We all know that there are many advantages to living a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly prevents us from getting chronic illnesses, provides us with more energy, contributes to our mental well-being and prolongs our life. However, there are many challenges to switching to a healthy lifestyle.

Perhaps you want to make a change, but are afraid of failure. The first step to overcoming this fear is to identify the barriers holding you back. The next step is to create strategies to overcome these barriers. Finally, you must select the best solution and follow through with it. It’s always important to be realistic when setting your goals and creating plans to achieve them. You should also remember that it’s okay to ask your family, friends or a professional for help.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the common barriers people face when changing to a healthy lifestyle.

Time

Many of us have a busy schedule. Maybe you want to be healthy, but think that you don’t have time to cook healthy meals or go to the gym. So, how can you overcome this barrier? Well, it’s probably best to start small. Try cooking one healthy meal per week. Once you get used to this, try two or three. You can also try cooking several meals for the upcoming week on one day. Alternatively, you can look up recipes for quick, healthy meals.

The same principle holds for exercise. Try going to the gym once a week and gradually increase the number of visits. Or, work out at home for 10 minutes and gradually increase the duration of your workout session.

It’s important to make a healthy lifestyle a priority. So, learn ways to better manage your time or ask others how they do it.

Money

Sure, eating healthy can be expensive. Though it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you believe it is. You can save money on groceries by buying store brands, using coupons or taking advantage of a price match. Buying in bulk may also be a good idea if there’s a particular type of food you enjoy and will consume daily. Meal planning also goes a long way. You’ll save money because you likely won’t eat out on the spur of the moment.

When it comes to exercise, gym memberships can be pricey. If you can’t afford a gym membership, try a local community center instead. Or, buy some exercise equipment (such as dumbbells, yoga ball, resistance bands etc.) and work out at home. There are tons of free exercise routine videos on YouTube—many do not even require equipment.

Making healthy changes adds up in the long run. You’ll be sick less frequently and won’t miss work as much, leading you to save money on medications and hospital bills.

Confidence

Maybe you avoid going to the gym because you’re not confident or comfortable working out with others around you. As mentioned above, you can always work out at home instead, or find a friend who is also willing to make the change to a healthy lifestyle. You can go to the gym together, which is guaranteed to make it a fun experience. Another option is taking a fitness class, where you’ll be around the same people every week. You’re bound to make a new friend this way too.

It’s good to have a strong support system when it comes to making big changes in your life. If your friends and family don’t support you, there are always web-based communities you can join or professionals you can talk to.

Not Liking the Taste of Healthy Foods

Many people skip healthy foods because they don’t like the taste. It’s important to give everything a chance though. It often takes a while for us to get used to new foods, so try not to toss something aside after eating it just once.

There are a variety of ways to prepare food; perhaps you just need to find one that suits your taste buds. If you’re not a fan of spinach, for example, you can try blending it into a smoothie. Fruits often overpower the taste of spinach and other greens in smoothies. Or, maybe you can create healthy, delicious dips to eat with your veggies.

Remember, you don’t need to give up your favorite foods completely. Just eat them in moderation or switch the ingredients slightly to make them healthier. Take things one step at a time and you’ll see a huge difference eventually!

 

Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

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