Creating healthy habits to support your long-term health goals doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the less pressure you feel, the more likely you are to stick to your goals. While portion control, eating healthy and staying active do take some effort and dedication, you also want to avoid pushing yourself too hard. If you are overly restrictive with your calorie intake, your body can fight back by slowing your metabolism and igniting your hunger hormones in an effort to hang onto those excess pounds.

Change takes time and the slow and steady approach will ensure the healthy lifestyle upgrades you are making will become your new normal. When you try to overhaul your habits all at once seeking that instant gratification, you are more likely to go back to your old, less-than-healthy habits.

We’ve come up with some simple, no-stress habits the will help you ease into your new routine encouraging you stay the course.
Stock up on healthy snacks

You may have your meal plan all lined up, but when hunger unexpectedly strikes mid-afternoon and you just can’t wait until dinner, having a healthy snack on hand will avoid the temptation to hit the vending machine. Snacks should consist of lean protein, fiber and healthy fats to help sustain you until your next meal. Foods like cheese, nuts and fruits and veggies are always a great, non-processed choice.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Staying hydrated is a must when you are trying to lose weight. Many people confuse thirst for hunger, so if you are drinking water throughout the day, you will be able to tell more easily what you really need. Place a large reusable bottle of water on your desk at work and keep it full. If plain old H2O seems a bit too boring, try an infuser bottle where you can add things like cucumber or fresh fruit for a subtle flavor enhancement.

Join a support group

A support group can be anything from an organized weight loss group, a workout buddy or even an online Facebook support group like Bootique Fitness Inner Circle. Camaraderie is the key to supporting long-term goals. And when you have the opportunity to tap into your support system anytime, it’s a way to connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions, share your successes and gain the support you need when you are having one of those not-so-great days.

Give yourself something to look forward to

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it exciting by setting aside one day a month to treat yourself to dinner at a healthy new restaurant or invite your friends over to be your guinea pigs for a fun new recipe. When you have something to look forward to, it can help keep that excitement going and avoid the healthy food burnout that can come with constantly thinking about what you are consuming.

Move more, stress less

Stress is inevitable in life, but there are ways to combat it, and exercise is one of the best de-stressors around. By remaining active, you boost your feel-good endorphins which counters the effects of stress. Add to that ample sleep each night and eating healthy foods and you will be unstoppable.

Question: What tricks do you use to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle?