I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to get used to a new routine. Now, I’ll be the first to openly admit that living a healthy lifestyle has always been far from a priority for me. Eating carbs and watching TV are a couple of my favorite things in life, and dieting and exercise are my least favorite. But I’m getting older now and my life is pretty fucking great (finally!), so I have a lot to live for, and that’s been a big motivator for me to start making some changes towards a healthier lifestyle. I’m not doing anything extreme like going vegan or quitting drinking and I don’t have a “weight loss goal” because it’s not about weight; it’s purely about health and being here for my husband and my fur kids for a long time to come.
The first thing I changed is my lunch menu. No more sandwiches or leftover mac n cheese for lunch. Instead, I have a big romaine salad full of veggies and some kind of lean protein like turkey or chicken. The first week, I was already getting sick of salad by day 4, but I groaned and ate it anyway. By week two, I was hating it less but still craving carbs. By the end of week 3, the carb cravings started to subside and I found myself looking forward to my salad. Now, it’s been over a month and I feel better then ever. It’s no longer a challenge. Physically, I can see a difference in how healthy my skin, hair, and nails look, and I’m mentally fresher than I’ve ever been.
The next thing I did was to make a point of drinking enough water. I’ve always been terrible about not drinking enough water, and dehydration can cause all kinds of health problems. So, from the moment I get up and start working until late afternoon, I drink at least 4-5 pint glasses of water. If I need an energy boost, I make a cup of tea in my Keurig. Water can get boring, so I started jazzing it up with cucumber and lemon. Not only is it delicious, but cucumber lemon water is known to help reduce belly fat.
The third thing I did was to implement an exercise routine that I can do in my apartment in about 15 minutes with a free weight. I know myself and I hate gyms. That’s never going to change. So I don’t try to force myself to go to the actual gym when I’m more comfortable exercising at home alone (well, except for my dogs staring at me and wondering what the fuck I’m doing). That’s been the hardest one to stick with when I’m busy working, but I’ve managed to do it.
After roughly a month of keeping up with these changes, I feel better than I have in a long time. I still enjoy my wine after work and reasonable portions of carbs for dinner and I won’t be getting up at 5 am to go to the gym ever because another important thing about life is being happy, so I’ve struck a balance between healthy and happy.
I think the reason a lot of people fail at lifestyle changes is that they try to enact drastic “all or nothing” changes overnight that make them miserable, and the deprivation of everything that they love drives them right back to “fuck it, I’m eating the whole box of mac n cheese” as opposed to “I’m going to have a carb-free lunch and allow myself a small portion of mac n cheese for dinner.”
What kind of changes have you made in your life, and did you find that they became easier after 21 days? Talk to me in the comments!