Small Changes

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Small changessmall changes

Whether we think about it or not, we have all made changes for better or worse over our lifetimes. Most of the time, these changes occur without us even realising they are happening – especially the ‘bad’ ones!

Whether you’re trying to cut down on sugar, get fitter, lose weight, or even learn an instrument – the number one key message is to take small steps toward your goal. If you have ever tried to ‘diet’, upped the intensity of your exercise regime too quickly, or simply ‘over-committed’ to work or family challenges – you have more than likely experienced some symptoms of ‘burn-out’.

Burn-out is what happens when we attempt to take on more than we can handle and carry this on for ‘x’ amount of time. Everyone will have a different point at which this burn-out will occur, and depending on your lifestyle it will present either as physical fatigue, or mental and emotional exhaustion. Sound familiar?

A common remedy for dealing with burn-out is to take a break from the activity if possible, assess the situation and try to work out where it was that you went ‘too far’ so as to not let it happen again.

To use ‘dieting’ as an example – ‘burn-out’ is precisely why they DO NOT WORK. Especially if said diet requires you to make drastic changes to the eating regime you have more than likely practiced for the past few decades…

For some, moving toward a healthy eating regime can seem like an extremely daunting task. And believe me, it can be! Trying to change too many things in your diet at once will likely end in disaster. If this is something you are trying to do, consider the following advice I borrowed from a truly inspirational website you may like to check-out for yourself:

  • Focus on one thing at a time. If this is one less sugar in your coffee, switching from white to brown bread, switching from blue top to light blue top milk or diluting your fruit juice 2:1– work on one thing at a time, and as hard as it seems, be patient.
  • ‘Don’t try and ditch all the things that you love’. Try to find enjoyment in the small changes you are making – they will be much easier to maintain this way. A very relatable example of this concept could be slowly transforming a favourite meal. Take something like sausages, or meat pies (which are, let’s be honest, of very poor nutritional quality). If they have been a staple in your diet for some time, it might be very hard to say goodbye entirely… A little tip, try increasing the nutritional quality of what you have with the stickler food item you can’t shake – such as wholegrain bread instead of white, or half a plate of vegetables instead of none at all! Catch my drift? Eventually, as you develop a ‘taste’ for other foods, you may find you just don’t have room in your day for foods of inferior nutritional quality.

Why then, do we always try to change too much too fast? In short – it is becoming the norm to expect this of others and of ourselves and over the years, we have become deconditioned to having to wait for things. It is also common to feel pressure from society, to make big gains (or lose them), because hey, if the people on social media can do it, so can I! The end result being burn-out and ultimately a sense of guilt and failure.

Make sure that when it comes to committing to long term change – behaviours are driven by you, have meaning for you and are enjoyable for you.

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