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The health and fitness industry is full of confusing messages. We share photos of our progress, place great importance on numbers and measurements while constantly looking for the next hot trend. Those who get away with any ounce of life balance will tell you that there is more to it than this.
The most important message our industry needs to portray is that living healthily is a lifestyle. Strength, posture, muscle definition and healthy hearts are not created in a week, a month or even a year. Many of us have a perfect image in our heads of what a healthy lifestyle ‘should’ look like. No treats, no alcohol, exercising six days a week. If that is your reality, great! You may have found balance and results with this protocol, but can you imagine living this way, FOREVER?
For most of us health and exercise are PART of our lives, not the single focus of each and every day. We have families, careers, and passions outside of sweating in the gym.
Before you think I am about to tell you that exercise and eating well are not important as you think– guess again. They ARE as important as you think, but not in the short term. You can read more about why you must quit the short term deadlines you create for yourself here.
Finding happiness with our bodies, satisfaction from our daily routines and lasting health comes from actively living a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle is simply a way of living. Not for a week, but for a long period of time! Here are five signs you are on the right track:
Do you relate to eating super well all week and then its all out madness Friday, Saturday, Sunday? World renowned trainer (and my business coach!) Jill Coleman calls this the deprive-then-binge cycle. Not only does this completely derail your physical fitness goals, you are left feeling pretty terrible about yourself come Monday morning. ‘Why can’t I do this?!’ Instead of becoming more strict, ease off and allow yourself a couple treats or a glass of wine during the week. It is a much more worthwhile strategy to get to Friday without the desire to eat 8 slices of pizza. Yep, I have done that one million times.
Last Saturday evening’s dinner. Steak, kale and spinach salad with carrots, quinoa and parmesan.
The World Health Organization defines health as ‘not merely the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.’ The inner dialogue we perpetuate dictates our outlook on the world an ourselves. Your perspective IS everything. Adopt an attitude of gratitude for all your body does for you each and every day. You may be surprised how much you want to take care of it..
This was a huge hurdle for me for years. In the airport or on road trips I would often allow myself a treat. Well, when you drive long distances nearly every weekend and fly a few times a month, this adds up to a habit pretty quickly! Starbucks does have good options. Buy an apple, have the power protein plate. You can even find an average salad at an airport food court. Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yes. These choices really add up to big wins over time.
A healthy lifestyle is not a short term goal. Just as great health is not created in a matter of weeks, pants that are too tight and heavy breathing from going up one set of stairs are not a result of one or two less than optimal meals. Consider the famous quote ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ well neither was your body, and it wont break down in a day either.
Using guilt as a motivational tool rarely works, even in the short term. We think if we dislike a certain body part enough we can use our feelings of disgust or despair to get to the gym more often. What actually happens? We find more reasons to sit on the couch and sulk. Seek exercise you actually enjoy doing and find a way to work it into your schedule regularly. Five days of activity each week is a wonderful amount. Looking to see muscle definition? Well you better get your resistance training on!
On a hike with my girls in Scottsdale, Arizona. Having no fun at all..
As the old saying goes, a journey of ten thousand miles begins with one step. You have to start somewhere. Years from now you will be so thankful to have taken one small move towards living a lifestyle rather than fleeting from diet to diet or one hot fitness trend to the next.
To your health,