How To Trick Yourself To Better Health
You’re probably wondering why the heck I want you to trick yourself. I agree, that it’s a totally legit question, so please bear with me while I explain.
Some people find it really easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, skip the junk habits and get enough sleep and exercise. If you’re that kind of person then this article isn’t really for you. That is unless you are looking for a way to help a friend who’s finding it a challenge to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Of course, I’m not judging here – in fact, l I fall into the category of the ‘healthy lifestyle challenged’ myself. I’ve been trying to change this for years with all sorts of elaborate plans and schemes but I just haven’t been able to do it. That is, until now.
I can’t say that I’m leading a 100% healthy lifestyle yet, but there have been some major improvements since I started my last get healthy strategy, and it isn’t even a specific diet or fitness regime. That’s why I want to share it with everyone. I believe that if it works for me it will surely work for you!
You’re probably wondering what my big secret is – how I’ve become so much healthier than ever – you might even be thinking, “here it comes, she’s going to try to sell us something now…”
And you would be wrong.
My big secret is very, very simple:
It’s All In Your Mind.
See, that’s it! Something that most of us already know.
All you need to do to kick some of your very unhealthy habits is to change your mindset and basically to trick yourself into great health.
What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?
To start with, a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy weight (BMI) by eating and drinking healthy foods and exercising.
There are of course many other elements to being healthy, but just eating a healthy diet and exercising are the biggest blocks that most people have to breakdown.
Another very important aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is letting go of bad and unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and taking drugs. I never had any of those habits so I can’t say whether it is possible to ‘trick’ yourself out of them, I suggest contacting an expert for advice.
So How Do You Do It?
It may seem like it’s easier said than done. And, that is kind of true. It’s not that difficult to trick yourself, but it does take some time and getting used to.
I’ve made some excellent lifestyle changes by ‘tricking’ myself in two ways.
- I tricked myself into believing that I couldn’t eat/drink/do certain things.
- I make small tweaks to foods or drinks to change the way I think about them.
How I Tricked Myself Out Of My Bad Habits
I was a heavy soda drinker when I was younger. Like most habits, I didn’t really think about it too much. Thirsty, pop open a fizzy drink. Eating lunch, drink a soda.
I can’t recall exactly what happened to make me want to quit this sugary habit but I make a decision that I needed to stop drinking so much soda and become healthier. I completely changed my thoughts about soda, or rather, started thinking about it because I hadn’t really thought about it before.
I would remind myself that soda was responsible for bad teeth, I would run my tongue over my teeth after drinking soda and tell myself that I could feel a layer of sugar left there by the soda. The more I told myself this the more I started to avoid drinking soda and other sweetened, unnatural and unhealthy drinks. After a while I started to only drink water, and when I occasionally drank a soda I couldn’t even finish it. Now, even when eating out I only ask for water. I congratulate myself for not wasting calories on an unnecessary and unnatural drink and happily, without any guilt, dig into my food. This may seem like a small step, but to me it is huge. All I really did was program my brain to think about unhealthy soft drinks differently. It took a while, but I’m really happy with this lifestyle change.
This is only one example, but you can program your brain to believe anything, so why not try?
Another change I made to stop myself from overeating is I’ve accustomed myself to stop eating when I’ve had a big enough portion, even if I still seem to feel hungry. And then I’ll wait 20 minutes until the “you’re full” message reaches my brain. Before I started doing this I would keep on eating when I really didn’t need any more food. This one isn’t really a trick, but it does take a little getting used to.
Another way to change your eating habits is to eat slower. Chew every bite for longer and you will feel full quicker, causing you to eat less food. This ‘trick’ is actually backed by science, several studies have been conducted on this topic.
There you have it, a few of my tricks to eating in healthier way. Now let me tell you about how I tweak my food to make me want to eat it.
There’s been a lot of talk about how much water people need to drink a day. The consensus seems to be that it’s somewhere between 4 and 8 glasses, depending on body size. I try to drink 8 glasses of water a day – a goal I reach most days.
I’ve met so many people who say that they’d love to drink only water, but just can't drink plain water. This is where the tricking comes into it - take a jug of cold water, put some ice in it, a wedge or two of lemon and maybe some fresh mint leaves – and voila, you have a tasty refreshing drink, which can still be counted as one of your eight glasses. If you have a jug of ‘dressed up’ water with you during the day, you could probably drink as much as you need to without even noticing.
Other ways to ‘dress up’ water are by adding pieces of summer fruit, slices of cucumber, and fresh herbs. Drinking warm lemon water in the morning is a very healthy way to start the day and it also counts as one of your 8 glasses.
We’re all familiar with the 5 a day campaign and we all know that it’s really important to eat 5 different fruits and veg every day. But, some people don’t like veggies.
Before you reach out for the junk food instead of filling up on healthy fruit and veg I suggest tweaking your veggies to make them more appetizing to you.
5 Ways to Tweak Fruit and Vegetables
- Fruit and vegetables can be made into some seriously yummy smoothies or juices. If you like that kind of thing it’s worth investing in a good blender or juicer so you can make them at home.
- Vegetables that you don't particularity like can also be cooked in stews, quiches or pies, this will give them a completely different texture, look and taste.
- Turn your fruits and vegetable into salads. A delicious way to get your daily portions in one salad. Add a little dressing and you’re all set.
- Make your own healthy fries – in the oven. And, if you want to take it a step further, use sweet potatoes instead of regular ones, that way you’ll be getting more fiber, vitamins and minerals - and more taste!
- Add fruit to your cereal or porridge and vegetables to your omelets to make your meals more colorful, interesting and healthy.
Don’t feel like exercising? I feel you!
You can still burn those calories while having fun. Trick yourself into ‘working out’ until you feel healthy and fit.
Blast your music and dance around the house, walk around while you speak on the phone, park in the farthest spot, take a walk around your neighborhood with a friend. There are plenty of fun ways to become fit that you don’t really think of as exercising. The most important thing is to get off that couch and start moving!
Some Final Thoughts
I’m really happy with the healthy lifestyle changes that I’ve made just by changing my mindset and programming my own thoughts and beliefs and by making small tweaks to my diet. I wish you the same success.
These are just a few tricks to start living a healthy lifestyle. Once you’re there you’ll start looking for more ways to become and stay healthy, I can assure you.
Enjoy the journey, keep a positive attitude and don’t forget to laugh.