“I might go to the gym later… Maybe. If I have time, if I have enough energy, and if I feel like it. And tomorrow I’m going to stop eating sugar for a while as I eat WAY too much. Well, maybe I will start tomorrow or possibly the day after– I don’t really want to set an exact date just in case there is a dinner party or something where there will be too many tempting desserts to choose from, and it just won’t be fair if I can’t eat them, and such a waste too!” Hmmm… Welcome to my brain!!!
This is exactly why I still eat desserts EVERYDAY and why I still have not been exercising– because I have left everything as an option and have not set a plan of action!
How many of you know that the best things in our life don’t just fall into our laps, but take some careful planning and a lot of motivation along with some determined discipline and consistency? This is definitely a strong equation for success and reaping the rewards. We will never get to the gym if it’s just an option, and we will never stop eating unhealthy food if it’s an option. So let’s work on that plan of action together!
I think a great place to start with goal setting is to ask ourselves WHY we want it. There are many reasons why we might want a healthier body such as:
- Those feel good endorphins which put us in a much better mood and make us way more productive throughout the day.
- Reducing the likelihood of expensive hospital bills.
- More energy while getting tired less often.
- A fitter, stronger body.
- Looking more toned and healthier.
- Being a better influence and a good example to others.
- Believing in ourselves more. It’s hard to take ourselves too seriously if we don’t care too much for our health.
- Having that healthy glow every day. It doesn’t have to be a ‘seasonal’ thing, or just because of a happy event in our lives.
- Taking care of God’s temple which is our body!
- Fighting that lazy attitude and winning the fight! Elevators, escalators, bikes and cars have made us SO lazy. Think back to the physical labour people had to do on an average day many years ago when technology wasn’t quite so advanced. We were naturally fit the way God designed us to be.
1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.
I think these are some very important things we train ourselves to conveniently ignore in order to carry on with the unhealthy habits that give our taste buds that immediate yet that short-lasting joy. That, along with our comfort zones or “lazy zones” as I like to call them, and we have a perfect recipe for going nowhere fast… And ending up in a hospital sometime in the future. I don’t think many of us realize how damaging an unhealthy lifestyle is to our bodies and although we can (sometimes) get away with it while we are young, when we hit 40, we won’t be quite so absent minded about it anymore when the health problems start piling in.
Take processed meats for example. They are just one of the many choices out there that increase the risk of cancer. From the high HCA levels which cause DNA damage to the Nitrates used to maintain the color of meat and prevent spoilage, not to mention the steroids and hormones used to give us the plump fat animals we are used to. Did you know high consumption of these meats such as hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, pepperoni, rotisserie chicken, eaten over 10 years will increase risk of colon and rectum cancer by 50%? Anyone want to have a guess how much is regarded as high consumption?
High consumption was defined as 1oz per day 5-6 days a week for men or just 2-3 days for women. That’s just HALF a hotdog or two small pieces of bacon. Unfortunately we have gotten used to unhealthy things and eat way too much of them, instead of choosing the freshly grown options. We have been given many natural food products but we often replace them with packaged goods which are pumped with chemically-enhanced ingredients that are not good for our bodies.
Saturated fats from fried foods and sugar and other unhealthy food choices come with their own health warnings too, maybe not on the food item itself (‘what you don’t know can’t hurt you’ I’m sure is every marketers secret tag line), but it’s just a click away on the internet if you care enough for your body to research it. Awareness is a good start to improve anything.
1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
So now that we know our facts and why we want to change our bad habits into good ones, let’s make our plan of action.
First let’s remember the 70/30 rule.
I really don’t like that word ‘diet’ as I don’t believe we should feel restricted when eating everyday. It can create other problems such as eating disorders and a negative perception on food. We should think of it simply as a healthy way of living. Choose 70% healthy food options and 30% ‘others’ (whatever they might be). For me it’s usually desserts as I LOVE desserts! I also use the same rule for exercise but reversed, as circumstance doesn’t usually allow it the way I’d like. So I try to add 30% exercise to my 70% idleness. It’s hard for me since I sit in an office working a 10 hour shift, and when I need to go to an appointment somewhere, naturally the journey requires a form of transport to get there on time. So I would say on an average day I don’t get much exercise, but adding small things like walking up the escalator instead of just standing, or walking a bit further to buy my lunch, or even walking home from work as I don’t live so far from where I work helps me.
Have you ever seen people standing on an escalator or entering an elevator to get to the gym instead of walking up the steps? This is always a funny picture, one that I’ve been in myself before. But thinking about it, it just proves why we have a hard time motivating ourselves to keep fit. It’s because we have made the gym a chore, something we have to do rather than a lifestyle in which we are passionate about and will do every chance we get. If this had become a lifestyle then we would be exercising every chance we got, INCLUDING walking up the steps or escalator to the gym instead of standing on the escalator or taking the lift.
Plan and Set Goals.
Next, we need to schedule in our regular exercise routine. I personally enjoy the Striking class at the Cross Fit gym in Eastwood and the other fun but challenging classes they have. However, when I don’t update my membership at times, I do a simple Zumba DVD at home and add some core exercises such as push ups, sit ups and planking. Lately, I’ve not been finding the time for exercise at all but I already have a set date with myself to exercise after work, and I have my daily 15 minute walk home from work too. Moving forward, I plan to do my Zumba DVD twice a week at least and walk as much as I can whenever the option is there. Remember that when we set a plan it has to be a specific day and time, or else we will never get it done. Another option which some people prefer is to have a short 10-15 minute circuit workout every morning before showering. This can include 50 jumping jacks followed by 10 push ups followed by 50 more jumping jacks followed by 30 sit ups followed by 50 more jumping jacks followed by 1 minute planking. Do the set 2 or 3 times and you will feel and see a difference in just a couple of weeks.
Whatever the plan of action might be for you’re own personal goals, remember to ask yourself what you want and WHY, use the 70/30 Lifestyle rule, and set a plan of action to meet your goal.
Don’t forget the golden rule! Whatever you value the most in your life is what you give the most of your time too. Whatever you do, do consistently. That’s a good place to reflect on what has become important to us, and what we might need to change to give ourselves a better quality life.
“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”-Tony Robbins.