You may have heard it takes 21 consecutive days of doing something to make it a habit. Good or bad. This concept greatly applies to changing your lifestyle in order to achieve your fitness goals.
Ok, so being someone who likes to back up his information with research, I will say that the 21 day rule is not a definitive mark for COMPLETELY forming ALL new habits or breaking old ones. Some may take 2 weeks while other habits may take almost a year. The point is this: after roughly 3 weeks of solid effort to eat well and exercise, your new fitness lifestyle becomes MUCH easier to maintain. Remember that it always takes work beyond 21 days, but your discomfort while doing it becomes much less.
Adapting to a Healthy Lifestyle in 3 Phases
Adapting to a healthier lifestyle can be tough at first. Starting something new like a healthier nutrition plan, a running plan, or just a simple “get to the gym” plan can feel agonizingly difficult to adjust to. Over the many years of coaching people for fat loss, I’ve noticed they go through three phases:
1. Excitement to start (Days 1-5): Near 100% compliance
2. Discomfort in change (Days 6-20): They notice the sacrifices that need to be made and realize it takes work to change.
3. Adaptation to the new plan (Days 21+): Their body adapts and they start to feel like they could live this way forever.
Getting through phase 2 is always the hardest. It is the time when you have to break bad habits and your body is going through a number of physiological adaptations. There will be set backs or “cheats” during this time, but as long as they are not too large or too often, you will eventually get accustomed to this new lifestyle come day 22.
Little cheats happen, big cheats set you back to the start line.
Push past your setbacks. Don’t get discouraged, hop right back on the fitness wagon, and you will find yourself well on your way to results. With that said, little cheats are inevitable and easy to move past, but large scale cheats can set you back to day 1! If on day 7 you cheated and had a bowl of ice cream, no big deal. If it was an entire day of cheating then you not only “undo” results, but you also have to re-adapt to healthy eating and exercise making the following few days very tough.
So just focus on getting past the first 21 days of your new (or renewed) fitness plan and from there results will come much easier.
Personal trainer in private fitness studio serving Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Los Altos. Breakthrough Personal Training in Palo Alto, CA 94306. Forming fitness habits, heath, weight loss.
Jerry Yuhara, CPT, CES, CMT #75123
4193 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
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