Heart Choices: The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle -->

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The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

What's the key to a healthy lifestyle?  You might be thinking that it must be a particular diet or fasting or exercising like a maniac.  I don't think so.  People lose weight all the time.  But so many of them gain it back ...plus more.

I believe the key to a healthy lifestyle is creating and establishing healthy habits.

I want to share something I read years ago.

I Am Called Habit

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am at your command.

Half of the tasks that you do you might just as well
turn them over to me and I will do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed; you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done.
After a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great people
and the regret of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine but I will work with all its precision
plus the the intelligence of a person.

Now you may run me for profit or you may run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me and
I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

I am called Habit!

(author unknown)

For many years, I was in the habit of exercising daily.  Stressful circumstances caused me to get out of that habit.  I fed my emotions with sweets and popcorn.  It was amazing to me that after a few months, my habits changed and not for the good.  I stopped exercising except for an occasional walk.  The result?  I gained about twenty pounds and felt tired all the time.  Now you  may be thinking that twenty pounds is nothing.  Maybe you need to lose 40 or 50 pounds.  But remember that each person is different.  I'm thankful that I made the decision to stop before it got worse.

Habits take time to develop.  For years, I read that the magic number was 21 days of consistency.  But recently I came across a site called The Health Behavior Research Centre Blog.  They challenge that number with their own research.  They claim it takes 66 days to form a new habit.  That means performing the new behavior consistently for 66 days.

Regardless, all I can say is ...

  • Start exercising and keep doing it
  • Think of it as something you do before leaving your house, like brushing your teeth
  • Rethink your breakfast by adding fresh fruit instead of going through McDonald's
  • Learn to drink your cup of coffee black instead of adding creamers
Whatever change you are trying to make, hang in there.  It obviously takes time to establish new habits. But I do believe they are key to a healthy lifestyle.

Here's what I'm doing.  I've been consistent for the past two weeks in my exercise.  I have my exercise clothes all ready the night before.  I take my water, my Kindle and I get on my treadmill.  This works for me and is something I know I can do.  I've tried gym memberships and it doesn't work for me.  I need something easy and available first thing in the morning.  I do my treadmill for 40 minutes right now.  I started at 30 minutes but worked up.  I plan to increase my time a bit more over time.  But I get to read my Kindle Fire while I work out.  Who says they don't have time to read?

I also have my hand weights available.  I have a series of exercises I accomplish every other day.  I do 12 reps two times for each exercise.  I then use my mat and do stretching and a few Pilates moves I learned from my neighbor and exercise guru Caroline.  I'm pretty much done with it all within an hour.  My weight is down three pounds.  You might be thinking that's not much but I'm OK with that. I'd rather do slow and steady and ...be consistent.

So let's get personal.  Are there a few habits in your life that are sabotaging your success in creating a healthy lifestyle?  Have you ever tried committing to being consistent in your exercise?  Is there a new habit you'd like to create?

I'm linking up with Kim of Making 40 Fantastic for Weigh-in Wednesday.  I encourage you to visit Kim as she always has great tips.  If you're a blogger, feel free to join in and link up your post.

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. LOVE this post!!! SO much great truth! You're right -- making healthy living a habit is so so key. I've spent the last 9 months emotionally eating rather than making the right choices. Accountability and encouragement from others in the journey is so key for me. THanks so much for the great post and for linking up Friend!!!

  2. Debbie, it sounds like you are on a roll! Other than 2 mile dog walks every day, I have not been exercising. At all. I'm changing that this week and am committing to getting consistent exercise. I'm not sure if it is 21 days or 66 to form a habit. It might be somewhere in the middle, but I know that it is more than a day or two! Nice Post!

  3. Ok, so the 66 days thing actually makes me feel better. Because I was thinking today "man, I've done XYZ for 21 days, why does it never stick for 40 days!" I need to be more diligent with my exercise. I like the idea of having everything laid out and set up the night before. I'm going to try that this week and see if it will help get me motivated first thing in the morning. I was in the same situation, my doctor wanted me to lose 20 pounds. That was nearly 3 years ago. I lost the first 10, however, this last 10 has gone and come back and gone and come back. It may only be 10, however, it's the 10 I want to lose for life! Thanks for the post, really enjoyed it!

  4. Im trying to be consistent wih my exercise in the gym and with my devotion to God. Thanks for the inspiration:)

  5. Debbie,

    Please forgive me for my delay in getting back to you from my post "How to Be the Mom They See."

    Your post here about being consistent and exercising strikes a chord in me, because that's what I'm starting again too. I did some crunches, ab work, and yoga yesterday again after not doing anything, and feel deliciously sore today. :)

    Have a wonderful week,
    Jennifer Dougan

  6. Thanks so much for the encouragement--here I go AGAIN! Hoping this times I'm faithful--Praying this time that I'm faithful--committing to be faithful this time.

  7. You have amazing discipline in your life, Debbie. I see it in your writing, in your spirituality, and in exercise! It's that discipline, supplied by the grace of God, that keeps you consistent.

    Time to apply some of that to my life.


  8. I LOVE this, Debbie, such a great reminder about establishing healthy habits. It sounds like you are well on the way to doing that.

  9. My allergy prevented me from doing my walks around the park many months ago. Still...No excuse, I know...I'm home a lot and I just keep moving around the house, going out in the yard and I have learned, staying away from sweets helped me lose weight. Sometimes, it's hard. But I'm trying to learn how to eat in little portions than bigger amounts. Habit can be our best friend if healthy and worst enemy if the way is toward destruction. Thanks for waking us up.

  10. I love 3 things about this blog... Zig Ziglar, the poem about Habit, and the challenge you've given to live healthy. I am really working hard at it Debbie, and I think by the time this summer is over, I will have put in place some new and good habits! Let's keep at it!



I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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