5 ways to help you kick-start healthy habits

How to get back to healthy habits if you’ve overindulged during lockdown

The effects of lockdown have taken their toll on many of us in a variety of ways. This stressful time has had an impact on our overall well-being, with comfort food being a popular option for dealing with stressful situations and, in some cases, overwhelming emotions.

Our inability to exercise outdoors or head to the gym at the start of lockdown made it difficult to stay active and in shape. While you may have been adamant about maintaining your active lifestyle and healthy eating habits at the beginning of lockdown, these goals may have slipped away as time in isolation progressed.

With lockdown easing and summer almost here, now’s the perfect time to look for ways to reincorporate those healthy habits that may have fallen by the wayside.

Herbalife Nutrition SA shares 5 tips for making healthy habits part of everyday life again

Stop feeling guilty about how you coped during lockdown

You may have slipped up and lost the motivation to maintain your active, healthy lifestyle, but that’s nothing to feel guilty about. This pandemic has been uncharted territory and we’ve all dealt with it in the best way possible based on our unique circumstances. You survived a tough situation, and that’s something to be proud of.

Rather than feeling awful about any bad habits that may have taken hold, be kind to yourself and commit to making incremental and positive changes.

Start small

Your fitness levels before lockdown and after lockdown might be two completely different things. While you may have been able to run a 10km with ease before lockdown, your training schedule and eating habits have changed, and you may not be able to run that far just yet.

Instead of expecting yourself to pick up where you left off, you may need to start at the beginning. A simple walk around the block is a great start, and once you gauge your post-lockdown fitness levels, you’ll be able to create a training routine that will work for you. Be careful not to push yourself too far too soon – this can result in a serious injury.

The same can be said for changing your diet and eating patterns. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take time to reach your pre-lockdown levels of good food choices. You don’t need to make a complete 180 and throw out everything in your pantry; gradual changes are more likely to stick and are slightly less shocking to your system. Simple changes, like switching a packet of chips for an apple or opting for a glass of water instead of cooldrink, can go a long way in shaping better habits. Stock up on healthy treats to encourage better choices, plan balanced meals ahead of time, and make sure you’re eating meals with enough lean protein and fibre to help keep you fuller for longer.

Find a training buddy

Having someone to motivate and encourage you makes a world of difference. Together, you can support one another to achieve your goals and discuss any difficulties that you may be experiencing. It helps to know that you are not alone and have someone to rely on during this time. Research shows that people who exercise with a partner are more motivated to exercise, plus they generally work harder during workout sessions.

Make it a habit – again

It took a while to make it a habit the first time, so remember that it will take a while to create a new habit. The more you practice healthy habits, the more you will get used to them, and before you know it, they will become second nature.

Science says that having a plan is key to helping habits stick. So, whatever your strategy for reaching your health goals is, write it down so that you can stay on track.

Persevere

It’s not going to be a quick, easy journey. It’s going to take time, dedication, and commitment. The urge to slip back into old habits will probably arise more than once on your journey to a healthier self. But don’t give up and don’t feel discouraged if you have a bad day. As long as you keep trying, those healthy habits will come back!

Getting back to where you were before the pandemic hit is going to be a journey of its own. Hard work and determination will help you get back on track, and you’ll be leading a healthy, active lifestyle in no time.