These days, I am all about health, what with the heat and the feeling of lethargy! I know I must buck up!
Being healthy and in shape feels great. Ok, a little bit more work to get to the ideal point, but we’re talking logistics here. Doing the work to get there, often feels a bit tedious and painful and, let’s be honest here: a last resort.
So many of us only take steps to improve our health when something starts to go wrong in our lives. I am guilty of this. While I generally live healthy, there have been ups and downs and my moment of truth was when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Was a solid jolt!
But what if getting healthy didn’t have to be such a tremendous chore? What if it was a matter of changing your perspective on getting healthy? Wouldn’t it take you closer to achieving this goal and make it a lot more enjoyable?
If you are wondering what I mean when I say “changing your perspective” here is my take: rather than look at maintaining health and fitness as a chore and something that has to be done, why not see it as giving yourself a treat…and something you want to do? And the best way to approach this is to stop forcing yourself to endure changes that you hate and look for changes you will enjoy.
Of course you want to know how to
change your perspective to change your life
Here are three basic ways to do this.
No no, the word “exercise” is not profanity. These days, for people on the go who have no time, there are plenty of apps and videos out there that will teach you the basic exercises that you can do to improve your physical fitness. If you really want results, though, you will want to find a way to be held accountable for your progress and motivated if you hit a progress plateau.
One of the best ways to do this, according to the experts at Fitness 19, is to sign up for a class. There are so many different fitness classes out there. These days pilates is popular: the workout and stretching routine you can do while (mostly) lying down. Who doesn’t like lying down? And being able to get physically fit while you do it? It’s like a dream come true, right? Or maybe dancing is your thing or spinning. Try out a few classes and then stick with the one you like. Best thing to do? Buddy up with someone if you feel shy or conscious, or just need someone to give you a timely, but friendly kick to keep you sticking to your routine.
And no, I am not referring to diet. The words are not interchangeable. People often confuse nutrition with dieting and see it as a means to an end—for losing weight. Stop seeing it that way. Instead, think about nutrition as a great way to improve your energy levels and something that stops you from feeling tired all the time.
Begin by transitioning to a balanced diet gradually. The reason so many people fail out of the diets they try is because they try to overhaul their entire diet all at once. This only freaks out your body and your taste buds. It takes time to adjust to what real foods are supposed to taste like if you’ve gotten used to eating a lot of processed stuff. Start slowly—use what you have in the house to make the most nutritious meals possible. Then, as you run out of an ingredient, replace it with a healthier choice that meets the same craving.
If, however, you are someone who prefers to draw distinctions in the changes you make, you may want to look at the Whole30 diet. It’s a new and much healthier take on the detox diets that were so popular a few years ago. The Dash Diet a heart friendly plan for people dealing with cardiovascular issues (or hoping to prevent them).
Getting healthy isn’t just about making better choices for your physical body. Mental and emotional health are also important. It is a tough path and takes work. And you might not see results as quickly as you do with diet/exercise changes. It will be well worth it, though.
The best way to work on your mental health is to make an appointment with a counselor or a therapist. Therapists are great at helping people identify goals and learn how to master the tools they need to achieve them. They are also fantastic guides in handholding you on how to practice self-care and habit building/breaking.
Here’s the thing: look for approaches, methods, and tools that you enjoy. If you treat your health improvement journey as something you have to slog over, you’ll be more likely to give in to the urge to slack off or even quit! Remember those days when you looked at your syllabus before your exam, thought of the work and felt like giving up even though you knew you’d benefit? Same thing!