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3 Essential Tips for Staying Healthy

Just like a New Year’s resolution, we often start an exercise plan or healthy diet on a high note. Feeling excited to finally lose some weight, get toned, or cut out the junk food once and for all, we set lofty goals for ourselves.

Maybe we download a new online fitness program or splurge and get that gym membership that will inspire us to work out. We finish off that ice cream that’s beckoning from the freezer, promising not to buy more. Then we get to work.

The first few weeks feel empowering because we feel more in control of our habits. We also notice the difference in how we feel. “I feel great”, “I’m definitely going to keep this up!” we enthuse.

But after a while, life catches up. Somewhere down the road, a year goes by, several months, or maybe even a few weeks, and that initial enthusiasm often disappears. Looking back on the honeymoon period, we think to ourselves “where did all my willpower go? I’m back to square one!” It can be disheartening.

If that sounds even a little familiar, you’re not alone. Despite good intentions, even for the most disciplined, sticking to a healthy routine is difficult. According to a study by a University of California-Berkeley economics professor and a Stanford University professor when people buy a gym membership, they tend to overestimate how much they will use it. In fact, apparently 67% of people who buy gym memberships don’t use them and apparently health clubs not only count on it, they bank on it!

A yoga lifestyle encourages us to make realistic and healthy choices that support us in every way. Here are a few helpful insights.

A Good Reason Why

Having a good reason why you want to be healthy is essential. Without a good reason, it’s easy to lose steam. Losing 5 pounds to look good in a dress for an upcoming wedding is achievable, but if you think about it, after the wedding you’re probably going to gain it all back—the goal was short lived. Having a more solid reason, something closer to your heart, will help you stay more interested and committed.

One important reason is well being. Being at the mercy of bad habits that make us sick, tired or overweight, affects our emotions and mental balance. It can be debilitating. According to a study looking into exercise patterns of women by the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at the University of Nebraska-Omaha they found the core reason that women give up exercise goals is because of low feelings of worth.

As yogis, we are taught that keeping our bodies healthy assists us in practicing spiritual activities like Yoga Sound Meditation, which help us appreciate our true value and worth.

Make It Enjoyable

If your exercise plan is full of stuff you absolutely can’t stand doing it’s going to be a long and painful process. If the music at the gym is too loud and you don’t like being there, pay attention to that. Trying to talk yourself out of feeling miserable in an environment that doesn’t support you is difficult—if not impossible. Instead choose something that does motivate you.

If being outdoors gives you energy, go with that. If you like doing a DVD at home in your pajamas when you wake up, do that! If having a work out partner motivates you, connect with others who like to do similar things like biking, walking, yoga, or dancing. If you prefer going solo, block out time you can be alone to exercise. The main thing is to practice physical exercise that makes your body and mind feel refreshed. That will help you develop a desire to keep up the good work!

And as far as diet goes, if you absolutely hate eating brown rice and kale, look into healthy foods you do like. You may love cream of cauliflower soup with roasted nuts and cracked pepper on top, with a crusty piece of hearty rye bread. Finding good recipes online or a few healthy cookbooks {link to Favorite Soups book} that have dishes you find appealing will inspire you to eat well.

Make It Routine

Now that you can feel good about your health practices, it’s time to make them regular.

For instance, say you wanted to prevent having cavities, gum disease, bad breath and mouth disease. As most of us do, we brush our teeth at least twice a day—when we wake up and before we go to sleep. Ideally, after every meal even. So we achieve our goal through regularity, not by ignoring routine and then brushing them 14 times on Sunday.

Likewise, in order to experience good health, we must be regular about it. Exercising each day, even if it’s a half hour walk, and cooking the majority of our meals from healthy whole foods, will lay down a healthy foundation for our lives that we can gradually expand upon.

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