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Healthy living burnout is a thing and when it happens, it sucks. Learn how to prevent it so you can live healthy without feeling like giving up.
Here's a little backstory of the majority of my healthy living attempts:
I get it in my head that it's time to be healthy because something inspires me. I swear off desserts, or processed foods, or eating out, or something else that I deem is bad for me. I come up with an awesome workout schedule. I'm positive this will be the time I actually stick with it because I'm going all in.
A day goes by and I'm good. I feel great. I work out and my meals are delicious. Life is amazing. Why didn't I do this sooner?
Day two comes around and that donut sounds really good, but I stay away. Working out sounds less appealing because I'm sore from day one so I choose an easier workout. My confidence in this plan is wavering.
Day three is here and that donut is the only thing I can think about. I forgo the workout because I'm busy, or sore, or some other excuse I think is valid. None of my meals taste good and I'm a bit of a grump. I know where this is headed.
Day four that donut is now mine. It tastes amazing, but is served with a heaping side of guilt. Working out doesn't even cross my mind other than “Nope, not gonna happen.” I go to bed knowing the inevitable is near.
Day five and I'm back to my old habits. Never-ending pasta bowl, here I come.
Rinse and repeat every month or so.
Sound familiar? I can't be the only one that does this. Getting ultra healthy sounded easy, but it never ended up the way I planned. Healthy living burnout was a real thing for me. Repeatedly. And I just didn't know what to do about it.
It wasn't until recently that I realized it wasn't about the perfect plan or giving up the things I loved. And it certainly wasn't about going all in and forgetting that life will always get in the way of even my best ideas.
In order to prevent healthy living burnout, I needed to incorporate it into my life. Healthy living needs to be a lifestyle, not a one-time drastic change that solves all your problems. I needed to find a way to build that momentum and not use up all of my motivation in a day or two.
So I set out to figure out what would help me to prevent healthy living burnout. And I realized it really didn't take much. The inspiration to figure out these seven steps came from Health Warrior, a superfood company that believes better health will build a stronger society.
The Health Warrior mission is to inspire healthy diet and exercise habits (exactly like what I was hoping to find). Health Warrior was founded in 2010 by college friends, Dan, Nick and Shane. The former collegiate athletes used to approach food as calories to burn during hours of daily sports practices. But after entering their professional lives, that carefree approach to nutrition met cold, hard, desk-bound reality. They went from running between meets and games to meetings and daycare pick-ups. They eventually learned that what matters is the quality of calories over quantity.
That sentence is really what helped me figure out the ways I could prevent healthy living burnout. It's not about the quantity of workouts, quantity of bad foods I avoid, or quantity of things I miss out on to achieve that “perfect” body. It's about the quality of life that I live and the choices that I make every single day. The better quality of life I was living = the better choices I made. It was really that simple.
So if you're in need of some tricks to prevent that dreaded healthy living burnout and live a better quality life, I've got you covered.
Seven Tips on How to Avoid Healthy Living Burnout
Change up your workouts: Do not become a creature of habit with your workout. You're more likely to stop challenging yourself AND get bored. So add in some low intensity training to follow-up your high intensity workouts. Skip the gym and head outdoors. Try a machine you've never tried before. Go to a new class that you've wanted to try. Attempt a new sport. Change up your workout music. Workout with someone else if you normally workout solo.
There are plenty of ways to change up your workouts so that you can find the ones that best suit you. Then you can incorporate them into your regular workout routine so you never get bored.
Track your progress: You won't know what to celebrate if you're not tracking your progress! And this goes way beyond the scale. Your weight is not the best way to track your success, I promise. Track the amount of reps you do. Track how fast you run a mile. Track how long you can hold a pose. Track your measurements (chest, waist, muscles, etc). There are SO many things you can track!
Track whatever you'd like whenever you need to, and then review the progress each week. Then push yourself to do a little bit more or to keep up the same pace.
Allow yourself to rest: Rest days matter. Your body needs time to recover and it can't do that if you're always go, go, go. Give your muscles the time they need to rebuild (even stronger than they were before) by resting. Focus on getting enough sleep, water, and downtime after a workout and wait a day or two in between moderate to high intensity workouts for the best results.
Rest days are great days to focus on low intensity activities like walks, cleaning, playing with your fur babies or tiny humans, etc. We also love to use these days for a pool day for the whole family. They're also great days to …
Celebrate your accomplishments: Every minute you work out and every rep you do matters. Every. Single. One. And every single minute/rep is something worth celebrating. It's one more minute that you spent focusing on being healthier when you could have just been sitting there, eating junk food. So celebrate these moments! Give yourself a goal and reward yourself.
Goals might include: X amount of workouts in a week, X amount of time working out, X amount of reps, X amount of inches lost, etc. Rewards might include: A new pair of gym shoes, new hiking gear, a massage or facial, a nice (healthyish) meal out, new workout clothes, etc.
Vary your foods: If you choose one tip out of these seven to use to prevent healthy living burnout, choose this one. Seriously. The rest matter too, but without this one, healthy living burnout is a guarantee for me. I won't tell you what to eat, but I will tell you to try to make smart choices that involve a lot of variety. Find new ways to cook fruits or vegetables, make healthy swaps, try new foods, or find snacks that meet your needs now that you’re more active.
I highly recommend the Health Warrior Chia Bars for snacks. Not only are chia seeds (an amazing superfood) the main ingredient, they're also only 100-110 calories. They're made of real ingredients with only 4-5 grams of sugar. These bars are great for curbing your appetite as chia seeds absorb water and swell to help keep you more full. They taste delicious and have a variety of flavors so you'll never get bored. But if you have to pick one to start? My vote is Chocolate Peanut Butter. YUM!
Head over to the Health Warrior website for 30% off your entire order when you use the promo code sayhellonature30 at checkout!
You can eat healthy on a budget, too! Click over to see some easy tips to implement.
Find a workout buddy: If you can, find someone interested in the same workouts as you are. Maybe they go to the same class or like the same activities. This was a huge game changer for me when Nathan and I both found a workout program we loved. But if there's no one in your life like that, no problem! Find someone that has similar goals (lose weight, tone, gain muscle, etc) and push each other to work out. Check in with them weekly, help each other when you're struggling, and celebrate together.
Don't have someone that can be that positive influence in your life? Don't be a stranger – reach out to me! I'm all for connecting with others who are hoping to live a healthy life like I am. I'd be happy to help cheer you on, be that nudge when you're thinking of calling it quits, or to celebrate with you from afar when you achieve that goal!
Indulge a little: Now I gave you all of this healthy living insight, but I'm going to tell you to ignore it all – every so often. Have that donut. Skip that workout. Go out for happy hour. Whatever you do, it's okay if you do it without guilt as long as it's with intention. Make the intentional choice to do it and stay committed to the big picture. Get right back to your healthy living routine the next day or even that same night.
Treating yourself is not a bad thing. It can be an AMAZING thing. What is a bad thing is when you deprive yourself of something you love. It's like telling a kid not to do something. Guess what? They want to do it even more. By allowing yourself to indulge a bit, you're getting rid of that “must have” mindset that overcomes your thinking. You learn to appreciate it, enjoy it, and then shake off the guilt that usually follows a “bad decision.”
That's it! These seven tips have helped me prevent healthy living burnout for a few months now and it's been amazing. I've never felt healthier and the on the wagon, off the wagon feeling is long gone. I have bad days here and there, but they're followed by good days filled with good for me decisions.