Without delving into all of the obesity and body shaming statistics, it’s safe to say that, as a
country, we’ve got a lot of work to do on the exercise and nutrition front. Things are out of
control and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The culprits? Misinformation, lack of
education, neglect, apathy and an insatiable desire for a quick, easy fix to a problem that took
years to create. Something needs to change... and it starts at the top.
The fact is, your current state of health is largely due to what you put into your mouth and how much you move your body. Sure genetics play a role, but they don’t dictate your food choices or activity level, unless you have a medical condition that impacts either of those (even then, there are positive changes you can make to improve things). Genetics don’t determine your physiological fate. Your actions do. It’s time to take control of and responsibility for them.
“I don’t have time to exercise.” “I’m too tired to cook a healthy meal.” These excuses are as tired as time itself. Sure, some days we need to chill out and give our body and mind a rest. That shouldn’t be the norm though. Put it this way: if you have time to sit on the couch and watch TV, you have time to exercise. If you have time to order, pick-up or wait for take out to be delivered, you have time to make a healthier meal. It just takes planning and some level of commitment to prioritizing your health and the health of your family. Easier said than done, I know. I'm right there with you.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of having poor nutritional habits at various points in my life. I was a bachelor for the majority of my 20’s and early 30’s. I perfected the bare-cupboard-which-restaurant-do-I-want-to-order-from-tonight lifestyle. Thankfully, I was able to prioritize time to exercise several days per week during that same period, so the damage to my body was manageable. Now, as an adult with adult responsibilities, I have a lot less free time to devote to exercise. Not to mention meal planning or cooking (I’m a terrible cook by the way). Despite my profession, I still have difficulty carving out time to focus on my personal health and fitness. It takes a concerted effort and focused energy to eat healthy and exercise often on a consistent basis, on top of everything else we have going on in life. Unfortunately, it’s often much easier not to do those things than to do them. The struggle is real. I get it. I live it. I’m doing what I can to improve the situation.
The struggle is real.
We’ve all mastered the excuses, now let’s commit to improving our own health and the health of
our kids. It’s time to teach our kids better eating and lifestyle habits through leading by
example. It’s time to reverse the trend. I’m not talking about overhauling your current eating
habits and lifestyle choices overnight. That never works. I'm talking about making positive
progress, one step at a time, one day at a time, in order to achieve a healthier, more active
lifestyle that is sustainable and enjoyable. It starts at the top—with us as parents and with our
personal mentality about nutrition and exercise.
The first element to living a healthier, more active lifestyle is getting your head in the right place. Adopt a positive, focused mindset about your personal health and lifestyle goals and those of your family. This includes: understanding why making these positive changes are important, building the confidence to make them happen, and developing the motivation and commitment to implement them on a consistent basis. Your body will only go where your mind will allow it to. Minimize the excuses, suck it up and take action. You have nothing to lose (except body fat) and a whole lot to gain (except body fat). Need some help getting your mentality in order? Try these tips:
Minimize and reverse the excuses. Instead of saying: “I’m too tired. I had a long day. I don’t have enough time.” Try: “I’m too tired too often so I need to exercise more and eat healthier. I want to relieve some stress so I need to exercise more and eat healthier. I don’t have time to watch as much TV because I have to exercise or prepare a healthy meal.” Take responsibility for the results of your decisions. If you want to make the necessary positive changes to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. Do it. If not, reconsider it. We’re all adults here. The choice is yours.
Find your motivation. If you don’t have a “why”, then it’s easy to think “what’s the point?” “I want to lose 30 pounds” is not a why. “I want to lose 30 pounds so I will feel more confident and set a better example for my kids.” That is a why. The “why” has deep emotional roots. If you can’t find a reason why you should strive to live a healthier, more active lifestyle, take a look around you or in the mirror.
Make the decision and follow through. It’s easy to say you are going to start eating healthier and exercising more. It’s another thing to actually follow through with it and sustain it with regularity. Remember, one step at a time. One day at a time. Start today and go for a walk after dinner. Prepare a healthy meal for your family. Do it again tomorrow. Repeat. Just like anything you wish to be good at, it takes practice.
Set realistic and sustainable goals. “I’m going to earn a million dollars by next week” isn’t realistic for the majority of us. Neither is losing 60 pounds in a month. It’s great to have lofty goals to strive for, but you’ll have a difficult time achieving them without setting smaller, more achievable goals to meet along the way. Realistic and sustainable goals build momentum, confidence and enjoyment of the process. Regardless of your current fitness level, work your way into it. Going all in for a few weeks, getting burned out, then reverting back to previous poor habits isn’t what living a healthier, more active lifestyle is about. Sustainability is key.
Now that these tools are out of the box, let’s get to work. Believe in your ability to live a healthier, more active lifestyle. Want to do it. You have it in you. We all do. Release the mental brakes and let it happen. Healthy, active living starts at the top.
Need some guidance or motivation? Comment below or shoot me an email at email@example.com.
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