The Easiest Way to Stick to a Plan

You know how you make New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and exercise every year, only to abandon those plans by February 1?
You’re not alone.

Less than 25% of people all over the world actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.

If you don’t want to be a part of that statistic, here are some easy tricks and life hacks to accomplishing every single one of your healthy lifestyle goals!

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1. Start with realistic expectations.

Don’t expect all your goals to be achieved in a week or a month. If you expect too much of yourself or your lifestyle, you are more likely to be disappointed and fall back to your old, unhealthy ways. On the other hand, achieving a realistic goal motivates you to improve and set higher goals. A healthy lifestyle can result in significant benefits over a 6-12 month timeframe, but remember that the benefits start and grow gradually.

2. Change both your diet and exercise habits at the same time.

This may seem strange, but there is scientific evidence that good diet and exercise habits reinforce each other. People who change both their diet and exercise habits at the same time are more likely to stick with them, than people who start with diet and add exercise later, or start working out and then make changes to their diet.
So just jump right into your new healthy lifestyle!

3. Ease into the changes gradually.

Yes, I did say start diet and exercise changes at the same time. But on week one, if you completely abandon all your favorite foods, and start working out till you’re ready to faint, you are less likely to continue past that week!

So start small. Reduce unhealthy foods to one cheat day a week, and commit to getting some physical activity every day - maybe a walk, some badminton or 30 minutes of light aerobics. And each week, increase the level a little more - eliminate one more unhealthy food and increase your exercise difficulty slightly.

This helps you boost dopamine, your “reward hormone”, as you achieve these challenges, and you stay committed to your healthy habits for longer.

4. Make sure you choose substitutions that you love.

If you replace all the foods you love with “healthy” foods you hate, you will stop looking forward to your meals, and constantly dream of your cheat foods! The only way to avoid this is to choose healthy foods that are tasty as well, and make sure you include these in your diet at least once every week.

Dark chocolate is still good for you, as long as you choose a low-sugar version! Love ice-cream? Frozen and blended bananas or frozen yogurt can give you the exact taste and texture at half the calories!

5. Eat the healthy food first.

It’s very natural to have a sudden craving for a guilty pleasure, say biryani or pasta or even sweets. You also probably have a planned menu for the day already, such as your Femcy personalized diet plan. If this is the case, don’t say no to yourself. Tell yourself you can eat your cheat treat after your planned meal. On most days, you’ll find that you’re too full and not interested in a calorie-rich treat anymore. And the best part is that you don’t feel like you’ve denied yourself anything!

6. Don’t skip the snacks, or the fluids.

If your planned diet includes snacks, don’t skip them. They’re there for a reason. Skipping snacks can make you too hungry by the next meal, and you’ll end up making rash “hangry” choices such as ordering junk food, or overeating. Same goes for fluids like water, tea, coconut juice. The body often mistakes thirst for hunger. So if you have an unplanned attack of the munchies, reach for a glass of water first.

7. Get enough protein in your breakfast.

There’s a reason why the saying “breakfast like a king” still exists. Getting a hearty, protein rich breakfast can keep your blood sugar levels steady through the day. You’ll be less likely to overeat at lunch or dinner.

8. Procrastinate the bad habits (not the good ones).

Feel like eating a piece of cake? Don’t say no. If you have a craving for something unhealthy, tell yourself to wait until the evening. Or the weekend. If you teach yourself to procrastinate an urge to do something unhealthy, you’ll save yourself from 90% of bad decisions and slips. For good urges, don’t delay (like eating a light meal, or exercising). Act on them right away. The more you wait, the hungrier you get, and you’ll be too tired to make good decisions.

9. Make a plan for eating out or travelling.

Eating out or traveling need not be excuses to break your healthy streak. Make a plan for your meals by searching online for healthy options near you. Pack your shoes or workout gear and make time to get a quick workout in when you can.

10. Practise mindful eating.

Turn off your TV and put away your phone. Focus on your meal and be sure you chew each mouthful at least 32 times. Put down your eating utensil between bites. You’ll notice that you feel full with less food this way, and are able to better absorb and digest your food.

11. Don’t stuff yourself or starve yourself.

Eat until you’re only half full. Take small portions and check with your stomach before refills. Leave room for water and air, as our grandmas used to say!

Make sure to eat before you get too hungry. These small timing choices for your meals can make a large difference in the quantity of food you eat.

12. Track your goals.

Seeing a streak of good days is a powerful motivator to keep you on track when you’re building a healthy habit. That’s why Femcy offers a tracker for your habits as well as symptoms. Make a habit of tracking your good days on the app. This gives your brain a little shot of dopamine, the reward hormone, and helps you build healthy habits sooner!

13. Forgive your setbacks.

Slipped from your diet for a day? A week? A whole month? It’s okay. Life gets in the way of the best-laid plans sometimes. Criticising past actions won’t help you in any way. Rather, forgive yourself, make a plan to avoid the same triggers again, and start again. Remember, one bad day does not negate the good effects from all the good days. So focus on the present.

14. Get a buddy.

Sticking to a habit with an equally motivated friend or companion can support you and help you stay on track. Be sure to help each other though! Don’t complain or share your struggles too much, as you can demotivate the other person as well.

15. Do what works best for you.

At Femcy, we recognize that every woman is unique. Your cravings, symptoms and the way your body reacts is unique to you. Your diet recommendations are crafted based on your symptoms and inputs. So use the Femcy app to identify your unique triggers and what works for you.

Does all this look like a lot of work? Femcy takes 10 out of 15 items from this list off your plate. The rest are the easy ones! So what are you waiting for? Download the Femcy app now!

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Nandhini heads marketing for FemCy. She is a health science enthusiast and believes that knowledge is key to making better selfcare decisions.

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