Every top athlete, musician, actress, and high performer has a daily routine. Some call it training and others call it practice. They go through a repetitive cycle of doing the same thing over and over. They don’t just do anything. They repeat the things that work to make them better at their chosen craft.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If we practice at the wrong things or at things that don’t work, then we make permanent habits that don’t help us. We must practice and repeat the things that move us in the direction of our desired outcome. With getting healthy, the things that work are eating a better diet, increasing our body movement, getting adequate rest and hydration, and working on keeping our mental health calm and focused.
When we approach weight reduction as we would any training routine, we will develop skills and habits that will lead us to a leaner and more fit body. When treating patients on our weight reduction program, patients who seriously do what the manual lays out always get amazing results. Those who modify the manual to their own liking always struggle. I am truly astonished when a person loses 12 pounds in 2 weeks on a specific plan, but at our two week visit asks when they can add back foods they like. Wait a minute. They just had the most amazing success and want to get away from this new routine.
Recently when asked that question, I replied, “What you’re really asking me is how can I continue this weight loss while eating foods that I want?” Yet that’s what got them here to begin with. I understand that our old routine of overeating, eating junk, and social overeating and drinking is a hard habit to break, but if we want a body that looks and feels and performs the way we want, change is a requirement. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
Building a new routine means replacing old unhelpful routines. It’s difficult to change everything in our life at one time. Start with one thing. Look for the one thing that is most likely the cause of our persistent weight gain. Maybe it’s night time eating. Maybe it’s work snacking. Whatever habit is not serving you must become the focus of our new routine. If we change this one habit and replace it with a good habit and repeat the process over and over, we will develop a new pattern that will be hard to break.
All of us have heard runners say that they feel bad on days they miss running. This running routine has been deeply ingrained in their routine and when missed makes them feel awkward or different. This can be developed with any habit. When we create a routine of eating a healthy breakfast each day, we will feel out of sorts if we miss a day down the road.
Good habits are hard to make and easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to make and hard to live with. We can choose which habits we want to create. Then we must set a training protocol and then we must do the work day in and day out until the new habit is firmly entrenched in our mind and our daily routine.
Find one thing that you want to change. Set up the plan. Take action. Yes, at first there will be setbacks. Don’t be discouraged. Be resolute. Keep at it until it becomes easier and feels like a necessary part of your day. You are then on your way to establishing a healthy habit for life.
Don’t get bored with healthy routines. Cherish them and they will lead to victory over poor health, excess weight, and a long and vibrant life. Our victory truly lies in our daily routine.