Healthy Habits for Success

Healthy habits don’t just happen. They take know-how, time, and commitment. If you’re ready to commit, JFK for Life‘sWellness Advisors and Registereed Dietitians can provide you with the knowledge and tools to develop healthy habits, eat in restaurants and social situations while following your dietary guidelines, and cope with cravings and emotional eating.

Steps to Developing Healthy Habits:

Many bariatric programs describe bariatric surgery as a tool patients can use to take control of their health. In addition to surgery, goal-setting skills are important tools that can help you achieve healthy habits. The following steps can help you set yourself up for success.

Step One: Do Your Homework

Lifelong habits start with information and knowing yourself. Spend some time researching online and speaking to someone whose diet and fitness habits you admire. Find out why they enjoy their habits and what keeps them going.

     Tips and Action Starters

  • Think about your current diet and physical activity habits, your time management skills, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your biggest fears and concerns.
  • Research fitness and cooking information, and browse through some magazines for inspiration.

Step Two: See Yourself Succeed

Once you’ve done your homework and grounded yourself with information, write down your objectives, a short description of them, and what you anticipate life will be like once you accomplish your objectives.

      Examples of Objectives

  • “After bariatric surgery, I want to lose 100 pounds, eat healthfully, and be physically active. I will take that vacation I have always wanted to go on.”
  • “I am going to have bariatric surgery. Before I have surgery, I am going to begin walking and eating more vegetables and whole grains. After surgery I will follow my bariatric program’s dietary and fitness guidelines. My goal is to lose 100 pounds and hopefully my type 2 diabetes, GERD, and asthma will resolve or improve.”

      Tips and Action Starters

  • Is your objective realistic? For example, if you currently weigh 350 pounds, a goal weight of 145 pounds may not be realistic. Our bariatric program will ensure that your weight loss objective is realistic.
  • Think about what you need to attain your objective: time, effort, knowledge, and resources.
  • Recognize your small successes, too. Sleeping better, going down one belt notch, being able to park further from an entrance—these are all successes!

Step Three: Come Up with an Action Plan

Once you’ve defined some objectives, it’s time to create an action plan. A plan plots your short- and long-term goals on a timeline. A plan should be specific so that you have realistic, but flexible, goals you can attain.

      Example of a Diet Plan

  • “For the first two weeks, I am going to record what I eat. I will use that to examine opportunities for eating more healthfully.”
  •  “After the first two weeks, I will begin eating healthfully by incorporating 25 grams of fiber per day in my diet. I will start by eating a bowl of oatmeal or a serving of yogurt sprinkled with high-fiber cereal for breakfast.”
  • “The third week, I will substitute five lean meats and low-fat versions of the foods I usually eat. Each week, I will introduce a new healthy choice.”
  • “I will measure portion sizes for the next six months.”

      Example of a Fitness Plan

  • “I am going to begin by walking for five minutes, five times each week.”
  • “After I am able to accomplish this goal for two weeks, I am going to add two minutes to each walk for the next two weeks.”
  •  “After four weeks, I am going to walk for 15 minutes, five times each week.”
  • “After two months, I am going to walk for 20 minutes, five times each week.”
  • “After three months, I am going to walk for 30 minutes, five times each week.”

      Tips and Action Starters

  • Be flexible about your plan. If it isn’t working, you will have to fine-tune it.
  • Plan upfront: Schedule your exercise time in advance, and plan your meals at the start of the week.
  • Be sure to include rewards throughout to recognize your accomplishments—big and small.

Step Four: Keep It Up

Developing a habit takes practice. For the first few months, you will be stress-testing your plan. Whenever you start a new habit, you are likely to encounter some challenges. When you do encounter a challenge, you will need to figure out a way to work through it.

       Example of Coping with a Diet Obstacle
You and your friends meet up at restaurants for get-togethers, and you’re not sure what to order.

  • Check the restaurant’s website to get a jump start on ordering.
  • Restaurant appetizers are often closer to an appropriate portion size than the entrées.
  • If you order an entrée, ask your server for a to-go box when it comes out and put half of your entrée in it immediately.

        Example of Coping with a Fitness Obstacle
You schedule a 30-minute fitness activity for Tuesday afternoons, but find that you consistently miss it or do         not have enough time for the full 30 minutes.

  • Exercise an additional 15 minutes two other days of the week or 10 minutes three other days.
  • Split your Tuesday physical activity into two sessions: Exercise for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.

       Tips and Action Starters

  • Use a planner or calendar as a food and fitness journal to help you visualize your progress.
  • Help yourself with reminders: Keep your sneakers out, and chop up fruits and vegetables to snack on.

Ready to get started? Call (732) 343-7484 today.