#ActiveApril Health & Wellness

#ActiveApril Week 4 – Getting off Auto Pilot & Taking Back Control

April 20, 2019
Getting off autopilot

We are heading into Week 4 of #ActiveApril. If you have been following the plan with regular exercise, healthier eating options, taking time out for mental health and spiritual reflection by now you should be starting to feel more energised physcially, mentally and spiritually.

If you haven’t been following then you can always start because it is never too late to implement healthier lifestyle changes. Just head over to the #ActiveApril page

In the coming months I will be continuing to write about Health, Nutrition & Wellness as part of our Over 50 Lifestyle.

Having a healthy mind, body and spirit is the key to squeezing every ounce of happiness, vitality and enjoyment out of life.

Let’s Recap

Week 1 The focus during my Facebook Live Videos was on learning the benefits of exercise, how Food Diaries can help and also strategies for overcoming Emotional Eating.

Week 2 was all about Mental Health and Wellbeing. During the Facebook Live Videos, I discussed the importance of Keeping our Aging Brains Sharp and How Food and Getting back to Nature can help our Mental Health.

Week 3 was all about Emotional Agility and Nourishing the body and soul

Week 4 – It’s time to get your life off Auto Pilot & Take back control

Getting off Auto PIlot & Taking Back Control

Have you fallen into Auto pilot mode in your life?

I think we all do from time to time so Week 4 of #ActiveApril is all about mixing things up and getting off Auto Pilot and back in charge of your life!

If you want a Healthy Lifestyle that actually lasts then you need to take ACTION!

We have been working on our physical fitness, our mental fitness and our spiritual fitness but these will only be short term unless we take back control. So many of us, whether we realise it or not live life without even noticing what we are doing sometimes.

I know I do! I wake up, usually have a glass of water and then make a coffee. Sometimes I don’t even realise that I’m doing it! The snack after dinner while watching T.V., the habit of being ‘too busy’ or ‘not enough time’ to exercise.

Did you know that you need to mix up the way you workout? After a while your body becomes used to your workouts and it becomes inefficient which in turn means less calories burned for the same amount of exercise. So mix it up!

We fall into habits that become automatic and don’t require our brain to think. We become comfortable and our brains become lazy. Our brains like the easy route because changes require it to work and build new neuron pathways. Stepping out of our comfort zone just doesn’t appeal.

Sound familiar?

Let’s start changing that!

Trying to be halfway healthy but can’t stick to it?

Trying different diets that are short term fixes but then you find yourself back to square one?

It isn’t all about what we eat and how we workout. It is about changing unhelpful habits and introducing healthier habits.

Routine is good – I am someone who likes routine and order in my life, especially if I’m working towards a goal. However, when we mindlessly do things out of habit without examining Why? we can start falling into unhealthy lifestyles.

It is important if you are serious about feeling energised, vital and active to take the next step and think about your mindset, stress levels, emotions, relationships.

What are the things in your life that affect how you are thinking about life in general and in particular your relationship with food ? In my post, ‘The 3 ‘D’s’ to Overcoming Emotional Eating’ I discussed emotional associations with food which could be triggered by:

  • Childhood associations with food that we may have formed if it was used as a reward or treat. 
  • It may have been trying the thousands of weight loss ideas and diets that flood the media, which initially worked but were short term and because you lost your motivation you turned back to food for comfort.
  • Confusion with all the different opinions on what we should and shouldn’t eat can be so overwhelming that we give up and reach for the piece of cake.
  • Stress and anxiety

An exercise to complete for the week





WHY AM I DOING IT AND IS IT GOOD FOR ME? Do you really need to come home and have a drink or reach for that snack without putting any thought to it? Do you really need to press the snooze button rather than making time for daily exercise?




You may not have to stop doing it but just think about it and it’s impact on your life.

The Challenge

Commit to changing one habit that you feel is holding you back. Write it down and read it several times a day.

The Plan is more of what we did in Week 3 plus the Auto Pilot exercise

REMEMBER: Check with your doctor if you haven’t exercised for a while and get the OK to start. I am not a professional but a guide to support you.

Strong Healthy Women Video – I CAN DO IT You will need some handweights for some of the videos



Daily Mental Exercise – 20 minutes for puzzles, crosswords or anything that makes you think. Weeks 1 – 4


Daily Spiritual Connection – 10 – 20 minutes to reflect, pray, meditate or journal Weeks 1 – 4



Other Resources

Weekly Planner

Complete the Workout sheet for five days, including physical, mental and spiritual activity. Don’t forget to record your wins and don’t be ashamed to record your struggles. Click HERE to download your worksheet.

Warm Up Exercise Examples CLICK HERE

Stretching Examples CLICK HERE

Exercising your Brain – Need some ideas for puzzles, crosswords? CLICK HERE

Spiritual Connection – I’ve provided a link with several Mindfulness Apps you could try. CLICK HERE

Yoga – I love Yoga with Adriene. I follow her on YouTube and do my practice at home. CLICK HERE

Don’t forget to check in at the Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond Facebook Group for daily tips, inspiration and motivation. Not a member? You can join HERE – it’s FREE!

Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 21, 2019 at 00:43

    Hi, Sue – It’s so true what you say about “Autopilot”. It can work both for us — and against us! This past February, I began cooking only healthy, vegetarian meals at home. I became very aware of what nutrients, fats, sodium and sugars were in the foods that I made. I planned to do this exercise for the month of February and see what happened. Soon it was March, then April and this habit continued almost on its own!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2019 at 06:46

      Hi Donna, I know I’m trying to mix things up a bit as it is easy to fall into bad habits. However, as you say it can work for us if we are changing from unhealthy to healthier lifestyles. Good for you in trying healthier options. I’m starting a Diploma in Nutrition this week to add to my Health & Nutrition Coaching Certificate. It is a great way to learn and implement new ways of cooking and eating and to understand the importance of our relationship with food. Have a great week and don’t forget to post some recipes. xx

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb April 21, 2019 at 04:59

    Sue – great post. I don’t tend to live in ‘auto-pilot’ too much because I am not one who likes routine. My son once said, “Life is too long to do the same thing every day.” He must take after me! I think it is important though to have a variety of ways to eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, etc. I feel like I can be more attentive and intentional if I look at my day and decide when I will choose to incorporate these things. Not sure that makes sense, but it does work for me – especially since every work day is so different for me, too. Thanks for the thought-provoking post – you always make me think through to make sure I’m not kidding or fooling myself.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2019 at 06:49

      You have a very wise son, Janet! I understand where you are coming from. I like routine and so it is easy for me to fall into ‘auto-pilot’ mode. Routine can be good but it is the unhealthy habits that we need to be aware of. I’m sure you are never fooling yourself but it fills me with joy to know that I can make others take a moment to think and reflect. xx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 21, 2019 at 23:51

    I’ve been focusing on not eating for the sake of eating Sue. It’s so easy now I’m home more to reach into the pantry for a snack, or to lean on the fridge door and wait for something to tempt me. Now I ask myself “am I really hungry” before I eat anything snacky (even fruit) because it’s all calories and I need to keep them under control if I want to stay on top of my weight.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2019 at 06:53

      It is so hard isn’t it Leanne. I find boredom is the killer for me because when I’m bored that is when I look for things to eat. Good for you in asking yourself before doing. If you want to lose weight it is about decreasing calories and increasing movement. Sometimes though we can get caught in the trap of thinking this is healthy so I’ll eat it, but nearly everything has calories so you are spot on with your comment. xx

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 24, 2019 at 13:49

        Hi Sue and yes, the calories are the killers (not to mention Deb stating that hot cross buns have TEN teaspoons of sugar in them!! That was a wake up call!) Thanks for co-hosting another great #MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM xx

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 27, 2019 at 04:49

          I know Leanne, I still had the hot cross bun but felt guilty eating it. Treats are okay occasionally and I did resist buying them when they appeared in Coles in January!

  • Reply Debbie April 22, 2019 at 16:31

    Thanks Sue for this reminder about being on auto pilot. I’m considering dropping out of some social media groups as I don’t seem to get much out of them and it’s another thing I do on auto pilot because I feel I should not because I enjoy them terribly much. I’m looking at trying not to feel so overwhelmed by things and spending too much time online. Any tips??

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 22, 2019 at 17:13

      Hi Deb, you aren’t alone with the social media groups. Lately I’ve been so busy with my own blog and SM that I just can’t keep up with all the groups I’ve somehow become connected with. I have also cut back on my commenting on blogs just because we have to. I would rather concentrate on my favourite bloggers and give a quality comment rather than a comment just for the sake of it. I like routine as you know, so I’m actually just looking at SM quickly in the morning and maybe in the late afternoon. Some days I’m not even looking at it because there is just too much information overload. It certainly is a fine balance between being connected online and enjoying the ‘in real life’ moments. x

      • Reply Debbie April 24, 2019 at 20:51

        This was so good Sue – Sharing for #mlstl

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 27, 2019 at 04:53

          Appreciate the share, Deb and have a great weekend. xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 24, 2019 at 08:25

    Sue all the advice here is really great. It doesn’t matter how committed we are to a healthy lifestyle there are times when we go onto auto pilot and start to develop bad habits. I haven’t been as vigilant with my nutrition as I should so I’m going to do the exercises in this pist to get back on track.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:31

      It is easy to fall off track Jen, I do it myself. I find that the blogging helps me because I need to show that I’m just like everyone else. I fall off track but then I get back on. Good luck with the nutrition challenge. xx

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 24, 2019 at 08:28

    This is a great reminder Sue. I know when I get busy I tend to be less organised with my nutrition which leads to extra snacking. I’m going to use the exercises in this post to get back on track. #MLSTL Will share

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:33

      Thanks for the share Jen and being part of #MLSTL. xx

  • Reply Theresa Muth April 24, 2019 at 08:30

    I love this! And I agree: why keep expecting different results when we do the same thing? I go through my day on auto pilot as well. Sometimes I find myself driving and I’m so lost in thought I forget where I’ve driven!
    I am trying very hard to follow your blog posts and keep exercising and keeping my mind sharp. I enjoyed your post today and will try to change those habits!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:32

      Oh I do that too, Theresa! Drive somewhere and then wonder how I got there. Thank you for being part of #ActiveApril, we do what we can and if we have days when we can’t so be it. Life is meant to be lived isn’t it? x

  • Reply Christine Field April 24, 2019 at 10:10

    I was on autopilot for years! My goodness, I missed so much. I wish there was a way to help young moms really be present while their kiddos are little. We get so good at multi-tasking as moms that it is a hard habit to break as we get older.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:34

      Hi Christine, I know what you mean even now life can be too busy to really take note of what we are doing and whether it is good or bad for us. I used to wear my multi-tasking as a badge of honour but now I realise that sometimes it just adds more pressure.

  • Reply Christie Hawkes April 24, 2019 at 11:00

    I’ll take the challenge, Sue, to make note of those things I do out of habit that aren’t necessarily beneficial. I’m a creature of habit, so I know there are a lot of them. 🙂 Thanks for the motivation to at least think about which habits are serving me well and which I need to shake up. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 27, 2019 at 04:46

      Hi Christie, it is amazing how much we do on ‘auto-pilot’. Not all of that is bad but when there are certainly habits we can change to be healthier in all areas of our life. I will be happy to hear how your challenge is going. x

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle April 24, 2019 at 11:35

    Rolling out of bed and heading off to pilates three times a week has become an auto-pilot thing but it’s a good thing. Regardless of how I’m feeling I just go. However, I do need to mix it up more and do other kinds of exercise and I have been saying I will for a long time and still haven’t. The other thing I do is snack too much on dry rye cruskits and I’m not hungry – it’s emotional eating. Yes they are low in calories but I have too many of them! At least my auto-pilot routine will be shaken up a bit soon as I head off to Sydney for 2 nights. I always notice my ‘habits’ and ‘autopilot kinda routine’ more when I go away and can no longer do them. Great topic and has got me thinking – thanks Sue! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 27, 2019 at 04:48

      Hi Min, it is the snacking that gets you isn’t it? You think because they are low in calories that it is okay but all calories add up. You are doing enough with pilates and if you can get a couple of walks in a week then you have a great physical workout routine. Enjoy your time in Sydney and yes, you are right that travelling certainly highlights our habits. Glad you liked the topic and it is something we can all look at. x

  • Reply Pat April 24, 2019 at 23:01

    I think routines have actually helped me in retirement…. I’ve created a morning ritual with my journaling that is certainly helping me mentally. I’ve created M-W-F workout routines with 3 different activities. I’ve recently added in strength training because I need to (physical therapy) and that will become a routine, too. I get your comments about auto-pilot and I do try and think about mindless eating, which is a downfall for me. But in general, auto-pilot on exercise has been a good thing for me.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:36

      Hi Pat, I love routines and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have them. I’m just suggesting that being on auto pilot with habits that aren’t good for us should be examined. I agree that my routine helps me to keep on track. I know when I’m working out and I don’t have to think about it. Auto-pilot can be a good thing as well. Have a great week! x

  • Reply Victoria April 25, 2019 at 03:38

    I do seem to eat on autopilot. Pistachios are my go-to snack and husband commented the other day that I was snacking early. lol I do try to step things up and down so my body doesn’t get used to the same thing every day at the same time.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:37

      Many of us eat on autopilot Victoria especially when we are stressed or need comfort. x

  • Reply Jennifer April 25, 2019 at 19:02

    I love this question, “HOW IS THIS STOPPING ME FROM HAVING THE LIFE I WANT?” I’m going to post it nearby to remind myself to ask that question when it’s needed.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:38

      Yes I love that question too, Jennifer. It makes me stop and think and that isn’t a bad thing. xx

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 27, 2019 at 16:00

    A thoughtful and helpful post for many Sue. I see your love of teaching and helping others in your challenges!
    Denyse #mlstl

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 28, 2019 at 12:29

      Thanks Denyse, I love this aspect of blogging. I’m no expert but I love to teach and share with others what I’ve learned over the years. xx

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