New Habits Worth Forming
Last updated: August 2022
Forming a new habit is hard. And as we get older, making new habits gets even more complicated! But when you are looking to improve your health, especially when you live with type 2 diabetes, small new practices can be monumentally beneficial! If you're trying to make a habit out of meal planning or exercising, these are a few ways to build those actions into routines.
How to make meal planning stick
Although it may seem intimidating, starting a meal planning process can benefit your overall health and stress levels. Not only will meal planning empower you to consume more balanced meals, but it can also decrease your time spent grocery shopping and may even lower your daily stress level. Here are a few easy steps to initiate a new meal planning habit.
Choose a day for planning
For example, you can set aside time every Sunday to think about the week ahead. Think about the mornings, afternoons, or evenings when your meals may already be covered (i.e., plans to eat at a restaurant).
Create a schedule and menu
Make a schedule for preparing meals and what you will eat for each meal. I like writing recipes on a whiteboard that magnetizes directly onto my refrigerator.
Make a grocery list
Compile a grocery list that includes any items you may need for ingredients you do not already have in your house. Try to stick with your meal schedule and grocery list as best you can. Of course, plans change, but if you can adhere closely to your menu, you will avoid food waste and last-minute meal decisions.
How to incorporate exercise into your routine
No one is shocked to see exercise make the list of new habits to try, right? Some common roadblocks to sticking with an exercise regimen can be:
- Lack of accountability
- Lack of time
- Difficulty level
These are all valid reasons why regular exercise can be so challenging!
Beat the boredom
There are countless ways to get active that don't include going to the gym, weight lifting, or going for runs. Walking, hiking, swimming, biking, gardening, and yoga all have their exercise benefits. Try to find an activity that gets you excited about movement.
Find a buddy
An exercise buddy can help you stay accountable and be a great way to catch up with friends. Can your spouse, sister, or best friend join you in your physical activity? You can even go for a short walk while on the phone with your accountability buddy.
Build in exercise breaks
While it may seem like you don't have the time to be active, even short bouts of activity throughout the day or 1-2 days per week will have health benefits.
A recent study published in JAMA found that only exercising on the weekends is still beneficial. The study determined that adults who participate in 150 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week may experience similar health benefits whether the sessions are spread throughout the week or concentrated on a weekend.1
How to break a habit
Another essential lifestyle change can be breaking habits that aren't serving you or your health. If you have been considering quitting smoking, for example, speak with your physician about the many options available that could be best for you!
Whatever habits you form or break, know that putting your health first is always a step in the right direction. Healthy changes can help raise your energy level, slow diabetes progression, and even encourage those around you to make the same changes.
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