My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.
After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%! Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.
I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.
The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after, set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.
Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay. See if some of these may help you.
1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good.
2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.
3. We all want to fully engage in our lives. I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.
4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself in the arss and just do it! You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.
5. Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers. None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what? Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.
6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.” If you say that it’s because you haven’t found it yet. Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming? Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.
7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you! So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things. Carve out some me time, even if it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.
8. Find a role model. My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face, a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.
9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot. By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.
10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro? Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk? Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.
I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st, because statistically those resolutions are short lived. Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?
Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!