Following a challenging year, it may be difficult to get back into a healthy routine. Summer is a great time to think about what you can do to improve your health. Wherever you are on your journey to active and healthy living, there are things you can do to help you get or stay on track.
Try these tips to help manage your weight and stay active.
• Try to be active every day. Make physical activity a part of your daily routine rather than something you do occasionally. Invite a friend or family member to make it more fun and to help you stick with your goals.
• Think small. Small changes can add up to big results if you stay consistent. You don’t have to run a marathon or go on a strict eating plan to lose weight. Taking just a 10-minute walk every day or replacing your bowl of ice cream with a piece of fruit are great choices that can improve your health over time.
• Look for creative ways to be healthier. There are many ways to form healthy habits. Walk around a school track or a local park, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or try a hobby that keeps you moving, like gardening or dancing. Look for snacks low in added sugar and salt, like frozen or fresh fruit, hummus, and crunchy veggies.
• Reduce your “screen time.” We may not realize how much time we spend sitting still watching television, playing online games, or being on social media. Try turning off devices and take a walk, try a new sport with your loved ones, or create a playlist of favorite songs and have a dance contest.
• Be mindful of your eating habits. Keeping a food and beverage diary will make you more aware of what you eat and drink, which can help you make healthier choices. Many apps and online tools are available to help you track your meals.
Health is a lifelong pursuit and is more achievable when you turn healthy behaviors into habits. To do that, remember to:
• Be patient. Most people at some point in their lives try to become more active or lose weight. It’s not easy, but it is doable! If you stick to your plan, you can reach your goals.
• Be prepared for setbacks. It’s normal to have slip-ups on your health journey. Don’t feel bad or punish yourself. Instead, remember that creating new habits takes time.
• Celebrate successes. Losing weight and becoming more physically active are big achievements. Be proud of yourself for wanting to become healthier and for doing what you can each day to make that happen.
If you are not sure where to start, visit the NIDDK’s Body Weight Planner tool at www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp to set some calorie and activity goals. Also talk with your health care professional about appropriate goals based on your unique health and lifestyle.