For many of us, heading back to school means we’re establishing a new routine to carry us through the next ten months! While this might sound daunting, it’s actually a great opportunity to throw out old unhealthy habits and start anew.
If it’s on your to-do list to get fit, lose a little weight, learn a new skill or make other changes in your life, this is the time! The beauty of September is that everything is in flux, so it’s easier than usual to break free of a vicious cycle. Here are a few ideas to help you build healthy habits to carry you through the school year:
Re-think Packed Lunches
If you have kids, the way you shop for groceries will most likely change once they go back to school. Take a few minutes to really think about the food choices you’re making as these will carry you through until next summer.
Instead of combing the aisle for perceived healthy, pre-packaged snacks for lunchboxes, can you build in time to your weekly schedule to make healthy, home made snacks with the kids instead? Some great, easy options for healthy home made snacks are:
- Granola bars
- Energy balls
- Fruit leather
Embrace Modern Conveniences
Consider signing up for a weekly home delivery grocery service. Not only is it super convenient, but it will force you to set aside time each week to plan your meals and be thoughtful about what you really need, better enabling you to plan for the week ahead and buy healthy foods.
Make the Best of a Busy Schedule
While you’re signing the kids up for their extracurricular activities, see if there’s anything close by that you can also engage in. If your kids are playing soccer, is there a track at the same field you can jog around? If your kids are at swimming lessons, is there a gym in the same building where you can work out?
Make Healthy Habits a Goal
Stop focusing on things like a target weight or running 5k in under 30 minutes and start concentrating instead on simply sticking to healthy habits. Going for a jog twice a week and cycling to work every other day is much more manageable than trying to stick to an intensive training program that requires you to find ten extra hours a week to run in pursuit of a half marathon.
Likewise, focusing on a singular goal, like losing 10 lbs, can easily lead to unhealthy yo-yo dieting. You’re more likely to eat poorly and starve yourself to achieve your goal, then simply regain all that weight (and more!) once you go back to a standard unhealthy diet.
Instead of putting all this stress on mind and body, change your mindset to one where eating your 8 fruits and vegetables a day is the equivalent of brushing your teeth. We barely have to muster any effort to brush our teeth because it is such an ingrained habit. Establish the attitude where healthy eating and exercise are just a routine part of your day and you’ll conserve the mental energy you usually use up trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym.