Create a Healthy Lifestyle That Lasts

One of the most often asked questions in my email inbox or DMs is, “How do I create a healthy lifestyle that lasts?”

Here’s my short answer: It’s a process and it takes time. Because if it was quick, it would just be considered a diet and we know those don’t work.

I think what grieves me most in the health and fitness industry are diets. If you think about going on a diet, the concept itself  sets you up for failure. It has an expiration date. Whether that’s 7 days, 30 days, or 60 days, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even start. Which only continues the never-ending dieting cycle.

Healthy living is more than a diet or a quick fix though. Once we shift our mindset from quick to long term – that’s what then the beauty of living a healthy lifestyle develops. We aren’t looking at it for the short term (i.e. to get us looking great in a swimsuit for summer), but rather looking great and feeling great all year long.

And it’s understandable, we’re busy, overwhelmed, stressed out, and it’s so much easier to continue eating the way we always have. Plus, nutrition is confusing! There are so many studies, so many diets, each claiming to be the most beneficial. It’s easy to get stuck in information overload.

Eating right doesn’t have to be difficult… in fact, it shouldn’t be! I understand that most people know that it’s important to eat healthily, but they are often confused and overwhelmed with how to make that a reality in their own lives.

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Do you want to know the big secret to creating a healthy lifestyle that lasts?

Consistency.

Living a healthy lifestyle takes consistency and practice.  I know that’s not fun to hear because we live in a world that wants those quick fixes. But it’s true. And I’ve witnessed it over and over again.

It means staying consistent which involves being able to practice the same healthy habits every day. Like…

Drinking water.

Working out.

Eating well.

Sleeping enough.

We already know that to be healthy you have to do all those things. What we struggle with is doing it over and over and over… every day of the year. For many years in a row.

A healthy lifestyle is actually so simple. I mean, look at that short list of four things! But simple does not mean easy. If it were easy, I wouldn’t have a job. 

Why is consistency so hard?!

It requires change. And change is hard. We are comfortable for the most part in how we live our life. That’s why falling back into old habits is so easy to do.

So how can you begin to create a healthy lifestyle full of intention and purpose and consistency?

 5 ways to create a healthy lifestyle that truly lasts.

01. Start Small

I could talk a lot about starting small and the huge benefits this has on creating a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I think it’s KEY to creating consistency.

How many of you have ever said “I’m going to start a diet on Monday but by Wednesday you eat off plan {even just a few m&ms} and think “well, all is lost” {might as well eat the whole king size bag} and just quit?

Most of us have probably said that a time or two...But why?!

Because we try to change too much too fast.

If you live on processed foods and never work out how successful do you think you’ll be changing to an all whole foods diet and working out every day? Very unlikely that you will be successful.

It’s okay to start small. I’m giving you permission and encouraging you to start small. You don’t have to change every single area in your life to start creating healthy habits. In fact, usually when you start small and continually add healthier habits in you’ll be more likely to stick with the changes.

One of the programs I run is a Meal Prep Bootcamp and I teach women how to meal prep for the entire week so they can eat healthier, stay on track and save tons of time during their busy weeks. And this whole idea of starting small is exactly what we do in the bootcamp. Most are so ready to jump all in and prep everything, but I have to pump the breaks a little and say, “Okay...week 1 we are only prepping lunches.” And then each week we add something to prep until the 4th week we prep everything.

Why do I do this?

Because meal prepping is overwhelming and if not done properly can take a ton of time. It can be frustrating and I want to set them up for success by letting them get used to prepping and allow them to get comfortable in the kitchen.

So instead of prepping everything at once, getting frustrated, and quitting we start small, prepped one meal, and then continually add a meal each week.

And guess what everyone said was so helpful? Starting small! :)

Small changes lead to really big results. So whether that’s meal prepping or tracking how much water you drink each day or just focusing on making your snacks healthier that week….choose some small change and once done consistently, add on more healthy changes.

Here’s an action step to starting small:

Identify 1-2 healthier habits you can work on this week. Then continue to add a habit each week as you become consistent with the habits prior.

02. Track Your Progress

You know why counting calories are so hard? It’s tedious, takes time, and requires math and then just makes our head hurt!

It’s just plain hard to keep up with.

Instead, tracking should be quick, easy and tangible.

And something other than how many pounds you’ve lost because this fluctuates so much and is only a small part of the picture when creating a healthy lifestyle.   

When I first started running I would track how long I went and how far and write it on my calendar. Now mind you, I could barely run a mile. But I kept at it and pretty soon I was writing down 3 miles then 6 miles...and then it became my own little game to see not only how far I had gone but could I beat yesterday’s time. And on the days that I wanted to quit I remembered that I had run x miles so of course, I needed to keep going.

It was a simple way for me to track my progress. It also motivated me to keep going. Running then became enjoyable and I was able to run much longer distances.

Having a simple tracking method will keep you on track when life gets busy, you get off track, or life gets in the way...because it will.

Here are a few ways you can begin tracking your progress:

  1. Keep a calendar and add an X every time you workout so you can visually see your progress.

  2. Have a reminder on your phone pop up.

  3. Keep track of how much water you are drinking each day.

  4. Add a healthy habit to your “To-Do” list that you can check off every day.

  5. Create a food journal so you can visually see what you’re eating and can assess whether you can or should make some healthier changes.

meal planning at kitchen table

03. Be Accountable

Accountability is probably one of the most overlooked parts of creating a healthy lifestyle. It’s also the #1 reason my clients say they are so successful.

We need accountability in our lives. Knowing that someone else is going through the same thing and working towards the same goals helps motivate you to keep going and stay on track.

For me, I feel very accountable to my followers and readers because I know I’m inspiring people when I show up and share my workouts, recipes, meal ideas, and so on.

Another way I stay accountable is meeting a friend at the gym. It keeps workouts fun and I’m less likely to skip knowing that she is meeting me there.

Accountability is external pressure to help you stay on track...but instead of making it a negative thing, make it positive!

Here are 4 ways to get you thinking about how to create some accountability into your life:

  1. Have a workout partner.

  2. Have someone check in with you to see how nutrition has been each week.

  3. Get a meal plan {check out my meal plans here!}

  4. Sign up for workout classes that get you excited about working out.

04. Don’t Give Up

Creating a healthy lifestyle and being intentional about what we’re eating and how we are living takes work.

And it can be hard.

I so want to sugar coat it for you but I know that’s not going to actually help. There will be days you just want to give up...days you’re tired or frustrated and just want to eat your emotions. There will be weeks you feel like a failure because you can’t seem to make it to the gym as often as you’d like.

It’s hard. But it is so worth it. And guess what! it does actually get easier!

But most of us give up too soon. We throw in the towel right before we were about to hit a turning point, right before choosing a healthy snack was going to get easier. Or right before going to the gym would start to be enjoyable.

We often give up too soon.

I want to encourage you to not give up. Is it going to be perfect? No. And that’s perfectly okay.

Refocus yourself. Go back through the first 3 ways I shared with you to help you start fresh. But don’t give up.

Because it is so worth it to create that healthy lifestyle.

To prevent yourself from giving up, you need to identify your own behavior: Identify when you are most likely to give up...is it in the evenings or when you get frustrated or stressed? Become aware of those triggers so you can fight against them next time.

meal prep mason jar salad


05. Get Back Up Again

When you mess up or get off track, or life gets in the way...get back up again. Don’t let it defeat you and make you feel like a failure.

We’re all going to have days or weeks where life just isn’t perfect and things come up or get in the way. This is all part of living a healthy lifestyle.

But it’s what you do AFTER you fall that truly matters.

Don’t let getting off track define you. Instead, shake it off, get back up, and continue on your journey towards health. Because following these steps with help you create consistency and consistency turns into habits and habits will turn into second nature and before you know it...you have created a healthy lifestyle that lasts.

Your brain will always want to do the easy thing. So make healthy habits the easy thing, and you’ll see the magic happen.

I want to cheer you on! Post below how you’re going to create a healthy lifestyle that lasts or send me an email at kara@lifewelllived.fitness!

And if you're looking for more accountability, want to learn to eat healthy,  lose weight without dieting or feeling deprived, and create a healthy lifestyle that lasts...I want to invite you to join my Summer Challenge starting June 4th! Click here for more information!