There are a lot of people who have decided that their new year’s resolution is to get healthy in 2011. Unfortunately, most of them will actively attempt the change for a couple of weeks before succumbing to excuses like, “I just don’t have the time.” Basically what they are saying is that their health is not a priority in their lives. The problem is that we don’t know how long we have on this earth. Everything could end in one second or change with a critical diagnosis, which means it is important to live your life to the fullest. Save your breath before uttering an excuse and use it on the elliptical, the treadmill or on the track, because that’s where you will need it most. Please, just decide before you start if you are willing to devote time and effort to getting healthy. I have listed 5 tips which I believe are important to starting a healthy lifestyle.
First: Stop expecting a rapid change. Deciding to get healthy does not automatically transform you into a lean mean fit machine. You need to ask yourself why you want to get healthy. Don’t do it because it is the thing to do or because your friends are doing it. Don’t do it because you want to look good for an upcoming reunion. Do it because you want to look and feel good on a daily basis and improve your life by having more energy, more confidence and diminishing your stress. People start workout regiments for the wrong reasons, most of which offer no long term sustainable plans. They are mostly feeble attempts at unrealistic short term goals with a high probability of failure. Start with a goal that is easily attainable and with a workout regimen that fits into your lifestyle. I have known people that have lost over 100 pounds by simply doing the elliptical for 50 minutes a day for 5 days a week and monitoring their diet.
Second: Stop making excuses. I am sick and tired of hearing excuses. I know that life happens, but you control a large portion of your day. Shut off the television for at least 30 minutes and devote those 1800 seconds, yes, just 1800 seconds to a healthy activity. Is Keeping Up With the Kardashians or The Big Bang Theory really that important (Well, The Big Bang Theory is)? Limit the excuses and find a way to make time to be active. If you can tell me that after watching television you can stand in front of a mirror and be satisfied with the person looking back at you then the more power to you. I know people that workout even after working 60 hour weeks and taking care of two children. I have said this before and I will say it again, I have never once regretted working out. Stop making excuses and get off your butt and exercise. I don’t care if it makes you sore. In fact, it should make you sore. It is your body’s way of saying, “What the hell, you never work me out.” Your body wants to workout. Your body needs to workout. Don’t worry it will pay you back by looking good.
Third: Stop eating too much. It is all about portion control. Do not allow yourself to over indulge. Set limits on your food and be aware of how many calories you are ingesting. If you begin counting your calories you will likely be a bit perturbed at how many you actually take in on a daily basis. I know I was amazed at how many calories I consumed and that realization helped me scale back. It is an ongoing process of making yourself aware of what you are eating, but definitely worth it in the end. Rachel and I do not forbid each other to have bad food. We get to eat bad at least two days out of the week. However, when we began the process of eating healthy we only allowed one cheat day all week until we reached our goal weight. Denying yourself foods you enjoy all of the time will just lead to a likely binge day. You can have pizza, but in moderation. Don’t go and have six slices of pizza on your cheat day. Eating healthy is really a lifestyle change and although it is difficult it is also very rewarding.
Fourth: Stop the negativity. What I mean by this is remove yourself from friends or things that can be hazardous to your health. If you are around people that have no intentions of getting healthy and only serve to remove you further from your goals then separate yourself from them. I am not saying do not be friends. I am merely saying do not allow them to distract you from things you are trying to accomplish. I know of friends who have been told by their own friends that running is unhealthy. These are the same people that have never tried running themselves. You have to understand that a lot of jealousy and resentment can often take place when you make an active choice to get healthy. People often see you doing things they want to do themselves and they will attempt to discourage you. When I told someone Rachel and I were training for a ½ marathon their response was, “Really. Why? You know people die from running that long. It’s very dangerous.” Thus, I made a conscious effort to distance myself from people that carry around this kind of negativity. They will only fill you with unnecessary thoughts. They are known as “Debbie Downers” so make sure and avoid these types of people. True friends are there to support and believe in you. Surround yourself with positive people that will aid in accomplishing every goal in your life. Remember, you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
Fifth: Stop doubting yourself. You have to learn to believe in yourself and what you can accomplish. Start any workout regiment by saying, “I can and will do this.” Remove any doubt from the start because everyone is capable of getting healthy. That is the beauty of it all, anyone can do it. That is why there are no excuses. If you can’t run because of physical limitations, you can at least eat healthy. There are so many wonderful tools at your disposal. It is important that you decide to use them. The mind is so powerful and it is important to train it to believe that anything is possible. Stand up, walk, now walk quickly, now jog, run, run faster…finish. Keep that in your mind because that is what moves you. Always start to finish. Never finish with regret.