Congratulations! You’ve taken a wonderful first step toward a healthy lifestyle: You have DECIDED or recommitted to live healthier!
Success is something you decide ahead of time.
But let’s face it. We’ve all been here before. We decide to make changes, eat better, get to the gym, and something happens. We get sick, or our day gets so busy we miss our workout, or a meeting gets scheduled during lunch and all of a sudden we’re starving and the only option is the vending machine or fast food restaurant on the corner. And just like that, our healthy lifestyle is derailed. Again.
As a health and wellness coach, I speak with women all the time just like you and me, who have good intentions, but somehow either sabotage themselves or get sidetracked as life – and the people in it – have a different agenda.
When we embark on a healthy lifestyle, sometimes we skip the most important step: preparing our mind. Think of our mind as another muscle that we train.
The body achieves what the mind believes.
Our thoughts, actions, beliefs, and results are all intertwined around a healthy mindset. Here are some of my top tips for preparing your mind for a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy can mean different things to different people. It’s important to know what healthy means to you personally. Not what other people, magazines or society says is healthy. What do YOU want as part of a healthy lifestyle? Here are a few ideas:
Weight loss or gain (yes, some people struggle to put on or maintain healthy weight)
- Increased energy
- Better digestion
- Improved performance as an athlete, musician, or life in general
- Relationships – with God, yourself, your children, partner, friends, family…
- Financial fitness
Whatever healthy means to you, be sure to write down your own personal definition. Include your health goals and dreams.
Start with Why
When I met my best friend and now husband, we made a promise to each other: to be as healthy as we possibly could be, every single day, for the rest of our lives. That is my “why.” That is what motivates me to live a healthy lifestyle. What about you? What is your reason for living a healthy lifestyle? How do you want to feel? Who in your life is counting on you to be healthy? What family or personal history are you looking to change? Maybe you want to compete, in your first 5k, marathon, or fitness competition. Or maybe you simply want to ROCK any outfit you put on! What ever your reason, OWN it! Embrace your WHY.
Your health lifestyle starts NOW. You don’t have to have one last binge or eat all of your favorites the next few days. You don’t have to wait for Monday, or the first of the week, or until you feel like it. That’s like an alcoholic saying “I’ll get sober tomorrow; tonight we party!” and tomorrow never comes. You can choose to simply start today.
It’s Just Data.
Many aspects of a healthy lifestyle include tracking. We may track our scale weight, our body fat percentage, and our inches. We may take before photos. Another favorite of mine is tracking our fitness and activity on a calendar using colors so that we can visually look back and see how we did from week to week (i.e. blue for cardio, red for strength, green for flexibility). We may dread the scale or the before photo. However, it’s all just data! It’s doesn’t define you. It’s a way to monitor if you are on track toward your health goals and adjust when needed. And remember, it’s the before photo that gets you to your after!
We all have triggers, cravings and weaknesses. Who doesn’t? Mine include coffee, pizza, peanut butter cups or cookies… I can certainly go on! Studies show it takes 30 days to build a habit. Knowing this, we can choose to remove sugar or chips or wine or avoid certain places for the next 30 days, until healthy choices become more of a habit. And, when you feel like eating outside of your health goals, take a pause and check in with yourself. What are you really craving? Is it a hug? A friend? A good cry? A night out – or in 😉 – with your luvies? Do you need to beat some frustration out on the punching bag at the gym? Become aware of what you are feeling, and see if there is another healthier way to release or embrace it without stuffing it in food.
Ask for help
There will be times we are weak. It could be hormonal, or we get in a fight with a loved one or we’re frustrated or bored or low energy. We all have these days or moments. Know ahead of time who you will call when that happens to help talk you off the ledge and keep you on track or help get you back on.
Phone a friend. Or two.
So often we start this journey and we don’t tell anyone. We want to get results first, am I right? We want people to notice and comment. The reality is, this is a path to failure.
If you are doing this alone you are doing it wrong.
Your family, friends and co-workers can provide invaluable support, and, they can innocently sabotage your efforts. The key is to include them in your plan. Let them know that you are taking steps to lead a healthier lifestyle. If you tell them WHY this is important to you, they will go out of their way to assist you. They will remind you of your goals when you are tempted. And, they may even join you.
Then there are those “friends” who are not so supportive. They will bring you decadent desserts or invite you to their favorite fast or fried food restaurant or ice cream shop. And the bullying. Have you ever heard anything like this:
- You’re no fun since you got healthy/don’t drink/don’t eat _____.
- Oh Come on. It’s just this one time! This one little cheat won’t hurt you!
- Be bad with me!
- You “make” me feel guilty for enjoying life and food!
- I could never do what you’re doing!
- How long are you going to eat/exercise/live like this?
As women who rule the world, this behavior is unacceptable. Use your words. Tell or remind them of your goals and your “why.” Its’ find if they don’t join you, but they are not allowed to sabotage you.
Stuff happens. Do it Anyway.
How many times have we started something and not finished it? Or had the intention to work out and eat right and fall off the wagon? The dog dies. Your lover/partner leaves you. You get laid off. You get the flu or worse, are diagnosed with an illness. And then there are the GOOD distractions. You move. Fall in love. Find a new church home. Get married. Change jobs. Win a sports competition or fitness challenge. Buy a new car. Go on a Missions trip.
Good or bad, distractions still have the potential to derail us from the things we set out to do.
Today, I encourage you to commit to the journey. Don’t just start a healthy lifestyle. Embrace the mindset that no matter what comes, come hell or high water, you will continue. This is not a diet or a quick fix or a short term thing. This is a healthy lifestyle. It’s a journey not a destination Healthy living is a process and a journey of daily consistent action that you can maintain and fall in love with.
Always have a plan
Sometimes our healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to food, falls apart simply from a lack of planning. Always have a plan. Know what you are going to eat for your meals and snacks the day before and even pack them ahead of time. Remember, food is fuel.
Your body is a temple, not a garbage can.
The same is true for exercise. Know ahead of time what days you will work out and with whom. Mix it up! Get outside, take a new class, do something you enjoyed as a child. Have FUN!
Start your day with 10-15 minutes of quiet time. Find a meditation on YouTube, open your Bible or devotional, or simply close your eyes and express your gratitude. The right mindset begins with actually taking time to quiet the mind, and listen to the heart.
Sometimes a health goal can be daunting, like running a marathon or losing 100 pounds. Break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. You won’t start out running 26.2 miles today, nor will you lose 20 pounds overnight. By “chunking” your goals or breaking them down, they become less daunting. Start with 5 pounds or 1 mile. And then…
What will you do (non food related) when you release your first five pounds? What will you do when you run your first 5k? What will you do at the major mile markers in your journey? Who will you call? How will you celebrate?
Don’t skip. And don’t cheat on yourself.
Women who rule the world don’t skip workouts or meals. They don’t cheat on themselves. They don’t stuff their feelings with food. They don’t use a holiday or a bad day as an excuse for skipping your workout. Period.
Holi-days are just that, a DAY. And often, a meal. One unhealthy holiday meal won’t ruin a healthy lifestyle. However a day, week, or month of holiday mentality will certainly slow you down and make it harder to get back on track.
Stop beating yourself up
With all this being said, it’s time to stop beating yourself up and berating yourself. It’s time to release the negative self talk and mindset. When we love our self and our body, we will no longer talk about going on a diet. We’ll talk about living a healthy lifestyle.
Grace and Gratitude
Remember, this is a journey. We want to spend the rest of our life living as healthy as we possibly can. It’s not about perfection. It’s about consistency. You’ve got this!
Allow yourself more love. More grace. More forgiveness. More self-love.
Regardless of the size, shape or condition of your body, it IS a temple. And it is a miracle! Be grateful for all it does for you every day.
Overall, be patient with yourself. A lifestyle of wellness does not happen overnight or come by luck or wishful thinking. It comes from discipline and consistency along with a dose of self-love.
Repeat after me: I’m getting healthier and healthier every day.
Written by Fitness Guest Blogger: Lori King
I am a wellness coach, sports nutritionist, entrepreneur, encourager, wife, daughter, sister, child sponsor, friend, blogger, cyclist, body builder, athlete, writer… and so much more! AND, a fun, outrageous, and humble kind of girl next door! I live with my husband, Jim, in the Hudson Valley of New York. You can read more of my work at loriking.us