Maintain Health Behaviors despite Life Transitions

Many life transitions are anticipated – a new home, moving to a new city, starting college or grad school, getting married or starting a family.

As your daily routines change, so can your health behaviors.

Eating healthfully and exercising may be challenging if you have a longer commute, different work hours, new school deadlines, more mouths to feed in the family or just the added stress that comes with life changes.

Much of my weight management counseling helps patients ANTICIPATE the changes that are to come so they’re not caught off guard.

This involves making a plan BEFORE the transition begins.

Here are some tips to guide you:

1-Hold onto Core Behaviors

We all have our core behaviors that help us maintain our healthy lifestyle routine.

Core behaviors are the most important eating and physical activity patterns you follow day-to-day that keep you feeling in control of your health. Some examples:

  • Starting each day with a breakfast meal
  • Keeping trigger foods out of the home
  • Wearing an activity tracker
  • Self-weighing at home on a regular basis
  • Having healthy snack foods at home
  • Bringing lunch from home
  • Taking daily walks with your dog

The goal is to identify your 2 or 3 core healthy lifestyle behaviors that are most meaningful and can be adapted to your new schedule.

And don’t forget to rally the supportive people in your life so you don’t have to go it alone.

2-Improve Your Sleep Routine

Transition times can also disrupt your daily sleep habits, which together can negatively affect your health, mood, well-being and body weight.

Depending on your new schedule, you may need to adopt an earlier bedtime or identify ways to have a more restful night’s sleep.

This may involve limiting screen time, eating and doing work close to bedtime, and not discussing anxiety-producing topics before bed.

You can search ‘sleep hygiene’ online for more tips for better sleep.

3-Identify Your De-Stressing Toolbox

It’s important to make a list of activities that will reduce stress and replenish your mind and body.

But what de-stressing activities can fit into your new hectic schedule?

It’s time to make a list:

  • Call a friend
  • Listen to music
  • Do some deep breathing
  • Journal your thoughts
  • Do a meditation app
  • Go for a walk to clear your mind
  • Play a game with your smart phone
  • Watch funny videos

When stress zaps your energy level, individuals often turn to food for an energy boost.

If this is something you’re concerned about, boosting your daily energy level can make weight management easier.

Though transition times can be stressful, they can also be exciting.

Be kind to yourself as you focus on progress, not perfection.


Robert Kushner, MD


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