Boredom is often the one simple reason many people turn to excess snacking. Without something to occupy your time, it is easy to fool yourself into thinking you are truly hungry. Even if you choose nutritious snacks, eating when you aren’t hungry and eating too much are not healthy practices. Go from bored to productive and save on calories with these ideas.
Make a Plan
Grab your notepad or your smartphone, and get busy making lists and planning. Make your grocery list for the week, map out your workouts for the next month, check off what you’ve accomplished today, and update your food diary and exercise log. Not only will these activities keep you away from the snack bag, they will promote organization, which is a big part of a healthy lifestyle.
You don’t need a special spot or an instructor to meditate. You can sit quietly, breathe deeply, and close your eyes at any point throughout the day. Whether it is 5 or 30 minutes, this quiet time will calm you and help you regain the focus you need to make healthy decisions.
Whether you are sitting or standing, a quick stretch will help you feel rejuvenated and get your mind off of snacking. Simple side bends, touching your toes, and flexing your feet can elongate and energize the muscles. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and breathe deeply.
Read Five Pages
We all have a book we’d like to finish, but have little time to sit down and read. Keep your book or tablet nearby for when boredom strikes. Even if you can only get through a few pages, your mind will move away from snacking and you will be that much closer to your reading goal.
Assess Your Progress
Evaluating your progress is an essential part of reaching your health goals, but time can fly by quickly making it easy to skip this step. When you feel boredom coming on, use this time to record your measurements and evaluate your workouts or eating plan. You can even drop down and do a set of push-ups or crunches to assess how much you’ve improved. Not only will your boredom disappear, but seeing your progress will help keep you on track with healthy eating.
Everyone has past goals they did not accomplish. Stop beating yourself up about the 5 pounds you didn't lose before vacation or the 10K race you didn't finish. Dwelling on those things only creates barriers between you and your fitness potential. Wipe the slate clean, and start from scratch with your goal planning. Assess where you are in your fitness journey, and set your goals based on who you are today.
Focus On Motivating Activities
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn't mean you have to love every activity. If you struggle to find exercises that you enjoy, start evaluating what motivates you. What puts you in a good mood and increases your energy levels? Is it being surrounded by nature or an upbeat song? Maybe you are energized by being with others or feel renewed after spending time alone. All of these factors can help you determine the right exercise for you. Also remember that not all workouts have to take place in a gym. Hiking or trail running may be the perfect fit. Maybe hip-hop or ballroom dance classes would make you excited to get moving. Focus on what uplifts your spirits and motivates you, and then set your fitness goals around these activities.
Find a Balance and Push Yourself
The general guideline still stands that your goal should be achievable. When you set unrealistic goals like losing 10 pounds in a week or trying to run a 5K with no training, you only set yourself up to fail. At the same time, safely pushing yourself can force you to step out of your comfort zone and accomplish more than you thought possible.
Your goals should have balance. They need to be achievable, but just far enough out of your reach that they motivate you. Have you always wondered if you could run a half marathon? You can. People just like you do it every day. The key is to find the right training plan that will help you prepare based on your current fitness level. Want to squat huge weights like the bodybuilders that motivate you? Pick up a barbell you can handle now and work your way up. Everyone has to start somewhere and push themselves to reach challenging goals.
Pick One and Be Specific
Having too many lofty goals can complicate your efforts. You will struggle with which to focus on, and you may not achieve any of them. Pick the one thing you want to accomplish. It might be for this quarter or for this year. Avoid general goals like losing weight or healthier eating. What is the one goal that will truly influence your health? For example, cutting out soda will have several benefits. If you don't replace those calories, you will lose weight. You will also reduce your added sugar intake and reduce your intake of caffeine. This is an example of a specific goal that will result in the general positive changes you seek.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle isn't always the result of big accomplishments and major changes. Often it’s the small, permanent adjustments you make that will have the most impact on your health.
Take at least one 5-minute brain break daily.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, taking a short 5-minute break throughout your workday can increase concentration and alertness, reduce stress, and is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI). Stand up and stretch. Perform some deep breathing exercises, or go for a short walk around the building.
Choose one daily habit that you can make healthier.
You likely have something you do every day as part of your normal routine. Maybe you stop by the coffee shop every morning before work, or perhaps you must sit down and watch your favorite television show every night. Take a look at your habits and identify what you could do to make them healthier. Maybe you can order your favorite coffee with less syrup or reduce the amount of cream you add to each cup. Do some crunches or push-ups during the commercial breaks while watching TV. Soon your days will be filled with healthier habits that can help you reach your fitness goals.
Do at least one physical activity each week that isn't part of your workout.
Increasing activity throughout your day is as important as your regular workouts. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time, even if you exercise, is linked to an early death from causes like heart disease and cancers. Identify ways to add more movement outside of your regular workouts. Start by adding one new thing each week. Bike or walk to work or to complete nearby errands. Meet friends for a hike on the weekend. Take a break during the work day to walk up and down a few flights of stairs at the office.
Make one new healthy recipe each week.
It is easy to get into a rut, eating the same healthy foods day in and day out. This sets you up for disinterest in your food and cravings for less healthy options. By regularly introducing a new food or recipe into your meal plan, you can keep things exciting. You’ll discover new ways to prepare healthy foods. Find some recipes you would like to try and make at least one new one each week.
Record your accomplishments every month.
As you strive to reach larger goals, you might not fully recognize the small changes that took place to get you there. Devote a notepad or journal to your accomplishments. At the end of each month, or throughout the month, write down everything you accomplished. Include everything from eating an extra serving of vegetables to doing a full set of lunges without a break. When you start to feel discouraged, look back at these lists. They are proof of how far you've come and serve as motivation to stick with it.
Set a new fitness goal every 3 to 6 months.
Don’t lose sight of your goals. They are important for keeping you motivated and improving your fitness. Pick a new goal every 3 to 6 months to keep your workouts interesting. Sign up for a triathlon, learn how to kayak, or learn a martial art. Use your goals to step out of your exercise comfort zone and try something new. By regularly incorporating new goals, you will adjust your workouts to achieve them, preventing exercise boredom.
A negative attitude can ruin your motivation and make you unpleasant to be with. Develop a positive attitude and you quickly become a happier, more motivating person. The next time you are tempted to make a negative comment about nutritious eating and exercise, remember these four things to improve your outlook and your health.
Stop Labeling Things as Good or Bad
It’s easy to look at things as either good or bad, but labeling every choice you make in this way sets you up for a poor self-image. It starts with labeling foods as good or bad, then that same attitude extends to how you view yourself. You were good yesterday and bad today. Then, instead of getting the full enjoyment out of having an occasional dessert, you consider yourself bad for having a treat. Make a conscious effort to stop using the labels, good and bad. Replace “I was good yesterday” with “I felt great yesterday.” Instead of saying, “I’m going to be bad and order cake,” say, “I’m going to enjoy a piece of cake.”
Limit the Use of the Word Healthy
The word healthy helps to define a food or activity that is good for you, but it can easily be overused. By saying you are going to be healthy today, you are indicating that this isn’t a normal practice. Once you stop labeling a salad as a healthy lunch and simply consider it lunch, being healthy becomes your normal way of living. You don’t have to call it healthy, it is part of who you are, the choices you make, and how you choose to live.
Drop the Judgements
You are more than what you choose to eat and how you choose to exercise. Eating nutritious foods and being active are important components of a healthy lifestyle, but you are not a bad person if you choose to skip a workout. Stop judging yourself based on these criteria. Embrace that you need a day off from the gym, stay mindful, and enjoy it. The more you judge yourself, the worse you will feel about yourself. This only leads to a poor attitude that can get in the way of reaching your fitness goals. Work around the limitations you have, and find ways to include healthy habits. When you fall short, don’t beat yourself up about it. Recommit and make tomorrow better.
Use, I Get To
When you say, “I have to,” you put the task into the same category as a chore. It signals to you that it’s not necessarily something you enjoy. By simply using the phrase “I get to,” you completely change your outlook on the activity. “I get to” reflects a privilege and something that you look forward to. Try it for a day, and see how this phrase can improve your outlook.
Try replacing high-calorie cocktails with apple cider flavored with cinnamon sticks.
Step back from the high-calorie foods and stop stressing about missed workouts. Grab the family, and have fun with these healthy ways to celebrate the holidays.
Recipe Redo Competition
Everyone is looking for ways to lighten up favorite holiday foods without sacrificing traditional flavor. Create a competition within your family to see who can creatively adapt the most delicious dish. Assign everyone a recipe and give them the challenge of making it healthier. This might be by reducing the calories or saturated fat, increasing vitamins and minerals, or using fewer processed ingredients. Select a healthy reward for the person who creates the best dish.
Get Your Friends Moving
This time of year offers many opportunities to connect with friends. Instead of meeting for lunch or for happy hour, find ways to make your quality time beneficial to your physical health and emotional health. Sign up for a walk or run to support your favorite charity. Volunteer to pick up donations in your neighborhood or to make and deliver healthy holiday meals on bike or foot. The time together will allow you to catch up, incorporate activity, and feel good about helping others.
Create a Holiday-themed Workout
Get your workout in as a family and get into the holiday spirit. You don’t need much space to create a circuit workout, and if the weather is tolerable, bundle up and take it outside. Think of all the ways you can incorporate the holidays into the session. Play upbeat holiday music. Use a string of garland as a jump rope or as a marker on the ground for a side-to-side hop. Let a heavier, non-breakable wrapped gift serve as a weight to hold during lunges or squats. Make it fun and let each family member create a station. Do each exercise for 60 to 90 seconds, and then switch until you have completed a 20 to 30 minute workout.
Host a Party to Help Others
Invite friends over for your traditional holiday party, but change the focus of the afternoon. Grab the boots and coats and help shovel snow for neighbors who are unable to do so, or volunteer to help put up holiday decorations. There are many people who can use assistance this time of year, and the activity will help you burn calories.