 40 Plus. We offer a 12 week FAB challenge to recharge your food and energy, re-define your attitudes and achieve a fabulous fitness goal.

  • We are with you every step of the way. We support, advise or give you a ‘friendly kick up the backside’ helping you achieve a fabulous health and fitness result.
  • We remove the “diet and exercise marketplace noise” to deliver simple advice with just enough reading, videos and podcasts to guide your transformation.
  • We deliver real world, practical and inexpensive advice of a food and fitness coach who has been where you are now.
  • Your plan includes a free initial consultation, week by week food challenges to recharge your food choices, weekly check-ins, additional advice as required and a training programme to achieve a fabulous fitness goal.

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Liz is a personal lifestyle transformation coach and she specialises in helping Mum’s re-define themselves. She offers a wealth of experience combining Masters Degrees in both Business and Biochemistry from Oxford University with 20+ years in business consulting. Goal setting, nutrition and accountability are the foundations supporting her client’s journey to an energetic and personally rewarding life.

Liz has completed hundreds of triathlons, ocean swims and running races and has represented Great Britain at National level as an age group triathlete. She has been coaching athletes since her University days where she was President of the University Athletics Club.

But it’s Liz’s own three year journey from an exhausted Mother to an Iron Mum that resulted in the FAB 12 week challenge. She transformed her food, attitudes and body to complete the toughest endurance triathlon. She has based the 12 week programme on the main nutritional and fitness lessons learnt.

Liz has helped hundreds of other women like herself achieve their personal transformation. She is passionate about delivering simple healthy food and fitness guidelines to recharge the energy, health and fitness of women across Australia.

1 Comment

  1. Nick says:

    Can’t run from a poor diet 😉

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