Saturday 10 October 2015

Seven simple steps to a fitter, happier and healthier you

Mind your step

Declan Coyle

Published 13/05/2014 | 02:30

Two out of three adults in the US are overweight.
Two out of three adults in the US are overweight.

I was in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California recently and saw obesity all around me. Two out of three adults in the US are overweight. Some are huge.

For the first time, obesity is a greater threat to health worldwide than hunger. In the US they spend $40bn a year on diets, but for 19 out of 20 people, all they lose is their money. So don't diets work? They do.

In Stanford University, they examined the four most popular weight-loss programmes in the United States to discover what works and what doesn't. They found all the programmes worked if the people used them, but that people rarely used them.

So the secret to wellness is not the diet or exercise, but rather in finding a way to enjoy the food you eat and the exercise you take. Diets don't work because people don't stick to them. What works is creating new habits that lead to the results you want for the rest of your life.

Here's seven steps for real and lasting change:

1 Intention You must have a positive intention to change, backed up with a powerful reason.

2 Personal Motivation Have a picture or image of your goal. See, feel, and believe in the future the goal will bring you. By thinking about the pleasure a good habit will bring, you make the habit more enjoyable.

3 Personal ability This is all about learning when the crucial moments come and paying attention to the signals of stress. Instead of eating the wrong food between meals, have a snack on an apple or pear.

4 Social Motivation and ability You are the average of the five people you hang out with. Find people who will encourage and motivate you to make the change.

5 Financial Motivation Think of the money you could save by not buying biscuits or treats. Hundreds of euro over a year. Now imagine what you could do with that money.

6 Environment Stop going to the places where you built up your bad habit – coffee shops or cafes may be your nemesis. Change your environment and go to a different place like a swimming pool or out in the hills for a run.

7 Bring joy to the process Keep it simple and make it fun. If you slip up and go back to your old habit, you have a choice. You can become depressed or curious. If you get depressed, you'll blame yourself and become discouraged. But if you become curious, you will stand back and learn from what happened. Turn your failure into success.

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