If you feel like you know what to do to get healthy, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it, author and fitness expert Oonagh Duncan wants to give you a nice kick in the pants. In her no-nonsense book, Healthy As F*ck: The Habits You Need to Get Lean, Stay Healthy and Generally Kick Butt at Life, she simplifies the journey to health, lightening the conversation with some humour and a few f-bombs.
Living a healthy life can get complicated. With a variety of fad diets, food plans and workouts that will “change your life”, it can be really easy to get caught up in the mix of it all. Oonagh wants us to let go of the complications and embrace a simple plan to health.
Here are a few of her tips and tricks to live a healthy, happy life.
Change your habits
Throughout her book, Duncan explains the importance of habits over diets, “If that gluten-free or intermittent fasting lifestyle tends to fall off when you are stressed or when there’s something particularly delicious in front of you or when you are on vacation, you’re on a diet. That’s not a lifestyle.” If your way of eating is effortless and won’t stop when you’re on vacation, then you’re on a diet. The key is to change your habits to make them as automated as possible. No willpower or discipline will succeed pass simply gaining better habits.
Know the difference between happiness and pleasure
According to Healthy as F*ck, Duncan explains that a common mistake people make is confusing happiness with pleasure. “Pleasure is a momentary feeling that comes from an external source”, she explains. This external source good be temporary such as eating something delicious.” On the other hand, she describes happiness as “eternal and long-lasting.” Duncan admits that we should be getting a lot of pleasure out of life but it becomes an issue when we sacrifice happiness for pleasure.
Do things halfway
When thinking about beginning an exercise plan or starting a diet, most people think that they need to go all in or they’re failing. However, in her book, Duncan says how doing things halfway can actually be more beneficial. She explains how to take steps in making an action a habit—with the goal of putting these habits on autopilot. “What’s critical here is that these small wins reinforce your identity as a healthy person, and the strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves,” says Duncan. When you make these small patterns a habit it’s hard for excuses to come in. As you progress, your small wins will be less frequent as your bar increases.
Avoid leaning on family and friends for support
In her book, Duncan explains that family and friends are among the worst support when trying to change your lifestyle, “A Stanford University study showed that 75% of women “rarely or never” got support from friends or family in their weight-loss efforts. Another study found that 1/5 people admitted to trying to sabotage friends’ weight-loss efforts.” This goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything your friends tell you. Communities of like-minded individuals are key—people who are already engaged in your healthy habit and will build you up.
Give yourself compliments
Confidence is a difficult trait to inherit. This is why Duncan believes that the first step in boosting your confidence level up is by giving yourself outrageous compliments. In her book, she talks about how ridiculous you can get with these compliments, in turn, building humour and positive associations with your body.
Break up with your bad excuses
Breakups may be tough but always end up being for the better. In Healthy as F*ck, Duncan explains five types of BS; ‘Victim BS’, ‘Aha-moment BS’, ‘Martyr BS’, the ‘Good Girl BS’ and the ‘Diet starts tomorrow BS’. In each of these scenarios the key is moderation, prioritizing happiness over pleasure and understanding that if other people in the world can do it—you can too.
Watch the video clip above for more of Oonagh’s tips!