Healthy Habits for Life
Step 4 of Living Healthy on a Budget: Keeping Track of Your Healthy Habits.
Now that we’re making healthy menus and shopping strategically for healthy food, what’s going to keep us accountable? How can we keep track of our newfound Healthy Habits and make sure that they don’t fade away?
Honestly, I know that this isn’t the easy way to live life nowadays. It’s not convenient short term and it requires constant vigilance. It’s easy to grow lax and give up on our healthy habits. Trust me, I’ve done it MANY times.
This time around though, I am holding myself accountable. I am surrounding myself with a community that understands and encourages my healthy habits. That won’t let me back down because it gets hard or I want to do the easy thing.
The word habit implies something that you just do. You don’t have to think about it, it just comes naturally.
The problem with developing healthy habits is that it’s (sadly) not the societal norm anymore. Everytime you turn around, you’ll see reminders of what you are sacrificing (let’s remember these are short term sacrifices though, the pay off long term far exceeds the current sacrifice!).
Maybe you are envious of the mom who can buy the $.69 cent loaf of white bread at the grocery store. You have to spend a bit more or you have to go home and actually make the loaf yourself. How easy things are for her!
She just throws the cheap loaf of bread in her cart and carries on.
That’s her decision, and it’s not for anyone else to judge (I really want to make that clear. We don’t know why she needs that bread. Her finances might be such that that is all she can afford. Throwing that loaf of bread in her cart might NOT be easy for her. It might pain her, upset her, frustrate her. We don’t throw stones here at Family Friendly Frugality). But you know that’s not the decision you’ve made. So you (begrudgingly) carry on, becoming more and more resentful of how heavy your burden to live healthy weighs on you.
Wait a second though, don’t you remember how excited you were to take charge of your health? To develop healthy habits, so that your family could have better health longterm? Where did that enthusiasm go?
This is why we need to keep track of our healthy habits.
Luckily, there are several methods to make sure your healthy habits stick.
:: Support For Keeping Track of Healthy Habits
Depending on the level of support you are hoping for, you can either try a method that involves an online community, an in person group setting or if you are more personal and private, you can just do it on your own.
Spark People– Keep track of calories. Join groups of likeminded folk. Set goals and record your healthy habits for the community to see.
Livestrong– Similar to Spark People but a bit more streamlined and a bit less overwhelming. That said, this community has some hard core athletes, so if you might find that intimidating, you might look elsewhere.
In Person Support
Weight Watchers Group Meetings– There is also an online forum for Weight Watchers that I found VERY supportive during the time I lost 40 lbs on Weight Watchers. The forum is free, but Weight Watchers is not. However, I think it’s the one “diet plan” that is well worth the money. You can sign up here to do Weight Watchers online (save when you do the 3 month bundle up front) or you can sign up here for Weight Watchers meetings in your area. Weight Watchers fully believes in building healthy habits.
Local Yahoo Groups- Head on over to Yahoo and look for healthy living groups in your area. See if they meet anywhere on a regular basis. If so, meet up with them! Get involved in the community.
On your own, or just with your family?
I find when I’m expecting to hold myself accountable for something, having it in my face repeatedly (especially in the early days) is so important. This means I need constant visual reminders of why I’m doing what I’m doing and why it’s better than the alternatives.
I created this fun little sign for my refrigerator. I always look in the fridge when I am writing up my grocery list, and this is a constant reminder of why choosing the best foods for my family (while still remembering that, hey! I know how to coupon! And saving a bit of money in the process!) means so much to me.
Feel free to print it if you like (it’s formatted to fit an 8×10 sheet of paper. You will need to download it to your computer first). I made it so I could share it with others as well!
I also have started keeping track of how many fruits, veggies and whole grains I have each day on a fun Healthy Habit Checklist. Counting calories tends to overwhelm me, but I’m working towards that (I have a decent amount of weight to lose, so I really do need to keep track of my calories).
I created my checklist by filling out the information here on ChooseMyPlate.gov and finding out what they recommend my serving sizes should be for my calorie level. This way even though I’m not strict calorie counting, I’m making sure I’m eating the proper variety/amounts of the foods my body needs.
I just stick the page into my planning binder and mark off as I go throughout my day. It’s a consistent reminder that I have healthy habit goals I need to keep track of daily.
If I get towards the end of the day and I see that my fruit and veggie consumption has been low, I really think twice about having a treat.
:: Not A Diet Plan…A Building Healthy Habits Plan
Now, this series is not a diet plan, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that part of my desire to live healthy is because I am overweight and I do need to lose weight.
You might be able to keep up your healthy habits without the use of checklists or support groups.
If not though, I hope you’ll find this post helpful. I hope you’ll feel encouraged and I hope you’ll keep those healthy habits going strong!
What do you use to keep track of your Healthy Habits?